30 September 2010

To Give and Receive

I am loving these images from Jane's family birthday party. Watching her open gifts is one of my favorite pastimes. Of course, the presents are fun to give, but Jane is always so exceptionally appreciative that the giver just wants to melt.

Pink cowgirl hat from Grandma? Loves it. Doesn't even care if we leave the price-tag thingy on. Homemade golden jewelry box from Grammy and Gramps? So utterly breathtaking, she's near speechless. Hot pink flip-flops that light up and a lamp for her new desk? Everything she's ever wanted.

Without fail, she'll ooooo and ahhhh, eyes all a-glitter, as though the item she just received is the very thing she's wished for all her life.

I know the feeling, my dear. I think the same thing every time I look at you.

Because I Liked It

I had no idea what to name this photo. I just simply liked it. Who knew water drains could be so intriguing!

What would you name this photo?

29 September 2010

I'm Kinda Giddy About It

This last weekend I had my first official ... photo shoot. A darling neighbor family of ours with the cutest salamander-loving four year-old ever. I snapped and clicked away and they were exceedingly patient and willing subjects.

I instantly fell in love with the craft when first began my photography voyage almost two years ago. Ever since then, I've become a near photo-addict, whipping out the camera at any given moment. There is so much room for improvement still, but I feel like I've grown and developed new skill along the way. It hasn't been until recently that I felt like maybe, just maybe, I could try my hand at a mini-mini-business.

While I consider myself far from the level of professionals, I'm finding there is some freedom in that. My shots don't have to be perfect, 'cause I'm no pro! So, I'm taking a stab at hiring myself out for a minimal fee, taking some photos, earning some change, and a family goes home with fresh pics for a fraction of what they would pay a real photographer. Kind of a win-win for everyone!

So, thank you Dawnelle and Lissa for encouraging me to dip a toe into these waters and for graciously sharing your expertise with me! I'm really excited.

27 September 2010

Evening Meal, Alfresco

Regretfully, none of us are particularly skilled in foreign languages. That said, the children learned to ask for dinner "alfresco" long ago. Whenever the weather permits, we scurry outside to eat our meals. Besides the obvious benefit of a "who cares about crumbs or spills" mentality, the pace of the day seems to pull back when we dine outside.

We sit. We chat. We eat slowly. We notice how a wine glass base fits perfectly in the table grooves. We comment on the evening sunlight and the curious shadows it casts.

When it comes to slow, indulgent, and appreciative methods of dining, I think the Italians have it down pat. Lazy dinners with grilled chicken and pasta? Wine and evening sunshine? Happy children and long conversations? Oh, grazie!

Buon Appetito.

25 September 2010

Happy Birthday, Love

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me,
and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
I will be found by you," declares the LORD.
Jeremiah 20:11-14

It is my deep joy to be married to a man that chooses to believe in all that the Lord declares. We have called. We have come. We have prayed. We have been heard. We have sought. He has been found.

So grateful to be growing older with him. We know where our hope and our future lies. Happy Birthday, Love.

23 September 2010

Autumnal Pillows in the Family Room

Last year I found just a gob of yardage at the thrift store in an ... Autumnal Medallion Motif! The fabric was vintage but in pristine condition. A nice soft cotton, but still sturdy enough to take some abuse.

After some thought, I made up one cover for a throw pillow just to see if I could live with it's in-your-face declaration of design ... or if it was just too much shazam. The verdict?

Love, love, love! The pattern and colors are bold enough to be interesting but the sea-foam green settles it down to a happy hum. And wouldn't you know, I just happened to have a 16 inch vintage metal sea-foam green zipper! I love it so much it hurts a little.

Now I must promptly commission myself to make at least two more of these darlings. Not like there is dinner to make or chores to be done, right? Pillows are high-priority.

22 September 2010

Last of the Summer Hydrangea

As much as I love fall, it's always a bit hard to say goodbye to summer. So nice the hydrangea gave a last showy farewell.

What do you like about this seasonal transition we are in?

