Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Gratuitous Kid Photos

Happy Halloween!

We have, of course, Harry Potter and a glamorous movie star. I do apologize for the condition of Harry's tie. It came to me like that and I didn't think to fix it until my brother showed up and complained about my tying skills. I don't have any at all. But I didn't tie that knot. Anyway....he fixed it and gave him a super-nice knot later. Apparently, Chris was very impressed with the knot when he got home. Still, I know nothing about such things. However, I am undyingly grateful for the tie (which was borrowed from a friend with another young Harry Potter fan) as there were none to be found in the regular costume-shopping stores.
Anyway, both of my brothers went with Chris to take the kids trick-or-treating. My sister-in-law and I pulled our annual bit of dressing up and makeup fun (nothing toooooo over-the-top) and had fun passing out candy to the very few trick-or-treaters that came by.

Here's Andrew Potter and Hedwig:

And our starlet, graciously allowing her fans to enjoy photos of her.

DAILY BLISS: Feist and organic, dairy-free chocolate (it isn't a mini bag of Whoppers, but it helped)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Misty Moisty Morning

It was my turn to walk the kid this morning. Chris and I take turns going on morning walks with Drew for exercise and for connecting with him as he's getting older. But I don't handle mornings very well - especially not pre-six-a.m. mornings.
I was up late last night making lotion for a pretty big order, so this particular morning was more difficult than most. Plus, I still can't really have real coffee. And guess what? It was wet outside. Not real rain that would force a cancellation of the walk, just a fine, chilly mist (chilly being relative, of course, to our mid-seventies mornings of late). But we plugged along and made it back home.
The sun never did really make it back out and I, for one, was glad. It's windy and the sky is crowded with low, cotton-y clouds and it's been intermittently misting all day. It was hard for me to concentrate at work because of all this. I just wanted to be outside, sitting on a bench and letting the mist have its way with my hair while the wind told me secrets about where it had been before it got here.
No such luck, though I did manage to keep my door open all day long and some of the weather snuck in to visit me at my desk.
I bet I'd be happy living in Seattle or even London. But Seattle has better coffee, I guess. I don't think I'd ever be one of those people who goes crazy because they haven't seen the sun. I like drizzly weather the best.
I suppose I haven't anything of substance to say. My head is foggy and my body is aching for bed, which is unusual for me. I tend more toward the insomniac side of sleep disorders. I just may chuck all responsibility and head to bed here very soon, which would also be highly uncharacteristic. But also highly satisfactory.

DAILY BLISS: I drove by an Amtrak train (I love trains) and I just wanted to get on it and go. I didn't care where. But it looked like fun. Oh - and a music pastor today asked me over the phone if I was in the church choir. I told him no. He said it was a shame and that I had a beautiful voice. I don't even care how he concluded that without hearing me sing, but it made my day.

I'm an Evil Redneck Genius

So, I still have to tweak this a little bit to make it fit more snugly at the top, but here's Prototype A:

I laughed THE WHOLE TIME I was making this.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Annual Pumpkin Massacre

This was a fateful day in pumpkin-dom.

We gathered our dear ones, feasted on gingerbread muffins (with lemon curd, of course) and listened to the soundtrack from Edward Scissorhands. We carved and designed and gutted and slimed.

Pay attention kids. This is how a man carves a pumpkin:

And here's how the girls do it:

Group Photo:

DAILY BLISS: apple cider, sneaking a gingerbread muffin (even though I'm not supposed to eat that kind of stuff) and finalizing a pattern for those Santa beer bottle koozies!

Saturday, October 27, 2007


Well, I decided to stop waiting until I "finished" my Etsy shop to post a link here. It's as good as it's gonna get for now....
I'm hoping to get some sample sizes up soon (maybe even today) so it's easier to try a little somethin' without investing too much.

Friday, October 26, 2007

This 'n' That

I have claimed to be doing a lot of knitting lately. Normally, when something creative is going on, I like to post photos. But this is all Christmas knitting, and most of the recipients read this blog, photos. But, the Nephew Blankie, I think, is safe to show. I don't think our out-of-state fam reads this blog (partly because they would not very much like the fact that we drink and swear sometimes, and since I don't want to worry about whether I remembered to edit that part out, they don't know it exists). So, here is Nephew Blankie, and it is my very own, very rudimentary design. I used a gulls and garter stitch and added a moss stitch border. I'm sure it was in very bad design taste, because you have to add an extra stitch once you start the main pattern, as moss stitch is worked in even numbers and the other is worked in an odd number. But, I'm a newbie, so....I don't know what I'm doing and I enjoy exploring things without having to pay attention to all the rules.

