Saturday, December 22, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...


Christmas 2007
Originally uploaded by 3 to get ready
Two minutes after this picture was taken someone had already taken off their shoes and left them on the couch.

So far I've cleaned three bathrooms and a living room today. Two more rooms to go and then I've got LOTS of cookie dough to make.

Oh, and wrapping. I've got a lot of that to do too. However, almost all my Christmas presents are done. I just might make it in time this year without wrapping crazily on Christmas Eve!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Mildly disturbing

So what does it mean, if I can identify a celebrity that I have never seen in a movie (I don't think) and who I don't care two whits about one way or the other, only by her feet and shoes? (And very manly feet and shoes they are, too. That's how I figured it out.)

That is TOO WEIRD.

(But I got it right! Geez, talk about your dubious accomplishments...)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A very large visitor

So the other day Tim and I decided that our lot was entirely too "wooded" (as a realtor would say), and that we were tired of living with the daily fear of getting smashed into our bed by a 90-foot pine tree with shallow roots and a double top, growing 5 feet outside our bedroom window.

Tim went outside to take a good look around. Hattie, who had dressed herself (in 40 degree weather) in biker shorts, a camo t-shirt, and hot pink boots with no socks, decided to come along.

What's that? Hattie, you want to take a picture, too? Well, okay.

Yep. It's time for some of these home- and life-threatening trees to come down. So we make a few phone calls and talk to a couple of people.

Ding Dong! There's someone at the front door! Who could it be? Why, it's Mr. Bucket Truck! Hello, Mr. Bucket Truck! Careful of the flowers, there!

Oh look! I can see Mr. Bucket Truck through the living room window, too! The what? The spiderwebs? Oh, that's because we live in a haunted mansion.

Wait, let me take a look out of the bedroom window just to make sure. Yep, that's a bucket truck, all right.

Um, sure. Just make yourself comfortable. That's as good a place as any, I guess. Mind you don't slip!

Check back soon for some fun 'after' photos!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Martha Stewart hack


Well, I did it. 14 teacher gifts done -- sweater ornaments finished, notes written, and packaged last night. And I have Martha Stewart to thank for making it possible.

I'm kind of torn on Martha Stewart. She's frequently held up, superficially anyway, as a role model for all good housewives to follow. Accordingly, since most of us don't have full staffs to do all the prep work, it's a standard that's pretty much unattainable, and that could lead to feelings of insufficiency. (But not on my part. I already know I'm awesome.) However, for a corporate juggernaut, she does do lots of cute things.

Case in point: these cookie sleeves. What are these for? Who is giving out one cookie? If I'm giving cookies as a gift, I'm not going to give out only one. And if I am giving someone one cookie (like a neighbor child), I'm sure as heck not going to package it in gaily-decorated waxed paper with a To/From sticker on it. So from a cookie standpoint, for me, this is basically not a useful item. That's for me. I'm sure it would be invaluable to someone else. Please don't send me vicious emails because I'm hatin' on Martha.

However, it turned out to be perfect for these little sweaters, which I wanted to package kind of on a card, but the envelope would have to fit the sweater in also. So I bought a couple of packs of these, wrote a nice note on the cards, slotted the tops and draped the hanger from the sweater over it, taped the hanger down on the back, and with a little doublestick tape, packaged these up with a To/From sticker on the front. Small, manageable, cute, easy, and perfect.

And I even thought to trace both the size of the card inside and the wrapper shape on a separate piece of paper so I can recreate it out of regular wrapping paper. Now that's a good thing.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Teacher gifts


teacher gifts
Originally uploaded by 3 to get ready
Holy moly. And again with the whining about whether or not this hectic pace will ever stop. I keep thinking, "after this next thing, THEN I'll have time to" insert next project here. And yet? That's right. Then there still isn't any time.

It's now 1:15 pm and Hattie and I are almost ready to have lunch, which happens to be "mushroom guys" I found in the freezer -- mushroom appetizers in phyllo that we got from Trader Joe's. We desperately needed to go to the grocery store today because we have no milk, no bread, no lunch items, no soap, you get the picture. But after we went to the Y, and then the organizer lady came (could there be an end in sight to the &*^% that has taken up permanent residence on our kitchen counter????), and then the tree service lady came, it is now 1:15 and the mushroom guys still have 15 minutes left in the oven. And I have to get in the car pool line shortly after 2, so I can pick up the kids and get Charlotte to her therapy appointment by 3:00. Oh yeah, and I haven't taken a shower yet. That is GREAT.

