Monday, November 30, 2009

Weekend Festivities

Now, how perfect can a long weekend of continual eating, free childcare (hello, fabulous grandparents!), and general loafing about? Pretty darn perfect.

I am not sure why I like blurry pictures so much, but I love the hazy feel of this pic as the girls are setting up for dinner. Jane is placing Nibbles, the aptly named stuffed critter, to have a good view of the meal.

In general, the children were in an extended state of bliss. Watching them, I was reminded of my own childhood. Oh, those special days where you eat everything and stay up waaaay past bedtime. Yes. Bliss.

I am always eager for the delicious eats and late-night board game competitions, but I was also able to take advantage of the geeky gene-pool that my beloved comes from.

Me: "Hey, Dad! You don't happen to have a battery charger that could fit my camera battery, do you? I forgot mine at home."
Dad: "Hmm ... well, no. But let's see here. That looks like about a 7.4 volt with a standard adapter ... I think I can put something together."

And he did. He built me a battery charger in the garage.

And since I knew the challenge would be too tempting to resist, I brought my cranky sewing machine. The clinky-clicky-clack is now gone and a burr on some rotating arm discovered.

I am extremely hopeful that the bobbin problems that have been haunting me for years are now a thing of the past. Hurrah! Thanks, Dad!

After coming home late Saturday, we awoke Sunday to dive into the Advent season. Oooo, I do love this time of year. Such fun to see the traditions evolve and anticipated.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Abundance

It's true, the melancholy face is partly due to the missing googly eye on her turkey hat. But mostly because mother wanted to take a picture when she would rather be glitter-gluing in the kitchen. She complied with the reluctant face only after I promised a bribe of dried blueberries.

So much to be thankful for this year. Joys and celebrations, even trials and droopy faces. It's easy to be thankful when all is well, but this year is teaching me how to be thankful even when hardships come. God is good. God is enough. God gives in abundance.

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Stocking the Shop

Such a sweet response you gave me when I showed off my first attempt last week! So for fun, I stocked up the Etsy shop. Mostly recreations of designs I've seen others wearing, but the more I tinker the more ideas I begin to have.

I'm particularly liking simple, long necklaces lately. Somehow they pull the trusty t-shirt and jeans into a rather put-together outfit! So, take a peek. Maybe you'll just find a stocking stuffer or two.

Monday, November 23, 2009

To Give a Second Bloom

Aren't orchids intriguing? So mysterious and graceful yet just a tad science fiction. All of those roots and stems and alien blooms. Lovely.

I purchased my first orchid early this year and took so much pleasure from it, I hardly cared if it refused to ever bloom again.

But. I think it will. I'm sure it must need a bigger pot, but I am too scared and ignorant to do anything about it. So, I'm just going to keep watering it on the horribly infrequent basis that I do, and keep my fingers crossed.

So exciting.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Oh, Drat

Last night at dinner, I looked up at Pops and said, "I feel awful." You know how you can push through a day and when you finally stop and sit down a moment, you realize how cruddy you feel?

Went to bed at 6:55 last night and am now following a regimen that includes lots of gargling and attempts at napping. It's not that bad, but ... blah. See y'all on the other side ...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Trying Something New

Found these gorgeous lemony jasper and faceted turquoise beads and just had to try to do something with them. Turns out that jewelry making pliers probably would do better than my husband's asymmetrical needle-nose variety. Shucks, thought I could wiggle out of that one.

It also turns out that I am lacking some skill I somehow thought would mysteriously generate once I began. I think I'll opt for the term "rustic" in reference to my craftsmanship.

Nevertheless, I kind of like them. What do you think? Are they cute enough to give as C-mas gifts?

Pops Catches Mom Chatting on the Phone

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Filling Up the Dishwasher

Ever have a half-full dishwasher that you can't quite justify running? I had one of those mornings. I knew it wasn't quite empty enough for the impending lunch and dinner dishes ... which means loitering dirties, which I loathe ... but not full enough to press the little magic start button.

The ingenious SOS pads came to my rescue. First, I gave the interiors of all the coffee and tea-stained mugs a good scrub before they were tossed in. It must have been awhile since their last cleaning, for the mugs alone filled up the top rack. Next, I wiggled the stove top grates into the lower rack and gave the stove top and tea kettle a good scour. To finish off the pad (and to keep my hardworking right arm disproportionately larger than my lazy left), I put some muscle into the kitchen sink. Toss in the sink stopper and scrubby brush and hit the coveted button without guilt.

Hmm. I'm so satisfied I might not even sneak cookies from the freezer. Well, on second thought ...