21 September 2010

A Big, Little Girl

She's big now, you see. She knows how she likes her hair: a sparkly barrette, please. Which shoes go with the dress: black, because they are shiny and comfy. And for some chic arm jewelry? A sparkly pink snap bracelet, naturally.

Last of all, on goes the mousey backpack and a few pictures for Mama. Now it's time to go to preschool. Because she's five. And she's big.

"It's only for a little bit, Mama. You can cry the whole time I'm gone. But then I'll come home."

And I am so glad they do.

20 September 2010

Be Still My Beating Heart

Remember the little man from the party? His mama said I could share his picture. Get ready to fall in love ...

... cause he is so deliciously adorable. Can you hardly stand it? He even makes drool cute.

Yes, little man, we love you. You make your mama smile ... and the rest of us too.

17 September 2010

16 September 2010

A Little Party for a Treasured Family

This past weekend I was able to host a shower for my dear friend, Heather, in honor of the recent adoption of their son from Ethiopia. It has been our deep and great joy to feel like participants in their journey and our hearts swell with pride and thanksgiving every time we see their blessed son.

Jane and I couldn't resist making up some American and Ethiopian flags for table decoration and then who doesn't love international-themed party bunting? A few runs on the sewing machine, couple of diagonal swipes with the rotary cutter and dash through with a needle and brown twisty string to hang.

Sweet church ladies brought fruit salad and nut mix to round out the fare. It all went rather nicely with the bottled sparkly juice.

There was a little quiz with fun facts about the little man himself and his beautiful home country, heart-felt stories from Mama Heather, as well as opportunity for guest to write out prayers they've prayed for the family of honor. And of course, the sunflowers were a happy crescendo to the party atmosphere.

All very simple, but it doesn't need to be grand to be special. Sharing in life together and creating moments of celebration is, for me, an opportunity to treasure.

15 September 2010

Prudence Takes a Leap

Yesterday, I described our most recent form of family entertainment. The zipline. I shared how I had some mom-ish misgivings, but how easily swayed I became when I witnessed their sheer delight and obvious aptitude for the thing.

So. I decided to try it myself. Up on the fence I scrambled, scurried down to the end like a giant squirrel with an inner-ear problem, and readied myself for the jump.

"Jump big," Pops tells me, "'cause you don't want to smack into the fence." I'm good at following instructions. I grabbed onto the rope ... and jumped big.

Really big. Like, so big my adult-sized body sailed up into the air with an abandon that should never be attempted ... unless your grip is super tight, your legs are tucked under you firmly, and you are ready for the jolt that comes when your body weight snaps against the overhead wire ...

... of which, I did none. 'Cause I was only told to "Jump Big!" Which I did.

And wouldn't you know ... my grip slipped.

And then I slipped.

And then I ended up on my back in the dirt. Laughing hysterically.

And my children hovered to see if I was okay and why I was laughing so much. And my husband kept taking pictures.

So that, my friends, is a real-life example of what happens when you hoist Prudence up to a homemade zipline and tell her to jump big.

The End.

14 September 2010

Hello. My Name is Prudence.

This summer was full of loafing about and not being too scheduled. Always a good thing. One endeavor that did keep my family busy was the clearing out of the green-space behind our fence. In addition to the installation of the now legendary tree swing, the children (and this time I do include Pops in this categorization) were also ecstatic about the end-of-summer zipline that came to fruition.

Much like said tree swing, the safety of the zipline is questionable, at best. Apparently, all the more reason to love it. The children (again, Pops included) have been scaling fences, hopping onto cable-suspended ropes and hurling their bodies towards an opposing tree that borders a steep, rocky, brambly drop-off. Oh, sigh.

It's one thing for my husband to taunt gravity and good sense with these danger-riddled behaviors, but the children. Oh, save the children.

But there they are, loving every minute of it.

Zipping along with full confidence ...

... concentration on their brows ...

... completely lacking (what I consider) a healthy sense of fear ...

... and having the time of their lives.

