Saturday, May 30, 2009

For Posterity's Sake: Week in Review 21

She put them on herself.

Being in a Hurry and the Things Said While Waiting:

While on our way out the door for church on Sunday, Audrey saw me grab a sippy cup of milk. When she asked for it, I told her that I'd give it to her once we got to church. Halfway there, Audrey looks at the cars ahead of us and says, "Hurry everybody. I want some milk."

Once in church, I was attempting to keep Audrey happy and still during a baptism. I began reading her a book called Read to Your Bunny. The book is about the importance of reading to your "bunny." Some of the sentences read, "It's twenty minutes of moonlight, and twenty minutes of sun. Twenty old-favorite minutes, twenty minutes brand-new..." After reading this last line, Audrey looks at me and says, "I don't know what you're talking about."

On Tuesday, Jason was downstairs working on the computer. Audrey went down to find him. After being down there a few minutes, she said, "I can't do it, Daddy. I can't do it."

"What can't you do?" he asked.

"I can't do it. I can't wait for you." she said and headed toward the stairs.

Finding Jason has been on Audrey's mind a lot as of late. Since I've been struggling with my allergies as of late, he's been coming home and (regardless of how tired he may be after a long day) taking Audrey outside to play so she gets a little more outdoors time each day. During the day, she misses that he's not home to play. Everyday this week, she has asked numerous times, "Where did Daddy go?" Followed by the declaration, "We need to find him."

Wednesday night, we told Audrey she could watch a short movie. As Jason was getting it set up for her she said, "Let's get this show on the road."

Last night, I was carrying Audrey down the hall en route to bath time. She began to scale me like a tree. Once her knees were at my shoulders, she pulled at my hair saying, "you have a flower up there. You have another flower up there." We had read Daisy-Head Maysie earlier in the day, so I thought she was thinking of the story. Then, as I felt her tug at something on my head, I remembered that I was wearing two hair clips shaped like flowers. Of course, as soon as I said, "You're right, I do have flowers in my hair," she had moved on to something else and yelled, "I'm tall!"

We hope you are enjoying your weekend, that your day's activities are so exciting they make you want to "get this show on the road" to get them started, that you are spending time with the people you usually miss, and that you find some unexpected flowers along the way.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Smells From the Oven

Ten days ago I was given a Friendship Bread starter from my neighbor. For those of you not familiar with Friendship Bread, here are the basics: you receive a starter from a friend (contained in a plastic bag) to which you add ingredients on Day 6; all days before and after 6, you squeeze the bag to combine the contents; with your efforts culminating on Day 10 when you add more ingredients, separate your concoction into new starters and use what is leftover to make two loaves of bread.

Today was my Day 10. As good fortune would have it, I happened to have a friend who arrived at my door for the evening just as the bread was finishing up in the oven. I love greeting a friend with a kitchen that smells of baked cinnamon. Had my friend closed her eyes, she might have been in my grandmother's kitchen as easily as mine, a kitchen that always smelled of homemade rising cinnamon rolls that let you know preparations were being made for your arrival long before you came.

Luckily, after smelling the bread baking for 40 minutes, the taste didn't disappoint: sweetly decadent and slightly dense - bread that acts like cake. Warm-from-the-oven bread, a friend worth baking for, and time set aside just to talk. I love an evening well spent.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Making Me Smile Right Now

The first blooms from the Abraham Darby rose bushes. Sometimes, even the two-year-old needs some fresh flowers on her dresser.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

We Love Dirt!

This weekend we got outside in the dirt and began the business of planting our garden. As with any experience this Spring, Audrey finds a way to make it new. Saturday's planting involved her first close-up encounter with a worm. She was fascinated, and while she refused to touch it, she requested that Jason and I find more for her all afternoon.

Rather than using her shovel to plant, Audrey dug for worms as Jason and I filled our garden with some plants found at a local gardening center, a pot of basil purchased at Saturday's farmer's market,

and a few little seedlings we had started in the house. There are a few more things we'd like to add as we find some time this week to get out and get dirty again. Audrey helped me drop the last few zucchini seeds into the ground as the sky grew cloudy.

Then, upon seeing the camera, she dropped her gloves and took off. Because, as exciting as worms and playing in the dirt are, photography is really where it's at.

So here is her garden experience from behind the lens. Of course, she chose to take pictures of those items that interested her most:

My gardening bag, empty by this point after I cleared out all of the items I was afraid of her getting into and she, of course, found uses for the rest.