As you can see, I have been knitting at least one thing. You'll have to take my word on the rest of it. It's also been requested of me to design some Santa Suit beer bottle koozies for Christmas Light Day. That's the day shortly after Thanksgiving when all the males in the family go house-to-house to put up the outdoor Christmas lights. That's also the day when all the chicks go and buy new Christmas jammies. It's a win-win, as far as I'm concerned, and I'm really looking forward to it! And, seriously, I am really hoping to have time to work on those koozies. They sound AWESOME. That was one of those things where a conversation just snowballs and it ends up with me saying something like, "Yeah. I think I can do that!" And then I have to do it, because some inner creative impulse tells me I must give birth to nearly all projects that enter my brain.
I'm still overwhelmed with papers everywhere in my house. I cleaned off my desk last week, only to clean the rest of the house and move all the scattered paper my desk. Shoot. I think I'm back to square one with that.
Um, the weather is nicer, but still not nice. Low eighties and humid. I guess that's better than mid nineties and humid, which it has been until this week. I'm really anxious to pull down my sweaters and jean jackets. Sigh.
Struggling with technology again today. My wireless keyboard and mouse set at work just don't want to work with my new computer. I thought that it may have been some small thing I was missing. I have this tendency to be very deep into a task and completely miss the small, obvious solutions. So, I called in Julianna. She's way better than I am at troubleshooting this sort of thing. The good news is that I didn't miss anything. The bad news is she couldn't get it to work either. She concluded that my whole problem was leprechauns. Living in my machine. Making mischief. And I concur.
Also, I am less than 1/4 into about four books right now. It's starting to bother me. I'm not usually a multiple-book person, and I think it's because I like to plow through something and get it done right away. It's like horcruxes for reading. I've split my literary soul into so many parts that I have destabilized the whole being.
So, those are a few of the scattered bits of me at the moment.

DAILY BLISS: Family movie night, potato chips (which I CAN still eat!) and my favorite, long-sleeved, super-soft Ralph Lauren black tee shirt.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Not My Day

I started out my day thinking I'd do something nice. I got a shirt for my birthday this year from the Director of Music at work. It' something I'd pick for myself. I wore it right after my birthday on a Wednesday (she comes in Wednesday mornings for worship planning with the pastor) and I decided to get one more Wednesday under my belt before she started to suspect I didn't like it. I don't like to hurt people's feelings, you see. I even told the kids that I'd pick them up in car line today. That way nobody would see it.
I apparently didn't get the memo that she wasn't coming in today. Julianna laughed at me. And I was stuck in The Shirt all day long. This is my pasty little fist sticking out of the sleeve. The whole shirt looks just like this:

But now, I'm thinking that I might stretch the two times to be "several times" that I've worn it to the office, just in case she ever asks.
But I think the rest of my day may have been a direct result of having worn that shirt. I got a lot done, but everything was more work than it should have been. I had to re-do tasks that should have been simple, I wasted even more time with the post office but finally got that done, and my printer wasn't playing nice with my computer. I tried to intervene, but it didn't help much. I think I just pissed the printer off.
Now, it's 5:30 and I have no idea where the day has gone. I had so much more I wanted to get done. I realize that the day isn't over, but I know I will not squeeze much more into it.
Oh well.
My brother just called and he's coming over for dinner. That is sure to be my daily bliss. Yesterday's was having coffee with my sister-in-law. Grown-up, out-after-dark coffee. But since my bro hasn't arrived yet and I'm trying to hammer out a post quickly, I'll think of somehthing else....