So when, I ask, am I supposed to be going to the store? Maybe on our way back from therapy at 5 pm this afternoon. I'm sure there won't be any people there at 5 on a Friday afternoon...

Okay. Changing the subject now. These are the mini sweaters, some of which you may already have seen, which I am giving to the teachers for teacher gifts on Monday. I've been working on these on and off all year, and with the exception of that chocolate/vanilla one on the bottom right, I've got them all done. I'm still debating whether I should embroider the teachers' initials on the front of each one, but that's looking increasingly doubtful.

Package these bad boys up and that's one thing I can cross off my list. Next up? 4 batches of cookies.

And there are still two weekends before Christmas! I'm ahead this year!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Sliding down the razor blade of life

I thought things were crazy in that last post. But then it got even more crazy.

Despite everything that's going on and everywhere that everyone has to be, lots of yarn has been delivered (yay!) and there's been lots of frenzied knitting going on around here. The first thing I need to finish is these hats, which are not even Christmas gifts. Nate's was easy, Hattie's was slightly harder, and Charlotte's seems to be taking a REALLY LONG TIME even though I've been knitting in every car pool line, at long red lights, and at Bell Choir practice (see below).


Add that to an absolutely insane Bell Choir schedule (oh yes, that would be FIVE performances this WEEK, not including practices), and you have a LOT of rushing around. I mean, I enjoy handbells and all, but really.

I guilted Tim into coming home early from work Monday so we could go get our tree. We got it up and the lights on, and there it sits, resplendent in its glory, bare of ornaments and surrounded by Christmas boxes and all their disgorged contents. Not exactly the Christmas tableau I was going for.

Then this morning at 6:45 Tim and 3 of his co-workers left for a conference on Georgia's coast. Until Friday night. Which gives me a couple of days to get our household back on some kind of even keel. Interesting. If I get a handle on this, I'll post pictures. And with luck it won't take me three weeks.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Crazy Thursday

The big reason we were looking forward to yesterday was because it was Nate's birthday. Knowing that, I thought I'd make brownies for him to take in for his class. As it turned out, however, it was also the day of both Hattie's and Charlotte's Thanksgiving Feasts (in separate schools, of course), in addition to an "Autumn Dessert" for the kindergartners' parents. So things got a little zany around here yesterday.

It started out at 9 am, when I packed the car with the aforementioned brownies, cornbread muffins, corn on the cob, and a gingerbread cake. I zipped Hattie to school and then went straight to Charlotte's school in order to be there in time for their Thanksgiving Feast at 10:15.

A few minutes before 11, I took off again to go back to Hattie's school for their Thanksgiving Feast. Here she is, wearing the shirt she made out of one of the t-shirts I ended up dying with tea bags. I think it goes very nicely with her tie-dyed tights that she picked out herself that morning.

Then it was back to Charlotte's school for the "Autumn Dessert," an event designed to accommodate parents who wanted to be included in the Thanksgiving Feast. Since there was limited room available in the lunchroom, the powers that be decided to have individual celebrations in the classrooms that all the parents could attend. And oh, by the way, there will be singing. Fortunately Tim managed to work it into his schedule, because I was about 10 minutes late getting there from Hattie's school and so missed 75% of the program.

I was, however, able to make it in time for "Albuquerque Turkey," a song Charlotte has been singing all week about a turkey who some farm children hide from their farmer dad who says, "Chop, Chop, Chop!" and so they end up eating Kentucky Fried Chicken on Thanksgiving Day. I'm not sure where Albuquerque fits into this whole horror scenario, but everyone enjoyed hearing/singing the song, complete with axe murderer-type hand motions.

After these festivities were over I could focus on Nate's birthday. Lucky for me, he wanted an ice cream cake (which I bought) and sausage gravy and biscuits for dinner, so it was a very easy meal to plan and make.

He was so excited about his presents that he couldn't wait to open them with cake, like we usually do, so he opened them while I finished making dinner. Everything was a hit, and I was glad to see that his Weasley sweater not only fit, but he liked it. In another stroke of luck, the weather cooperated by dropping the temperature about 20 degrees, so it was even cold enough here to wear it.

And since he'd already opened his presents, he was able to put together and play with his new Playmobil castle before he had to get ready for bed. So that all worked out.