The small stakes used to label our plants, which Audrey thought were great fun to remove and run around the yard with. I expect the garden to be completely void of these and the yard to be littered with them within the week.

It was a full day: some fresh air, fresh plants, fresh perspective, and the hope for a harvest to come.

Monday, May 25, 2009

And the Winner is...

After some preparation earlier this week, and a little more time in the kitchen yesterday, I was finally ready to accept Jason's challenge and put a couple of cookie recipes to the test. A few friends came over for a guys' game night last night and, unbeknownst to them, a chocolate chip cookie taste test. I stayed in the kitchen long enough to get the results before making myself scarce behind my sewing machine.

The Contenders:

Cookie A - Clotilde Dusoulier's take on a recipe in a New York Times article by David Leite, who gathered advice for experts in his quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie.

Cookie B - Found on Heidi Swanson's blog, this recipe is from David Lebovitz's Great Book of Chocolate.

Cookie C - The tried and true recipe on the back of the Toll House semi-sweet chocolate chip bag.

I made and labeled the cookie doughs, "A", "B", and "C." I then wrote which letter corresponded with what recipe and sealed the paper in an envelope, just to keep everything on the up and up. Each guy tried a cookie from each plate. Then, they each got one vote. (While I tried one of each, my vote didn't count, since my vote wasn't blind). Now, I should make a quick disclaimer. The recipes weren't followed to the letter. If they called for nuts, the nuts were left out. One recipe called for chocolate disks, but I chose to use the same chocolate chips (from the same huge bag) for all 3 batches, to make things as fair as possible. However, I'm sure the authors of the recipes might not consider this fair, since we didn't have the cookies as they had intended. I can't really argue with that. So, to the letter they were not, Jason-friendly, absolutely.

And, the winner is (by a 3-to-one vote)....


These cookies were a bit chewy, a bit crispy, and had chocolate to spare.

Toll House was the second-runner-up (and actually got my non-counting vote, but don't tell Jason). They had a strong buttery flavor, which isn't too surprising, considering they contained the most butter of the three. Their big downfall was their appearance. I just couldn't get them to look pretty. I seem to remember Jason's version looking prettier, but I don't know what he did differently.

Cookie A was the prettiest, reminding me of the perfectly formed Soft Batch cookies my Mom used to stash in my suitcase before sending me off to 4-H Camp in the summer. But what became termed their "interesting consistency," crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside, was a little too interesting for my tasters. However, when Jason, Audrey, and I taste-tested them again this morning (Yes, we began our day with chocolate chip cookies. I suppose as a mom, I should feel a little guilty about feeding my daughter a cookie before feeding her breakfast, but my Mother had a theory that if you ate your dessert before your meal and died during your meal, you would die happy. The three of us survived to eat our French toast and turkey bacon, but we were happy just the same.). This morning, after resting for the night, Cookie A was fantastic.

So my theory is this, if you want a cookie that's a little bit chewy, a little bit crunchy, and an all-around winner, go for B. If it's buttery cookies you're after, go for C. If you have to make cookies the night before for an event the next day, choose A. And, rest assured, no matter how you choose, one of my testers summed it up best when he said, "they were all shades of wonderful."

Friday, May 22, 2009

For Posterity's Sake: Week in Review 20

Expressing Herself, or Out of the Mouths of Babes: Part 2:

On Sunday, we were at my parents' house for a family get-together. My Mom had just pulled up in the car, freshly washed by my Father, after driving through a water puddle that had splashed up the sides. Audrey overheard her telling my Dad that she had just gotten the car dirty. Audrey spent the rest of the day berating my Mom, shaking a finger at her and saying, "You can't drive. You got water on it."

On Monday, Audrey and I were playing with her etch n' sketch. I would draw a shape and ask Audrey what it was. I drew a star. She said, "star." I drew a heart. She said, "heart." I drew a circle. She said, "poop." (I think she's been checking out Emmy's potty a little too closely.)

Audrey went outside with Jason on Tuesday night while he watered some plants. She was playing around some of the plants when she suddenly said, "I'm sorry, Daddy. Don't ground me, ok?" (We still don't know where she heard the expression "ground me" or what she thought she was doing that was so groundable.)

Later that night while eating dinner, Audrey farted. Jason said, "What do you say when you toot?" Audrey said, "Woohoo!" (We were going for "excuse me.")