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Visit to the Desert

Settling back into the familiar rhythms of home today and happily reflecting upon my recent excursion. My mama scooped me up and took me to see their sweet little pad in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area. They've had such fun filling it with Grandma's mid-century furniture and a delightful mix of mod and local artifacts. So much fun to see what they've been up to and experience all that they love of the region.

This whole area was a swingin' place to be in the 60's and the architecture stands as a testament to it. And tons, just gobs of fabulous restaurants everywhere you turn. Some are contemporary and some are refurbished gems of decades past.

The Valley Ho was a favorite of Frank Sinatra, Dezi Arnez, and all of that finger snappin' bunch. Sa-wanky! We ate dinner in their Zuzu cafe (I had a roasted tomato and truffle fontina cheese sandwich, thank you very much!!) and giggled at all that was and is now chic once more. At a different landmark restaurant, I tried my first ever martini.

Gorgeous? Yes. Sophisticated? Of course, darling. Delicious? Cough, cough, inhale deeply ... uhh, let's just say I am not woman enough to pull off a dry martini with a twist. Yeowzers! I deeply wanted to like it, but each sip left me feeling like I had just downed a tablespoon of nail polish remover. Sigh. I will stick to the ice water with a twist.

There was also ample opportunity to peruse local markets and ... thrift shops! Oh, I do love the junky antique stores and a local thrifty joint. So much fun. So what did I find that could make it back home in my luggage?

A late 60's/early 70's "Dot & Dash" vintage necklace. I loooove it. It lays so nicely and has a beautiful clasp that almost makes you want to wear it backwards.

We also had a chance to hike part of Camelback Mountain. The weather was mild and the sky was clear. What I loved about hiking in the desert is the continual vistas! In the northwest, you don't really get a skyline view until you've reached the top. Here, everything is so open you can hike a bit, sit on a rock and take in the view. Hike a little more and sit on a rock again! Beautiful. This is a climb I'd like to do again.

My weekend adventure was a gift. I was treated royally (thank you, Mama!), traveled to a new place (which I love to do), relaxed and read a new book, and spent time just being with my Mama. She is a fine, fine example to me in more ways that I can express.

Love you, Mama.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Off With Mama


The packing has begun, the fanciful daydreaming inches towards reality.

Tomorrow I'll be off for a weekend adventure with my mama. It's hard to go wrong with a girl's weekend, but if my mom is the gal you're jet-setting with ... it's bound to be glorious. She's cute, she's smart, she likes dessert, she laughs uproariously at your jokes, and she's game to try anything. It's a killer recipe for fun.

While we are carelessly gallivanting, Pops will be the hero back home. His super-talents include whipping up meals in the blink of an eye and multi-child muscle wrestling. It's all very impressive and I love him for it.

Ta-ta, my dearies! Back after awhile.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I've Become Quite Ruffled

Now tell me, why on earth would these cute little ruffled dears be on the clearance rack? They are as comfy as slippers and look smashing with leggings, tights, or peeping out from under jeans. Since they were so darling, such a good price, and I had a little b-day cash heatin' up my wallet ... I bought a gray pair too. Feels rather sinful, but I am completely lacking remorse.

While not quite as cheap but still on sale, I found them online in white too. Hmmm ...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Serendipity on the Windowsill


Meet Squirrel Nutkin.

He keeps an eye on his more lively outdoor friends: Chester, Cindy, Brownie, Zippy, and Baby Budge. He must be a good sentry as he seems to have acquired a storehouse of acorns and jewels.

A Little Birthday Love

Don't you just love handmade cards? I received a nice little stack for my birthday, yesterday, and I love how each one represents a little of me and a little of them. In the forefront you see Jane's card. She informed me that the leg/armless lady with a flower headband was me, bookended by a lovely pizza and a doughnut. Well, who doesn't love pizza and doughnuts? Lucette drew the two of us in matching princess outfits and made sweet professions of love. Pops sketched a bit of autumn and Peter included a very functional key in his drawing. Can't blame him for not wanting to draw a full 33 candles.

I also received an e-card from my parents that nearly left me with a stitch in my side.
I would guess this photo to be mid/late-80's as evidenced by my black Keds, tucked (and then pulled-out a little) shirt in seafoam green, poodle perm, and my dad's short-shorts and striped tube socks. Sound about right?

We were on a weekend vacation and mom had the camera handy. (Do you remember the cameras that were long and skinny, like a stretched out ice cream sandwich? Where the view-finder was at one end, which when held to your eye, jutted off your face like a misguided flute?) I recall my dad wanting to take this photo as I, in proper adolescent form, reluctantly agreed. I'm sure it went something like this: "Come on, it'll be funny! Look at that thing! It's huge. What could possibly be the explanation for choosing it as a light fixture?" I believe the official title my father has given to this photo is: "Travelers and the Cone of Silence."

