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!