Wednesday, while running through sprinklers Jason had turned on, she looked at him and said, "Daddy, it's just so cold." (This, of course, didn't stop her from running through them again).

Today, I was talking to Jason as the two of us got ready to go out for dinner. I was in the bathroom, Jason was in the bedroom, and Audrey was going back and forth. I was midsentence when she walked into the bathroom and shut the door, leaving Jason on the other side. I said, "Don't shut Daddy out. I was talking to him." She turned to face me and said, "He doesn't need to talk for you."

And, as I have been writing this, Jason has been wrestling with our eleven-pound dog on the floor, to Audrey's shouts of "No, Emmy! Don't eat Daddy, Emmy!"

Have a wonderful three day weekend, and take a little time to express yourself. You just might make someone laugh.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Some of you may have read this post last month when Jason challenged me to find a better chocolate chip cookie recipe than his old standby on the back of the Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip package. Had you thought I'd forgotten? Succumbed to defeat, perhaps? Oh no. I wouldn't forget being smacked (lightly, mind you) in the face by a ladybug shaped bath mitt that quickly. No, I just decided to forget about chocolate chip cookies for a while. Spring does that to me. I get distracted. I crave fruit. I eat strawberries by the bucketful. I stop craving cookies (I know! Who does that? Well, me.). I forget to make cookies.

Jason, however, does not forget to stop wanting them (or reminding me that he wants them). So, while on my cookie-making-consuming hiatus, I have been scouring for recipes and bookmarking the ones that look promising. I've narrowed my search to two. I just popped the dough from the first recipe, found here, in the refrigerator. This recipe calls for refrigerating the dough 36 hours before baking! Just where do you stash cookie dough that you have to keep your paws off of for 36 hours? In the refrigerator in the garage, out of sight, out of mind, and out of reach of Audrey's two curious hands.

Jason is hosting a game night for a few friends on Sunday night, which seems like the perfect venue for a cookie taste test. (We don't need to eat all of these cookies ourselves). I'll serve my two batches next to a third batch made from the Toll House recipe (in a blind taste test, of course). What if Toll House comes out on top? My search will continue. After all, I'm no quitter.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Signs of Summer

Summer is beginning to peek up around us: the first ice cream run, sprinklers in full swing, me wanting to be outside in spite of uninterrupted sneezing. Today, Grammy came over to play and, in true Grammy-fashion, played hard. With summer-like temperatures egging them on, those girls went on two walks and multiple trips to the playground, with breaks for playing inside the house in between. Once Jason got home, and the ice cream he brought along devoured, it was out to the sprinklers for round two.

Now we are all a bit tired. That good, sun-soaked, arms-and-legs-heavy-from-outdoor-work-or-play tired. But from the squeals and splashes being emitted from behind the shower curtain Audrey is using for some bath time hide-and-seek, you could never tell. And while the adults feel like we need to tuck in early for bed to recoup, something tells me that when that sun peeks out tomorrow and warms our bare arms, we'll be up for a replay.

I should sign off here and finish bath time, but I can't look at this sprinkler picture without recalling a little story from our morning. This morning was the last meeting of a neighborhood Bible study I've been attending. One of the neighbors, whose backyard butts up to mine, told a story about seeing Audrey playing outside last week in the rain. She had just sat down to lunch with her children when they noticed Audrey outside by herself, running through the rain, splashing at the water in the wheelbarrow, and riding her bike: soaked-to-the-bone and loving every minute. Her children were concerned, and she assured them that I was surely watching from the window. So they watched and laughed, and my neighbor retold this story to our other neighbors about how great it was to see Audrey having so much fun (and me letting her have so much fun).

Of course, this is when I had to make my confession. You see, that's the day I found out Audrey was quite adept at opening our patio door, all by herself. I had just finished a load of Audrey's laundry that day, and finding her occupied in some task, I thought it safe to run the clothes upstairs to her room. Then I heard her yell, "Mama, I'm all wet." Thinking she meant she had a wet diaper, I went to find her. She met me halfway, looking like the victim of an all-day dunking booth extravaganza, Emmy playing her fur-drenched side-kick. I remember thinking that if any of the neighbors had witnessed this, they must think I'm a horrible mother. I changed her into dry clothes, told her she could never go outside without telling me first, retrieved the lone shoe still collecting rain on the patio, and counted my blessings that she was perfectly fine.