The verdict? A successful day, overall, if a little hectic. I will be glad, however, when all three kids are in the same school next year.

Happy Birthday, Nate!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Fifties Day

The four-year-olds are having Fifties Day at Hattie's school today. So we were supposed to dress up our children appropriately. It was interesting trying to explain to Hattie what the 1950's were. The best I could do was tell her that it was like "olden times," except not really that olden. Not as long ago as when there were princesses or anything like that. More like when Grandma and Grandpa were in school. And really, it was 50 years ago! That would have been like having Twenties Day when I was her age.

In true Hattie fashion, she balked a little when I picked out all her clothes. But in the end she wore everything, even if she did keep untucking her shirt.

And this is what we ended up with:

I'll be interested to see how the day goes.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Too much fun

Here are our three trick-or-treaters, ready to go out into the neighborhood. Don't they look excited?

Actually I think it was the picture-taking that they were done with, not the candy-getting. As you can see, it's still light out, so they hadn't really left yet.

They came back about an hour after this picture was taken, all kinds of hopped up. Tim dropped the girls off to help me hand out candy, while he and Nate went out for a little more craziness. And there was much sobbing among the left-behind contingent.

But it came out all right in the end. The night's only casualty was a broken handle on a pumpkin bucket that was stretched beyond its limit. Not a bad problem to have on Halloween night.

Happy Fall Weekend!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Not making this up


by the gorillas
Originally uploaded by 3 to get ready
In the last 24 hours, this adorable child has

--stood on the roof of her father's car so she could successfully pull the cord that disconnects the garage door, and

--taken the scissors to the Halloween costume that her sister was planning to wear this year.

And both projects took her approximately 5 minutes each, so she is very speedy, as well as effective. Just thought I'd write them down so we wouldn't forget about them.

Decorating


leaf garland
Originally uploaded by 3 to get ready
Recently I saw garlands that other people had made, and knew that I had finally found a project worthy of the sweater I thrifted and then felted last year. In fact, I even went a little crazy and bought some felted sweater scraps from etsy so I could have more colors. Unfortunately the leaf templates that everyone else used were no longer available, but between Google and my back yard, I managed to make do. There are things I would do differently next time, but overall I like it.

Two things I learned from this project: 1) cutting small leaves out of old sweaters is hard, and 2) I LOVE working with wool felt. So now I am permanently on a search for thrifted wool sweaters.

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Catching up

First, some old business. About a month ago we went to Charlottesville, Virginia, for the UVA/Georgia Tech game. This trip is becoming a tradition, missed only when Nate was born about a week before the game in 1999. It's nice because now the kids are old enough to get something out of it when we visit historic monuments, such as this one:

the requisite tourist shot of Monticello, complete with tourists. Can a Williamsburg trip be far behind? (Spoken like a true history geek.) You can see all the rest of the pictures here.

Here's a picture of the kids, all ready to go into the game. In case anyone is wondering how we decided whose allegiance went where, it was dictated solely by which shirt fit which child. We had Georgia Tech shirts in Nate's and Charlotte's sizes, and a Virginia shirt in Hattie's size.

One of the funniest things that happened that day was when we were on the way to the game, and I stopped into a building to use the facilities. While I was gone an elderly gentleman asked Tim how a GT family (Tim, Nate, and Charlotte) ended up with one little Virginia fan! But then he understood once I came walking up in my UVA shirt.

It was while we were on our trip that Tim did a little birthday shopping for me in Monticello's gift shop. Which is how I ended up with this:

a presidential dishtowel listing every president up to the current day. It's actually kind of cool, although it seems a little disrespectful to be wiping dishes with the presidents. Well, with some of them.

So that brings us to this weekend. Tim and Nate were off camping with the cub scouts, and even the (male) dog went to stay with Grandma and Grandpa. So it was a girly weekend. We managed to keep ourselves busy, though.

First up, a trip to the zoo, which was decorated for Halloween. Here's Hattie posing by a cut-out of me a scary tomato.

And with a friend, petting the sheep at the petting zoo area.

On Saturday our first stop was at the Atlanta area Scandinavian Festival,

where we stopped at the Sons of Norway tent. The gent there was very nattily dressed in traditional Norwegian clothing, and he looked so much like my dad that Hattie said, "That man looks just like Grandpa!"

Fortunately I had thought far enough ahead to bring Hattie's soccer uniform with us, because we went straight from the festival to her soccer game.