DAILY BLISS: cooler air is headed our way and knitting on a rainy, cozy day and the discovery that all-fruit jelly is pretty good on oatmeal in circumstances when you are not allowed to have sugar/honey/syrup/molasses

Monday, October 22, 2007


Whew! What a weekend!
On Saturday, we enjoyed the fall festival at Polk Community College, where my mom's the registrar. It was nice for her to be able to show off the grandkids and stuff. But the fair was super-cute and the kids played games and won some prizes. Emma came home with a big heart painted on her face. She also won the cake walk and was so proud. She was gracious and shared with us all. Drew decided to visit the haunted house - and Grandma took him AND Emma in. This was a learning experience. My kids are pretty sheltered. Very sheltered. It was the topic of terrified, whispered conversation for two whole days.
But after that, Emma and I went on a girl-shopping day with a couple of friends. We visited a yarn store. The clouds parted and a shaft of light shone down upon this humble and lovely purveyor of fabulous fibers. I think I even heard a chorus of angles when I opened the door and saw all the yarn that lined the walls - all the way up. I made a few final purchases for Christmas presents and Emma picked out a hank of turquoise wool. She snuggled it and held it up and all the ladies in the shop thought she was so cute. I would have looked like a first-class jerk if I'd made her put it back. Besides, all the other girls bought yarn. I didn't want her to feel left out! At least that's what I told DH when I showed him how much I'd spent.....
We visited Anthropologie and the Godiva store in Hyde Park. Joy of joys - there was a trick-or-treating festival going on and Godiva was handing out pumpkin spice truffles! I decided that one more day of eating off my prescribed diet wouldn't hurt much. Godiva never disappoints.
We had a refreshing meeting with our old pastor, ran all of our errands, made final decisions on Halloween costumes (we will have a movie star and, of course, Harry Potter) and did loads and loads of laundry. At my mom's house. Because our washer is broken.
And those are just the highlights. By the time someone asked me today how my weekend had been, I gave him a blank look and could not remember what, exactly, I had done over the weekend.
Sometimes it's nice to just go to work and sit at a desk. Unless you have to spend three or four hours talking to the post office. Then it might not be so nice.
There are lots of other things floating around in my head that I've thought of sticking here on the blog. I'll spend some time trying to catch them. If I do, I'll be back later to tell you what I found.

DAILY BLISS: Putting away laundry while listening to Death Cab for Cutie, a perfect combination if ever there was one, a perfectly ripe Asian pear and singing around the piano with my kids.

Friday, October 19, 2007


Well, partake of the beautiful bean juice, I did!
Yesterday morning, my hubby forgot to make the celebratory pot of coffee. He was out of the habit, and by the time I was ready for my first morning cup and realized there was none to be had, it was too late to brew a pot.
No matter.
I dropped the dog off at my parents' house ( neurotic poodle has to spend the day with their dogs to avoid panicking and puking all over the place) and my dad asked me how was my first cup of coffee. I told him I hadn't had any. He sent me into his kitchen straightaway to remedy that. I told him it was alright. I work at a Lutheran church. He exclaimed, "to the Lutherans, coffee is a minor sacrament!" I laughed. But I drank that coffee!
When I got to work, Julianna had a wonderfully fragrant pot of special coffee (I think it's the one she brings home from her coffee shop when she goes to visit her parents in Kansas. It's fancy, out-of-state coffee.) - I have seldom tasted a flavor I like better.
I drank two cups.
A little later that morning, the Pastor walked in with a tray of Starbucks. Plant City just got its first Starbucks, you see. So, in celebration of that and of my first day to rejoin the real world, he thoughtfully brought me a treat. I thought he'd get a kick out of the "minor sacrament" joke. He gave me a wild-eyed look and shrieked, "minor!?!?!?"
I drank that cup too.
By noon, I'd had the equivalent of four or five cups of coffee (because not all of those cups were exactly small....). I was veryproductive at work yesterday.
And a sweet older man, one of the Elders who happens to be moving away next week, brought me a box of chocolates to thank me for all of the work I do for the church. Should I have eaten them? Technically, no. I am still supposed to avoid sugar and milk for now, among other things. Did I eat them?
With gusto.

DAILY BLISS: lush curtains of rain this afternoon

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Woo Hoo!