This morning, hearing the story from my neighbor, I was able to laugh about it for the first time. Then I told the ladies about my own mother, who let me play in the dirt pile outside of our newly-built house, or out in the woods just beyond (of course, I was much older than two), until mud and grit covered every inch of me. When it was time for me to come home, I would, excited by the day's adventures, not wishing to spend my days any other way. I would follow the newspaper trail (constructed by my mother) to the bathroom where I stripped down to clean up before dinner. The next day, I would head out again, she'd construct a new newspaper trail, and I would feel like the luckiest kid on the block.

Maybe, the next time it rains, I'll open the door for Audrey.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Kitchen Knits

Half of our dishcloths are a tattered mess. The ones that have held up were a moving gift from a friend who knits. She gave them to me eight years ago. The colors are a bit faded now, but other than that, they are still in great shape. After taking stock of our kitchen drawer, and finding a free pattern for knit dishcloths here (look on the right side in the "For You" section), I decided it was time to suppliment our current stash with a few new homemade dishcloths. I finished this one, made from Lion cotton, today. The original pattern has a stripe down the middle, but white yarn was what I was able to grab quickly at the store this weekend when I only had five minutes. Maybe the next one will have a stripe.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Happy Has a Sound

Time Well Spent:

Watching these two cousins (two of my favorite little beings) tickle the ivories, laughing all the while.

Friday, May 15, 2009

For Posterity's Sake: Week in Review 19

On Time Outs, Storms, and the Things Said in Between:

There's no getting around it, Audrey is a cute girl. Not just in the her-mom-thinks-she's-cute sense. In the strangers-take-notice-cute sense. Sunday, while out to lunch, I walked past a stranger with Audrey in tow. The stranger, seeing her, said, "You're such a pretty girl." He walked just out of earshot before she replied, "Yes. I am a pretty girl." Oh boy.

Monday we spent a long day taking our time and playing hard at the Children's Museum. On the drive home, Audrey informed me, "I want to drive, too." When I told her she couldn't drive yet, she cried - for a consecutive thirty minutes, until we turned onto the street that leads to our house, at which point she fell asleep.

This week has been one of frequent rain showers and a couple of storms. Audrey's catch-phrases during these storms are, "Did you hear that?" "What's that?" said in a dramatic whisper. On the night of the biggest storm this week, she woke up frightened and scrambled into bed with us. In the morning, she looked at me and said, "Did you make the thunder loud?"

On Wednesday, after being told she had to go to time-out, she began yelling, "No, time-in, time-in!"

Thursday night, Jason converted her crib into a toddler bed. When we put her to sleep that night, she looked at us puzzled and asked are you going to "close me?"

Today, my little sister flew in from California. Audrey and I made a trip to my parents' house to spend some time catching up with her. Audrey had taken to playing with a spare key on a chain and asked me to go stand on the glassed-in porch so she could "lock me out." When Mamaw asked if Audrey had put me in time-out, she replied, "I'm making Mama settle down."

This stage is one that not only keeps us on our toes, but keeps our interests peeked at full-tilt. We wake up not knowing what the day will bring, what new phrase will come out of our little one's mouth, what game she may invent for us to play, and how she will make us view the world anew, again. Then we wake up and do it all over again. This morning she was a big dog and there were lions on the ceiling. Who knows what treasures the house will hold tomorrow that we would not see without her as our guide? What a blessing. What a ride.

Here's to your own sweet adventures this weekend!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Something New

I love sneaking in even a few moments to begin a new project. Especially when it involves this warm sunny yellow yarn. I hope you found some sun today or created a bit of your own.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Pajama Time

When I woke this morning, the earth was already soaked to the bones and the sky hung dark like a velvet cloak - a sure promise of more rain to come. Regardless of where I needed to be, it was the kind of morning that made me want to linger in my pajamas. This not possible, I began to linger on pajamas, instead, Audrey's to be exact, or her lack thereof. While Audrey has plenty of pajamas to keep her warm, her summer stash consists of one lonesome nightgown. Working in the found nooks-and-crannies of the day (and just finishing while Jason performed bath duty), I took action to begin to remedy this problem before the rain stops and the heat sets in.