Then it was home for a quick change so we could go to Charlotte's class Halloween party.

Charlotte decided weeks ago that she was going to be a cat, but Hattie's plan had switched from being Little Bo Peep (no idea how I would have done that) to a cheerleader. As we were getting dressed to go, she changed her mind again and decided to go as Orlando Bloom Robin Hood, in Nate's costume from last year. Fortunately that was easy to handle and we were off again.

After the party we trudged back home for a supper of tea and egg salad, and then we all went to bed. They fell right asleep and I un-knitted (tinked!) seven rows of the intarsia I had tried to knit in the round, which, oh, by the way, DOESN'T WORK. Well, it kind of worked in that I got the yarn to go where I needed it, but since the whole trick is to keep your knitted picture from puckering by keeping the yarn that's running behind the right length so your tension will be even, that's the part that doesn't work. So I un-knitted it all (not trusting myself to frog it without dropping stitches) and I am going to have to go the duplicate stitch route.

Next up? Haircuts and cleaning!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

What? A month already??

Wow. Time just flies when you are running around like screaming, insane, crazy people. As usual, the combination of my extreme procrastination coupled with OCD perfectionism has led to a lack of posting, since I won't be able to do it "properly." Hence, no posting lately. Sorry about that.

Anyhoo, the weather looks like it's cooperating today (jackets at the bus stop, woo-hoo!), and it's sunny enough for photos that I'll take as soon as I get home from work today, so there is more exciting content to come. Lots of things have happened since my last post -- we went on a trip, I had a birthday, and we let the cleaning lady go, so we've been living in squalor. I probably won't show you that part, tho. But you might get lucky.

However, the things that are aggravating me today are: 1) lots of guilt from not posting for the last month, and 2) HOW DO YOU DO INTARSIA WHEN YOU ARE KNITTING IN THE ROUND???

When I follow my chart all the contrast yarn ends up at the wrong side when I come around again! Do any of you knitters out there know the secret? I have to leave in 5 minutes to go sit in the carpool line (perfect knitting opportunity), so there's no LYS open yet to call. So far Google has only revealed secrets for socks, which I am not currently knitting.

And to round out this wacked-out post, a nice fall picture:


See you in just a little bit, I promise.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

One week

One week from today -- this is where we'll be!

Good ol' UVA!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Emotional Extremes

I found out two things today, as I worked my way through my list of errand-type phone calls.

As I was talking to the company who we order all Hattie's diabetic supplies from, the representative I was talking to casually mentioned that our health insurance (renowned, at least by us, for refusing to pay for lots of things most other insurances cover) has been fully covering a continuous glucose monitor.

This monitor, which is compatible with Hattie's insulin pump, is basically a patch she would wear on her arm, for example, that would send periodic readings to her pump, so if we want to see what her blood sugar level is, we just look at her pump, instead of having to prick her finger several times a day. It also has an alarm that goes off if her blood sugar starts getting too low or too high. That's just huge! I was so excited that I called the endocrinologist immediately.

When we got Hattie's insulin pump about 18 months ago, the FDA had just approved the use of a continuous glucose monitor for adults, and since then they've allowed it for older children. So we've been anxiously waiting for the time when we could use it as well. The doctors didn't want to prescribe it for younger kids until the insurance companies started covering it, which it now looks like they have! In even better news, we've already fulfilled our deductible for this year, so if we can manage to get it before the end of the year, we'll only have to pay 10%! Whoo-hoo!! That will be awesome.

Nothing like a little exciting insurance talk, huh? Anyone still reading? Hello? Well, there's more.

So now for even more exciting insurance news. Our car insurance rates have been astronomical since October of 2005, when I had the accident that totalled our van. Not totally unexpected, since they paid for us to get a new van, but something we've been having to deal with ever since. Since it's been almost two years since it happened, and my driving record has been stellar ever since (knocks on wood), I started calling around to see if we could get a better rate.

The person I was talking to pulled up our claim history so she could give us a rate, and she happened to mention that yes, our insurance had paid $20,000 to replace our car (which we obviously knew). Then she proceeded to tell me that they paid the guy who hit me $14,000 to repair his macked-out excuse-for-an-insufficient-body-part pick-up complete with cow bars on the front for extra smashing, IN ADDITION TO $14,000 for medical injury!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now, this is a guy who, when he slammed into me, as I was turning left into an ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, while he was going 50+ mph in a SCHOOL ZONE, he hit me so hard that the firemen who answered the call said they had never seen a front airbag go off from an impact that far back, as he jumped out of his car ON THE PHONE, did not ask if I was all right, or even if I had a child in the car. Instead he just started cussing me out as I stood there crying in the middle of the street.