While I do want my children to actually reach adulthood and survive their childhood while under our care ... I love to see how they are learning to view life as an adventure and opportunity. Prudence is good. But why watch life from the sidelines all in the name of it? I think I get it.

Tomorrow. Stay tuned. For thrills or peril, Anna throws prudence to the wind.

13 September 2010

Another First Day

I can barely believe how big my boy is. Fourth grade. My, my. As he stood ready for the picture taking to commence, there he was ... all tall and charming and smiling with confidence. It was all I could do not to run over and start kissing him.

And sweet Lucette. Second grade this year. My very first year of teaching was at second grade, and what a lovely age it is. All adorable and precious, but so smart and capable! Miss Jane is going to miss her sister.

Ah, my babies. Growing up, even though I told them to stop. And while there is part of me that wishes I really could keep them little, what a joy it is to watch them grow.

11 September 2010

Anna & Her Brother

Today, my mama sent this photo from the wedding. It just makes me happy to look at it ... I can hear my brother chuckling his signature chuckle.

10 September 2010

Angel Baby

Well, I'm sure he isn't always an angel, it wouldn't be right. But we think Cousin Michael is just a little slice of heaven.

09 September 2010

Two New Places to Sit

Some of you eagle-eyes noticed them in the background from yesterday's birthday post, and yes ... the chairs are done. I'm rather pleased with how they turned out, too!

If you'll remember, I scavenged a pair off of Craigslist that were in good condition, but rockin' at bit too much of the seventies mottled, dark wood. So a whole lot of taping off upholstery, a couple of coats of primer and paint, and a not small section of the lawn that is now accidentally dove gray too ...

VoilĂ ! Two "new" side chairs for the living room. I love how it makes our 20 year-old putty colored carpet look kind of on purpose! And don't you like the old-fashioned teal velvet with the punchy orange pillow?

08 September 2010

A Woodland Celebration

Miss Jane had a birthday today. Miss Jane turned five. In honor of her special day, we crafted a woodland themed party and invited five little girls over to celebrate.

After finding some inspirational woodland animal cookie cutters months ago, I've had a grand time coming up with ideas for the day. Upon arrival, the girls busied themselves with gnome coloring pages and taking turns cutting out and be-sprinkling sugar cookies. Choices, choices ... fox, bear, snail, squirrel, and my favorite ... hedgehog.

Into the oven the cookie friends went, to be bagged up once cooled and sent home in their goody bags.

Next came some cozy stories and poems out of a book from my own childhood collection. The illustrations alone send my imagination into a fairyland of it's own. So nostalgic.

We capitalized on a sun break (the rains have returned!) to engage in pinecone spoon races and get a few wiggles out.

We then moved onto craft time. We made mossy pencil holders (oasis foam hot-glued inside Ikea mugs covered with craft moss) to place our toadstool pencils in. I'm not normally very craft-inclined, but this project was awfully fun.

Ahead of time, spray paint wooden craft balls (with dowel hole) a zippy red and hot-glue onto pencils. Allow little fairy girls to paint white toadstool spots upon.

Makes for a good centerpiece decoration, as well!

Now seriously. How cute are these? Into the goodie bags they went alongside the cellophane-bagged cookies, and coloring sheets. Tie on a helium balloon and there you have it. A sweet little thank-you for guests to take home.

And then. The tasties. Neapolitan ice cream with chocolate sprinkles in punch cups. Scoop up prior to party, place on tray, and keep in freezer 'til ready to serve. I am the world's slowest ice-cream scooper, so this time-saver strategy is a must.

Alongside the frosty cups, we indulged in mint-spriged water ('cause that's how the fairies drink it) and little bowls of raspberry jelly candies. And of course, cupcakes and candles to make a wish upon. Miss Jane had a twinkle in her eye today. I think she was most pleased.

And see her dress? Another relic from my childhood made by my own sweet mama when I was just Jane's size. Yes, there was much memory making today.

Happy Birthday, Jane. You are so very dear to us.