First, I grabbed the pants in the photo above, snatched from a destined-for-Goodwill pile at my parents' house. Then, I grabbed a pair of shorts that already fit Audrey well. Taking advantage of the workmanship done before me, I folded the shorts in half and lined them up with the bottom edge of one of the legs. After pinning them in place, I cut around the shorts, adding 1/2 " to the side and 2 1/2" to the top. I took this piece, lined it up on the other pant leg as I had the first, and cut out a second identical piece.

Cutting the pieces out this way meant the hem was already finished for me, as well as two of the sides. I finished the other sides using the serger (just to make sure they won't fray - pinking sheers can be used, too). I lined my pieces of fabric up, right-sides together, and sewed along the curved edges (basically just the slope you see in the picture above). This creates the crotch of the pants. Then, I turned the shorts (with right-sides together still) and pinned together the short bottom edges. Stitching these together creates the inner sides of the legs (the seams that you have just sewn essentially create a cross). The legs sewn in place, I created the waist. I turned the top edge down 1/4" and pressed it all the way around with a warm iron. Then, I turned the top down an additional inch and pressed it again. I sewed two rows of stitching (the second for reinforcement purposes) as closely to the bottom edge as possible, leaving a space about 1 1/2" wide to slip the elastic through. I believe I used 3/4" wide elastic (it was leftover from another project and no longer labeled) that I had wrapped around Audrey's waist to make sure it would fit. I fished the elastic through my newly created waistband using a safety pin attached to the end as a guide. Once through, I put one end of the elastic on top of the other and stitched over both pieces several times. The ends got tucked into the band and the 1 1/2" opening stitched closed.

Of course, the final step was having Audrey try them out. Here she is, running around the room as I try to take pictures, telling me how much she likes her new underwear. Hmm...who knew she was a boxers girl?

These are by no means fancy or the cutest pair of pajama bottoms on the block, but they will be a little more comfortable this summer than the flannel pajamas that have gotten us through the winter. I envision them with a sweet white tank top, but that's a project for another rainy day.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Out of the Kitchen and On With the Day

Bike wheels have been spinning down the street all afternoon. The breeze carries the reminder that the swing chains at the neighborhood playground need oiled, and the older children have rushed through their homework to swap pencils with well-worn baseball mitts. This is the kind of day that makes grown men tap their feet under their desks, antsy for five o' clock to show its face. It's a day for doing just about anything, but spending a lot of time in the kitchen.

So at five o' clock, as my guy put his antsy foot to the pedal and steered the car this way, I pulled out just six ingredients (including the olive oil for the pan) and grabbed Robin Miller's recipe for Chicken and Pepper Jack Taquitos. This recipe is quick, taking just minutes to saute the ingredients and wrap them in tidy corn tortilla packages before popping them in the oven where they come out a little golden, a little crispy, and doused in melted cheese.

I love the bright red of the roasted red peppers and how spiking the skillet with one measly teaspoon of liquid smoke makes the entire kitchen smell woodsy, as if I took the time to fire up the grill and wait for the coals to gray. Most of all, I love that this recipe frees up our evening for all those other things May days were meant for, but still lets me get a little something home-cooked on the table.

Monday, May 11, 2009

To My Fellow Holders of the Coats

Audrey likes to travel in style, which usually means sippy cup in hand. Today was no exception. But unlike other days, today when she finished she leaned forward with the cup and said, "you hold it." As I found a safe place to nestle the cup in the passenger seat (next to purse, small cooler, camera, and snack - the items deemed necessary for a trip to the museum), I thought of my mother and our family trips to Kings Island.

Every couple of years, my dad would load up the car with all the gear a family of five requires for a trip across state lines for a weekend of amusement park adventuring. Once at the park, we'd spend as much of the day there as possible, beginning in the morning when the sun hadn't quite warmed the pavement and staying to see the night capped off with fireworks. Of course, going before the sun was in full force meant layers or coats, which we shed as soon as they started to make us sweat, or as soon as they were wet from the log ride. My mother, not a fan of roller coasters since 1982 when she unknowingly rode one while pregnant, waited at the side of each ride as the rest of us paired up and stood in line, tossing unwanted items into her once-free arms. Of course, it didn't stop at the coats or long-sleeved shirts. There were the items we were afraid we'd lose to the rides: cameras, sunglasses, and jewelry (the earrings that we didn't realize would make our ears hurt as our heads rattled against the safety bars pulled down and around our heads). Then, there were the items we picked up along the way, most notably, the animal-shaped water bottles containing fruit juice that we had to have (that probably cost $5 each) once the day warmed up and we got thirsty. All of these things went to my mother, patiently waiting for us to as we stood in line and got our thrills. We were too enthralled with the park to think that if we were too hot to wear our jackets, our mother must be sweating loaded down with three of them and anything else we threw her way. We never stopped to marvel at her ability to find an extra hand to wave to us at the slower rides that went around more than once. And she never asked us to. She came along happily, knowing before the day ever began that she would be the bearer of all discarded things while we found better things to do.