After that he ignored me as he glad-handed the cops who came to the scene, and they all literally patted each other on the back and started talking about hunting. No joke. What a surprise that I got the ticket. And when I contested the whole thing in court they told me that the only thing I could discuss was whether or not I was turning left, which obviously I WAS, and then that was it.

So now I find out that not only did it cost $14,000 to fix his stupid truck, but he put in for an additional $14,000 in medical injury?? No wonder our rates are through the roof! There's a special place in Hell for people like that.

In case you think I'm exaggerating, here's what he looked like after the accident:

Nice, huh? Yeah, he looks pretty injured. So, the lesson remains, if you see this man flying around metro Atlanta, whatever you do, DON'T TURN LEFT IN FRONT OF HIM!

Now that I've left you with that cheery post, I'm going to go downstairs so I can finish fuming. I'll just have to keep the continuous glucose monitor in mind, and especially the fact that our accident could have been so much worse that we're lucky it wasn't.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Beach picture, revisited


at the beach
Originally uploaded by 3 to get ready
Wow! My friend just gave me this picture she took of Tim and me when we were at the beach this past July. I think this picture looks better than some professional ones we've had taken of us.

And those waves in the background are real, not a a backdrop.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

4 today

Today Hattie turned 4 years old. So I sent her off to preschool with 18 strawberry cupcakes to help celebrate. Hard to believe that she's 4 already. Seems like it wasn't that long ago that we were bringing her home from the hospital.

It was a pretty full day. After celebrating with her class, we went to play at the neighbors' after school, and we had Chick Fil-A for dinner (her choice). After dinner we opened presents, including the one I'd made for Nate and Charlotte to give her. A Birdy Buddy Bag, complete with the buddy, a birdy finger puppet.

She liked it and all her other presents, but the big hit was what Tim and I gave her: the Enchanted Fairy Village, a riot of brightly colored plastic with a zillion tiny pieces sure to be lost, broken, swallowed, or stepped on in the middle of the night. It came with two fairies, for extra squabbling when shared between 3 kids.

She was so excited about the fairy village that she didn't even want any cake, opting for a couple of strawberries instead. Which was actually much better for her than all that sugar would have been.

We're so lucky she's here and she's ours. That's really what we were celebrating today.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Card-carrying suburbanites

Two things of note happened in the last couple of days.

The first, and by far the most noteworthy, is that our new little niece is here! Mom and baby are doing great, and are in fact already home from the hospital. Both mom and dad are justifiably as proud as they can be. I'd love to post a picture of little miss, but I'm pretty sure she hasn't been cleared for the internet. I can tell you, however, that she is little and pink and perfect! And making all the right cute-as-a-button baby noises.

In other news, Hattie and Nate started soccer practice today.

This afternoon we packed up all our kids (and Grandma!) into our minivan and headed out to the soccer field. So it's official -- I'm a soccer mom.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Looking for lunchboxes

My sister and her husband are anxiously awaiting the arrival of their first child. And so are all the rest of us. Accordingly, my mother, who could stand it no longer, is on her way down to stay with us for a few days until the baby is born.

Mom will be here in an hour or two, so my one project for this morning is to straighten up the house a little. So it immediately became vital for me to hit the internet in search of a new lunchbox for Charlotte.

I looked at Target yesterday, and there is a lot of junk out there. Of course that may be because we are on our second week of school here, and anyone with any smarts bought their lunchboxes a month ago, leaving only the ones no one wants behind. As a result, I didn't buy anything there for her.

So I fell back on my go-to source, the internet. While surfing around I happened across this:

a beautifully tasteful lunchbox for a little girl. And also, incidentally, the exact same style as the one my always impeccably turned-out sister selected for herself in the early 70's at the age of 4.

Just seeing it took me immediately back to sandwiches in baggies (remember? before Zip-Locs?? Please hand me my cane and back away from my rocking chair.) and loud lunchrooms.

But not as much as this one did:

Oh, yes. Doesn't every 2nd grade girl want an Addams Family lunchbox? I must have carried this one for years. All my friends had Holly Hobbie, or Peanuts, or even David Cassidy, but not me. I'll never forget the time I was walking to 2nd grade with the 1st grade boy from next door, and we noticed another little boy carrying this same lunchbox. "Look," my friend said, "that boy has a girl's lunchbox!" Umm, right.