Don't you love how we are just standing there smiling, as if every thing is completely normal? Don't you love how my parents choose this image to send as a birthday greeting? Sigh. Yes, friends, this is a glimpse into my childhood. I am sorry if you find it a bit frightful, but I find it oddly comforting.

I already have a few ideas of what images I'll send my grown children on their birthdays. Oooo, now won't that be fun?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Because He Knows I Love Them


To Be His People

Justice will dwell in the desert
and righteousness live in the fertile field.

The fruit of righteousness will be peace;
the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever.

My people will live in peaceful dwelling places,
in secure homes,
in undisturbed places of rest.
Isaiah 32:16-18

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Let's Not Be Practical


I am loving these shoes so much, I want to hop up and down. I saw them at the thrift store a few weeks ago, but couldn't bring myself to buy them. Even though they appeared to be completely unworn, were the perfect size, and all lovely and strappy and mustardy ... they were $6.99. For better or for worse, I tend to think anything over three dollars at the thrift store is expensive. But when you find yourself daydreaming about the seven-dollar shoes for the next week ... and when you go back they still happen to be there ... it's time to snag them.

It really is too chilly to be wearing shoes like these. As Jane commented yesterday morning, "It's awfully froggy out today! We're gonna hafta' walk on clouds." But I've already worn them twice and it was worth the cold tootsies.

Next week, I get to take a birthday getaway with my own mama and these honeys are coming with. I think I'll feel very cute wearing these while lunching at some little cafe with my sweet mother. Can't wait.

Monday, November 2, 2009

To Be Together

May I first say, I love how diverse and unique God made families. As our children grow, we all get to discover what we find to be meaningful and fun. I have great respect and admiration for many families who create traditions different than our own. With that said, in the past we have felt conflicted over how to best celebrate the 31st of October. We did, however, finally hit upon tradition-worthy plan a few years ago. A day that previously felt awkward to us is now one of our favorite family events.

It doesn't really have a good name (suggestions welcome) and usually ends up called "Family Harvest Night" or "Fall Celebration." It consists of placing a nice bucket-load of candy at the front door for the neighborhood kiddies and us hunkerin' down for a family-night extravaganza.

To document, here are a series of entirely blurry (no low-light lens, sorry!), but happy pictures:


While us girls set to work on making taco salad fixins' the boys gutted the pumpkins. Peter got to use his knife he purchased in Honduras and was most excited. I chose not to watch, fearing severed fingers and punctured palms.


After dinner and clean-up, the kiddos flitted between the carving station and carameling some apples in the kitchen. The idea is to keep the evening full of lots of fun and treats all in the context of being together as a family.

The kids are welcome to dress up if they so choose. This year we had some be-pearled princesses and a swarthy pirate. (Don't forget to flip the patch up when eating caramel apples!)


Here you see a couple of wraslin' princesses in a sugar-induced state of utopia. (The blurry floral number Lucette is wearing was my mother's dress she made and wore at her wedding rehearsal. That dress warrants a blog post all on it's own!) The kids get to partake in gooey apples and candy corn, drink apple cider and munch on "sweet-n-spicy" roasted pumpkin seeds. It's a regular sugar-fest.

When recently asked if she felt disappointed that she didn't get to do trick-or-treating like the other kids, Lucette responded with: "Well gee, no! I don't have to stand out in the freezing rain to get candy!" Oh sigh, that girl makes me laugh.

I know that some families make a night of trick-or-treating together. For many, I think it is a sweet, exciting time. I'm just also glad that our kids don't feel deprived. It's a night they eagerly look forward to, even though our version is formatted a little differently.

Once carving was complete, pumpkins were lined up on the hearth and patiently waited to be lit. Violet had requested to be a window and, happily, ended up looking like an illuminated cross. We also had a two-toothed pumpkin with glasses, a menacing-looking fellow, and one mimicking Lucette playing cross-eyed tag.

With pumpkins flickering, we piled onto the sofa under mountains of blankets and cozied up for movie time. This year's selection? A brilliant movie named Gus. You can't get much better than a 70's film starring Don Knotts and a Yugoslavian donkey who plays football for the NFL. Genius.

After the evening concluded and children were snug in bed, Pops commented: "It's rather perfect, really. How many other holidays do you spend just as a small family unit with no other commitments?" Perhaps our plans and perspectives will need to evolve or flex as they get older. Or maybe ... they'll continue to find this tradition a sweet, anticipated time together.

Bet you know what I'm rootin' for.