Today, with that one phrase, "you hold it," I entered the phase of the mom coat closet and thought of my mother, who we never thanked as much as we should have. So to all of my fellow coat closets (especially you, Mom) who ever held jackets, hands, and hearts, I hope you all had a wonderful Mother's Day weekend - and found some time to spend with your hands free.

Friday, May 8, 2009

For Posterity's Sake: Week in Review 18

From the Mouths of Babes:

Nothing astounds us more right now than the phrases that come out of Audrey's mouth (usually comprised of words we had no idea she knew the meaning of, or ones we deliberately don't use around her). Here is a sampling of our favorite phrases this week:

"Mama, you my best friend." [Said as I was helping her wipe on the potty. I have to agree with her logic, one would hope this is the sort of task you entrust only to your best friend.]

"I want stick bread." [In reference to bread sticks at lunch.]

"I don't deserve that." [Her response to being told she had to go to time out.]

"Big poop, amen!" [As I changed her dirty diaper. And yes, she wasn't kidding about the size. I will never think of the phrase, "Can I get an amen?" the same again.]

"I have a butt. Daddy has a butt. Emmy has a butt." [We're not really sure where this came from since we refer to butts around her as "bums". In "Finding Nemo," when asked what a boat is, one of the characters said, "I know, it's a butt." We can only hope that Audrey doesn't think we're each sporting some sort of water craft where our behinds should be. And, if so, let's hope she's thinking something along the lines of a skiff rather than an ocean liner, ahem.]

"Audrey a good climber." [Said after climbing some playground equipment to get to a slide. While Jason was stunned that she knew to add an "er" to her verb (something that I had completely missed), I was thinking of how accurate a statement this is. Just this afternoon, Audrey brought her rock wall-climbing skills to a new arena when she used the kitchen cabinet pulls as foot grips and scaled the island. This summer we're taking her on tour, the Cirque de Audrey, with stops at emergency rooms near you.]

Every day is a new experience, a new word learned, and a new reason for me to fear parent-teacher conference day come preschool in the fall. Who knew when we brought this little one home 2-and-a-half years ago that we would laugh so much, marvel so much, and eagerly await her reactions to the littlest of firsts, such as the first time she realizes that burnt popcorn tastes and smells so bad. Who knows what she'll say. We can hardly wait.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Making a Splash



(Using a humongous duck helps).

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Rain Watching

When I peek out our backdoor today, I can't help but think of William Carlos Williams' famous poem, "The Red Wheelbarrow":

"so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

Of course, our rain-glazed red wheelbarrow is next to a white and red tricycle. Regardless, there is something about the rain that seems to bring things into a new focus, meticulously coating everything it touches as if painting our surroundings with a coat of sealant; leaving puddles that find ill-covered toes and seep up pant legs, hitching a ride into our homes; opening the earth, letting the earthworms escape, and with them that distinctive smell of raw dirt. Our wheelbarrow sits sheened with rain, reminding us of the stalled work we've yet to do, the new work of our garden yet to come, and that little tricycle, well, the fun that's yet to be had.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Some Birthday Sewing

Over the weekend, we saw my sister and dropped off her birthday gift (a little belated). It's a Gratitude Wrap. The free pattern can be found here at Amanda Blake Soule's blog. Look under the left column in the "For You" section. Of course, not being capable of following directions to the letter, I changed a few things. Soule's version uses binding tape around the outside of the wrap in addition to the ties that secure the wrap. Binding tape and I not being the best of friends, I opted for sewing around the edges of the wrap when they were faced right sides together (leaving a small opening on one side), turning the wrap inside-out, and topstitiching "1/2 around the wrap with contrasting brown thread. Then, I slipstitched the small opening closed and attached a shiny brown ribbon as a tie. I secured the ribbon so it would wind all the way around the wrap in one long piece rather than using two pieces, one at each side.