How many lunches did I stare at that picture? So many, since I took my lunch almost every day through 6th grade.

I can literally taste the red Kool-Aid when I see this thermos. Too bad we don't still have it -- a lunchbox just like this in great condition just sold for $550 on eBay.

Maybe I should put more thought into the one I get for Charlotte.

Monday, August 20, 2007

What's on my needles


scarf
Originally uploaded by 3 to get ready
Looks like I'm going to have to get all organize-y on my own, seeing as I didn't win that new filing system. My essay did get an honorable mention, however, so I'm glad of that.

In a flurry of cleaning out this weekend, I happened across this UnFinished Object, which I'd put down sometime this past spring. I thought, however, that I'd better finish it up, since one day these 100 degree days are going to pass and I'm going to need something to wear with my red coat.

The last time this project appeared on this blog was here. So you can see I've come a long way since then. It's a really nice Debbie Bliss cashmerino aran wool, so it knits beautifully. I'm using the mistake rib, which is easy, even if it has started to get a little boring. I used the same blue and green as the one I saw at Why Knot Knit, except I changed the size of the stripes and threw that red in there using the random stripe generator (which is SO COOL). LOVE the random stripe generator!

Anyhoo, thought maybe you people would rather check out something a little lighter than my last post.

And a great big welcome to anyone heading over this way from kerflop!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Trying to win, take 2

Well, in case you hadn't figured it out, I didn't win a new JOYS filing system in that last contest, despite the terrifying photos of what I call my files.

However, Jessica over at Kerflop is giving away another one to the lucky person who best answers the question: What brings you Joy?

So here's my entry -- What Brings Me Joy

It would be really easy for me to write down a list of things that bring me joy, for example, a big piece of cake, a great book, puppies, and going out for a really nice dinner with my husband (not necessarily in that order). And it would be true that all those things bring me joy.

However, I think true joy really comes from within.

How many of us know people who have no business being happy, considering the horrible things that have happened to them, and yet they are? Conversely, there are people who seemingly have everything, including the big intangible things like good kids and a good marriage, but they get no joy from any of it. How can that be?

The answer, I think, is largely based in attitude. I used to have a friend whose father really enjoyed life. He would marvel at a particularly interesting flower, or savor a satisfying meal. And he was never too self-conscious to tell someone about it. Many of the things he enjoyed, his kids, his garden, his house, were a product of his hard work. He took great pride in those things. He would never boast about them, but you could tell just by looking at him that he loved them. However, there were lots of other things that he loved just because he appreciated them. He loved to meet new people, go new places, and try new things. He read a lot, and loved to discuss theories, methods, and events. But he hadn't had a particularly charmed life, he just knew how to live it in the way that brought him the most joy.

I know another person who literally grew up on Park Avenue in New York. He was raised by his sisters and the domestic staff. He had a trust fund at his disposal from the age of 21, and he attended only the best schools. He liked to golf, which he did frequently, and one time he even went over to Scotland so he could play at St. Andrews. Apparently he was popular with models, because he dated lots of them. I knew him fairly well, but I never saw him really enjoy anything. He was a sharp guy, and he always had a witty comment ready, but he never seemed comfortable with himself.

So why did one person have so much joy, and the other so little?

I think the difference lies in their respective reactions to the million things we all experience every day. Great things, good things, bad things, and horrible things happen to all of us. But we are affected differently because of how we allow ourselves to be affected. Do we appreciate good things, or do we take them for granted? Do we bounce back from things that upset us, or do we let them drag us down with them? If I'm too busy letting things upset me, there's no way I can enjoy even the things that should be obvious, like my kids, or a free afternoon.

Given a choice, I'd much rather emulate my friend's father. It was because he was so at peace with himself that he was able to appreciate so many of the things he saw, heard, or felt. If I achieve even half of that peace in my lifetime, that would truly bring me joy.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Filing System REVEALED

Well, I just entered a giveaway that I heard about via Kerflop. Heather at ohmystinkinheck is giving away a free home filing system.

Theoretically, I'm organized. Meaning that I can be. But I'm usually not. As you can see from the following (WARNING -- graphic photos!):

Here you see my carefully organized craft supplies. Note the magazine holders still in their original packaging for maximum protection.