This is my big, post-doctor-visit, health-report post. For those of you who are interested. If you're not, just skip this one.
I finally had my follow-up today after a couple of years of mysterious symptoms and general malaise and exasperated doctor visits and a final stab at solving the puzzle with a natural health practitioner. They did LOTS of tests and put me on a really strict diet and some pretty strong anti-bacterial medicine, guessing that I had an systemic candida infection. Most likely due to the years and years of antibiotics I took for acne.
Sure enough, that looks like one of the main problems! So, the FANTASTIC news is that I am not allergic to dairy or wheat or soy, like I thought, it's just that I have some other bacterial issues that make it hard for me to tolerate lots of different foods. So, I have to stay pretty strict on my diet and take some stronger medicine for the candida and the other, very rare, unknown-previously-to-my-doctor bacteria that I tested positive for. As a matter of fact, she couldn't even find it in her little book of bacteria. She said we could both go home and research it online and see what we could find. So far, it looks like it comes from plants, it often wipes out entire crops of eucalyptus, and it isn't often found in people. I have no idea what that means for me. But the good news is, I read that it isn't often fatal.
But there will be lots of food I can eat again soon. On the flip side, though, I am really allergic to eggs and corn syrup. And pineapple and peanuts. So, it's not like I can go back to eating baked goods or really anything pre-packaged or even peanut butter on apples, which I love. I had wondered why, even on all this medicine and with the very few foods I was allowed to eat, my skin was still itchy - worse than before! It's probably because I have been eating eggs for breakfast every day (figuring that I was allergic to wheat and not being allowed to eat corn really limited me...) and very often for lunch! I laughed really hard when I figured that out.
But you know what the first thing was that I did after I left her office? I went to Starbucks. I wasn't sure how I'd feel about my first cup of coffee in the longest time ever, so I figured it'd be safer to slink away to my mom's house (two blocks away from Starbucks) and enjoy. Sure enough, I teared up a little bit. Yes, yes, I am actually emotionally connected to coffee (she said with no small amount of shame in her voice). But enjoy I did.
And then, you know what else? I made spaghetti - with non-whole-grain noodles - and meatballs for supper. I had a little glass of wine (which for the first time in a long time did not make me turn beet red and feel like I was burning up from the inside out) and I finished it off with some really good, dark chocolate.
I won't be able to do that again for a while, but I figured that it was okay to celebrate a little bit for now. Now I know that I will feel better eventually. Even better than I already feel. And, as Becky cheekily admonished me, I did not go overboard.
So, tonight, I will sit back and knit and listen to Harry Potter on CD with my husband. He just hasn't had time to read the books and wants to know the whole story, so we've resorted to the audio books. I will enjoy feeling full for the first time in a very long time, and just a little bit warm - the right amount of warm for having had a glass of wine. And the lingering taste of chocolate in my mouth. That's really nice too. And then, I'll go back to all of my regimens tomorrow, feeling smug, knowing that soon enough I will betray all of those vegetables with a big bowl of ice cream.

DAILY BLISS: A cup of coffee! Duh!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

In That Phase

We went out for dinner tonight - an unexpected treat in celebration of our busted air conditioner. Good thing we bought that warranty....
It was nice, though, to enjoy my family on a weeknight and not worry about homework and cooking for an hour or so. My son sat across the table from me and actually engaged in a bit of witty repartee. Verbal Sparring is pretty much my favorite game. I come from a long line of smart-asses. I knew I'd completed my training the day my dad actually called me a smart-ass, with a twinkle of pride in his eyes. It's nice to know that I'm raising the next generation. He hung in there like a champ with me for a while. It was fun!
So, we swung by my mom and dad's house to borrow whatever fans they had in their garage in a feeble attempt to keep cool here on this five-degrees-or-more-above-average October night. A little snippiness ensued between me and the DH. This is not the fun verbal sparring mentioned above. I think I've noticed it sneaking up on me - there's something in my gut that tells me something big is changing. I didn't fully realize it until my mother gave me a mom-ish look after the little exchange of jabs. I turned to her and I said, "We're just in that phase." She said she'd noticed.
Thaaaaat's what's going on here. We're entering a new phase of life. It's the one where the kids and their activities take up all your brain power and pull you and your spouse further and further apart. It really is the one where women change into Mom instead of Mommy. The girls start to wear sneakers, sweats and perpetual ponytails and the boys start to get hairier and belch a lot more. It's the phase in which your hairstyle gets stuck, so that 15 years later, you look horribly outdated, and you lose track of what music is good and current. I've never been "cool" per se, so I'm not afraid of losing that....but I suppose that when you're younger, you think you're invincible. You think that you will somehow figure out how to stay hip through the child-rearing process. It's definitely not by continuing the use of the word "hip" to mean cool. This much I do know. You snip and snap at each other in front of, well, anyone. It's all in good fun. For the most part. So, for better or for worse, here it is.
Mom reminded us to "flame the coals." My mom always mixes her metaphors. Chris grinned wickedly and proceeded to ask me if I wanted to flame the coals later tonight. So, it's not all bad. It isn't a marital crisis. It's just a new phase. One I'm entirely too young for. But I guess that's what everyone thinks.