The intent of the Gratitude Wrap is to keep all the materials needed to write a thank you card (or any card) in one tidy place. With pockets for an address book, stamps, and cards and a pen, a busy gal can take her correspondence on the road or at least save herself 15 minutes of rifling through drawers. But what I really love is its sweet little name, because gratitude is exactly what I feel for each of the ladies for whom I've made these.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Dandelion Days

When I was in middle school, I heard that dandelions were edible. Being an adventurous kid, and having a partner-in-crime in my next-door neighbor, we decided to try them out. We picked an easily-accessible handful, and not knowing exactly what one should do to prepare a dandelion, we opted for pan-frying them in butter in my neighbor's kitchen. I don't remember what they tasted like - probably butter. I do remember they weren't as bad as I imagined they would be. I also remember going home and telling my mother, who freaked out. You see, I'm allergic to weeds. I had just eaten the enemy. Luckily, what I saw as a harmless (well, to those of us not vying for the perfectly green lawn), albeit odd, salad green, turned out to be just that. No throat swelling, no red bumpy rash, no sneezing fit. Luckily. I learned that day that maybe my perspective wasn't the only one to be considered.

On Sunday, Audrey came back from a walk outside with her Grammy sporting a dandelion in her hair. I love the two-year-old mentality that everything with a petal is a flower to be celebrated and tucked behind the ear. Right now, her perspective isn't tainted by the neighbor's green lawn, the local florist's definition of wearable flowers, or my fear that she'll spend her Springs miserable with my hand-me-down allergies. At some point (and for some necessary reasons) these other perspectives will sink their way into her being, but for now they float above her, unseen. For now, she is simply wearing a yellow flower in her hair. And for that, I am glad.

Friday, May 1, 2009

For Posterity's Sake: Week in Review 17

Prayers, Parts of Speech, and Pillows, Oh My...

This Sunday and Monday Audrey informed me several times, "Mama, my name is two." I tried to explain that her age was two, but she wasn't having it.

While she's a little fuzzy on the appropriate noun to use, exclamations she has down. Thursday during dinner she began fishing around her booster seat. After a lengthy search, she pulled a coffee cake crumb from under her leg, placed it on the table and cheered, "Ta-da!"

And sometimes, when exclaiming, no words are needed. On Monday, we went to the library to play with the train set. Audrey went up to the children's desk to give the librarian my card in exchange for some trains. When the librarian handed Audrey the trains, she squealed and took off running in the direction of the play set. The librarian, a jovial lady, laughed and said, "at least she's excited."

Jason and I have been a little under the weather this week. Audrey has been taking care of us in her own way, asking us if we're okay and freely offering hugs to help us feel better. Last night, as Jason lay on the floor, she began collecting pillows. She placed one under his head, one under his feet, and put one across his chest to be used as a blanket. Content with his makeshift bed, she bent down and kissed his forehead.

We like to pray as a family before our meals. Audrey thinks that praying is the most fun when we join our hands together to form a circle on the table. On Tuesday, I had set our filled plates on the table before asking Audrey if she wanted to make a circle with us to pray. She looked at me, looked at the food, and said, "here" as she took my hand set it in Jason's. Then, she grabbed her fork and began spearing her food.

This week Jason has also started to teach Audrey to pray at bedtime. They kneel together in front of her chair and list things for which they are thankful. Last night, I put Audrey to bed. We knelt in front of her chair and prayed like Jason has taught her. She thanked God for her Daddy, Emmy (the dog), Grammy, Mamaw, Papaw, and her aunts and uncles and cousin. Then I asked if there was anything else she wanted to give thanks for. Without a moment's hesitation she added, "thank you for rhinoceros." Indeed.

I find that due to dreary weather or stuffed sinuses, some weeks take just a little more effort to migrate through. They are slow-going at best, make you feel like you're simply muddling through as a parent or spouse at worst. This week was a little like that. And yet, it was a week filled with exclamations, kind gestures, and prayers for the most mundane (and somehow, sweet) things. I have found this to be one of life's great, ironic gifts - that when one takes on the time and energy-intensive job of being a parent or spouse, even the soggy, sniffly, puddle-filled weeks are ones to be appreciated, sometimes the most. I hope your week as been as blessed as mine: that you had someone to cheer when you didn't feel like it, pray for you whether you deserved it or not, and bring you a pillow if you needed comfort. If not, try giving thanks for a rhinoceros. It just might lighten your day.