I actually bought two office-sized industrial filing cabinets from my sister last year, which I do use, but not as much as I should. They're also excellent for use as storage for infrequently used items, such as the paint I used to make Christmas gifts with last year.

And this is my piece de resistance (how do you do accents on this thing??). The box is full of ironing waiting to be done, including the girls' Easter dresses. The laundry basket below it is my bete noire, as long as we're being all French about it (we'll just imagine that there's a circonflex over bete, as I am incapable of figuring out how to do that). Truly if anyone were to schedule an archaeological dig in there, they might find old bills from fall of 2005. And maybe more important stuff, but I'm pretending like nothing like that's in there.

And there you have it. Come as you are, reveal personal intimate secrets to the internets!

Monday, August 13, 2007

First Day

Today is Charlotte's first day of kindergarten.

She was SO excited -- she had her new purple backpack that she picked out all by herself, and she got to ride on the bus with Nate, who thoughtfully agreed to sit with her and show her how to get to her classroom.

Charlotte's been going to preschool at this same school since 2005, so even though the first day of kindergarten is a very big deal, it wasn't as much of an adjustment as it might have been. And since we tend to be more pragmatic than emotional around here, I was completely caught off-guard by the catch in my throat as she boarded that big old bus all by herself, with a giant, toothless grin and her blonde ponytail swinging.

Sigh. Now I have two big kids. *sniff*

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Birthdays and cakes

Late last week we celebrated Tim's 40th birthday. He didn't want any hoop-la, so I made his favorite dinner (Chicken Caprese -- baked, breaded chicken breasts with a sour cream and tomato sauce) and we enjoyed it at home with just us and the ice cream cake he'd requested from Publix. Mint chocolate chip ice cream with marble cake and whipped topping. YUM! (Whoo -- getting a little sidetracked by the cake...)

Anyway, when I met Tim in 1995 he looked like this:

(Picture taken in Memphis, where we were visiting his brother.)

Now, however, Tim looks like this:

A little older and a little wiser. But still good-looking! I wish I could wear like that.

August must be a good month for birthdays. Tim's was the first one and then next week we have his other brother's birthday and my dad's. Hattie will be 4 at the very end of the month, but in between there we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our little niece, my sister's first child.

We had a great time at her baby shower a week or so ago.

We ate lots of chicken salad and other good things,

including petit fours! They were so cute I could barely stand to eat them. But I managed. Four times. (ahem)

Happy Birthday to all our Leos! (And to Hattie, who's a Virgo, but you'll hear more about her birthday later.)

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Withdrawal

There's been a dearth of posting around here lately largely due to the Harry Potterthon that's been going on for the last couple of weeks. That, and my persistent fear that I was going to run across a spoiler for Book 7 inadvertently. (Don't worry, there are none here.)

At one point late last week my mother was here visiting. While she was here she started the last book. I was still working my way through the other HP books (see 6 Weird Things About Me, #1), and Tim and Nate were reading yet another book in the series upstairs in his bedroom. Three different HP books going in the same house, at the same time! True geekery. Or love of a good story, either one.

But now I am surfacing, 4100 pages later, from my total immersion in all things Potter. And oh, the withdrawal! In my desperation I've already found a pronunciation guide (come to find out, Accio is pronounced "AH-see-oh", not "AX-ee-oh" -- who knew??), and an HP lexicon for maximum detail-clarifying.

Now that I think about it, maybe it's a good thing that I'm being forced back into the real world. I have people in my house with no clean underpants, and they're starting to get sick of fish sticks and Hamburger Helper for dinner. Hello, world! I'm back!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Treasure Island

We spent all of last week at Tybee Island, GA, with our neighbors across the street who also have three kids. It was a very, very fun trip. With the exception of a long weekend last summer, Tim and I hadn't really been to the beach since we were married almost 11 years ago. On top of that, we hadn't ever taken a vacation with another family before, so when we set out a week ago Saturday it was really a leap of faith.

Fortunately everyone got along great. The kids played beautifully together and having four adults there full-time made it easier on everyone. We all felt like we had really been on vacation, which, as most parents know, is a rarity when you travel with small children and no nannies or babysitters.

In the week we were there we had gorgeous weather, so we did all the typical beachy stuff:
We were all sad when it was time to go home. But our beach vacation had done its job: we were sandy, happy, relaxed, and refocused on what we treasure most.