DAILY BLISS: A new magazine in my mailbox, and time to sit on the porch and read it (while the A/C guy was working inside), and the invention of the fan.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The First One

We had our first cool night of the season, not last night, but the night before. This is when I take a deep breath and remember that it's not so bad to live here after all. Sure, it's not exactly crisp and cool. There aren't any pretty leaves around....oh - my grandma used to send me leaves from Wisconsin every year. I'm going to really miss that. She would press them in wax paper so that they were preserved and still were colorful by the time they got to me.
It's not exactly what I remember as autumn, but it's less humid anyway. And it's a couple of degrees cooler. We take what we can get, huh? It has felt so nice! I have snatched every excuse that has come my way to sit on the porch for five minutes. Something about the air being drier makes my porch space feel like it has expanded. Maybe the humid air feels like it presses in and makes everything too close and yucky.
I guess there's something of a Midwestern girl in me still. I still long for a real seasonal change and for a cold snap in September. I can't help checking the weather forecast, maybe even twice a day, willing the temperatures to dip under 70 at night. I like sweaters and hot apple cider. And stew. It's too hot here for stew.
We do have a few, subtle shifts that occur in the fall, though. We drove by a tree today that reminded me. These trees - I have no idea what kind they are - bloom out with pink lantern-shaped flower pod things, if that makes any sense at all. They start out bright and fade to a soft peach and then they fall off the trees. Since Emma was born in October, I clearly remember watching a tree of the same kind through my living room window. Those first few weeks, all I could do was just sit there and hold her and stare out the window from my sofa. And I loved watching that tree's gentle transformation. Sometime in November, a good breeze will rattle the tree's limbs and make those pale petals sift down toward the grass. Granted, it's not a brightly-colored maple leaf, but it is certainly romantic in its own right.
So, having been energized by the slight change in weather, I cleaned my room today. The room was in such a state, that I did not finish cleaning it today. I did clear out a pile of junk that has been under my nightstand since we remodeled the room, uh, a year and a half ago.
Now, I'm wearing new fall-ish pajamas (brown soft pants with orange and teal and red polka dots...and an orange shirt) and enjoying my clean desk. Wishing I could have a cup of my daddy's famous cinnamon coffee. Four days and counting until I can (I hope) have coffee again.

DAILY BLISS: Accomplishing a few itty-bitty, nitty-gritty chores, fresh hair color and hearing a piece on the radio that I played in all-state band when I was in high school. Oddly enough, I still knew my part. Something kicked in, unbidden, right before the woodwinds were featured, and I started singing the bassoon part. The subconscious mind is a funny thing.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Not Much

This was a nothing-ish sort of a day. But, with the recent dearth of posts, I feel obligated to at least check in. So, here are a few highlights:
It was a good day inasmuch as I wore a red polka dot shirt with matching red lipstick. Red lipstick is a powerful force. I even gave my hair a nice blowout this morning. Did I have time? No. Was it worth it? Well, it was today.
I started - scratch that - re-started a blankie for my soon-coming nephew. It's a nice feeling to get a good inch or two into a new project. It Means Something. It's a commitment when you've gotten that far.
It is now less than a week before my follow-up visit to the natural-practice doctor. I hope I can have coffee back after that. I am optimistically saying that I have six days and counting before my next cup of joe. I miss that beautiful bean juice. Maybe someday I will write an ode to coffee.
I did some housework at my mom's while listening to the Beatles. Oh - and John Mayer. Nice.
And I laughed out loud today. At a funny email forward. Go figure. They're never really that funny!
So, having left out the boring parts and the science homework parts, that sums it all up for the day.

DAILY BLISS: DH packed the kids' lunches as a surprise, and had a cup of herbal tea waiting for me this morning! Oh - and thank you notes from the church youth group where I work, just thanking me for what I do there. SOOOO nice!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

In Recovery

Every time I have talked to someone this week, they have asked me if I've recovered yet from The Party. I have smiled and told them that, yes I have - I don't even recall what time I actually got dressed on Sunday due to sleeping for the better part of the day. I have mostly left out the part that I was sick too. It makes me seem like I'm better at resting, like I'm more in control of the situation, if I can allow myself to rest that much after a mere party.
The truth is, since August, we have just had such a string of busy-ness! Most of you handle stress and tight schedules much better than I, I'm afraid. I don't understand how moms manage multiple sports for multiple children and manage to volunteer for various committees and still have time for makeup. Makeup is the first thing to go when things get hectic at my house. And by hectic, I mean a single monkeywrench thrown into the works. Like a late paycheck that delays the grocery trip that cuts into the weekday schedule that throws off the homework schedule that lowers the grades that necessitates more homework time that throws off next week's grocery shopping. Not that I've experienced that string of events. Before last week.
But for us, with the start of school and daddy traveling a lot and the house being tented and two parties in a row (though I won't complain too much about those - I know that those were completely voluntary on my part....), it has been chaos.
I am not made for chaos.
I am made for afternoon tea on the porch and for baking cakes. I'm made for reading and singing with my kids. I'm made for the slow lane.
As much as I'd like to pretend that I'm tough, that I can handle anything life throws at me, I really can't.
For instance, I realized this morning as I was brushing Emma's hair that she hadn't had a shower since Friday. That's....let's see....well, an alarming number of days. It's too late for me to count. I nearly forgot again today.
For all of you that occasionally look my way and think that I have an in-control, put-together life, this post aims to disprove it.
I have considered in the past, and re-considered this week, whether I should just give up my silly little hobbies and sensibilities. Maybe joining the throngs of zombie soccer moms whose children are fed on drive-through kids' meals is inevitable. I've held out for a very long time by now.
I've been a stay-at-home mom before and I love it. I have time to bake and make and sing and play. I still don't keep a clean house, but I have time for joy. I'm working now. It's necessary. My job isn't stressful or anything, but I have found that I just don't have time for doing the things I love. Or maybe I just don't have time to do all the things I love. But - what to give up? I know I can't have it all. I just can't stop trying to.
But maybe it would be eaiser if I traded my pale pink kitten-heels for sneakers and went for the low-maintenance ponytail hairdo. I could let all my gray hair grow out so I don't have to bother with coloring it....that'd be a sight! We could trade one or two home-cooked meals a week for fast food or at least macaroni. Maybe I could spend my evenings organizing my desk instead of knitting. I could get a Palm Pilot or something - Blackberry? Is that what everybody uses? I've been urged to do so - promised, even, that it's just what I need. But I think that it would take so much time for me to figure out how to use it, that it wouldn't end up saving me time anyway. Maybe I could just say, "no parties next year." My hubby's wallet would swoon with relief.
I don't know. I'm just saying - I've been thinking about it.
But then....I'd be just like everybody else. Which I've never been. I think it would make me very uncomfortable.
So, these things have been swimming around in my head - all of these trades that I could make - swapping something pleasurable and time-consuming for something streamlined and efficient.
But I bought pomegranates today. When they appear in the grocery stores every fall, my kids start begging. And I gave in today. They're actually a pretty extravagant treat - pricey, when you consider all the work and the small reward.
I cut them up for dessert, the juice staining every crevice on my hands. I gently pulled each little crimson gem out of the rind. You can't be rough with a pomegranate. If you mistreat it, the juice squirts everywhere and does not wash out of your clothes! Trust me.
Can a pomegranate change your life? Probably not. But it helped me to remember that slow life and simple, beautiful things - that's what I'm made for. Isn't it better to deal with occasional chaos while you pass on to your children the importance of living life from your heart?
My house is a mess. I have papers all over my desk and under my bed and in the living room and in the kitchen. Some of them are important, I'm sure. Some of them contain deadlines that will be missed. Some of them are things I will regret not getting done on time. My children aren't bathed regularly enough. My dog isn't bathed regularly at all. Sometimes I forget to brush my teeth.
I'm certainly not advocating an irresponsible life. I'm just saying that sometimes, the things that seem to be top priority can slip down the list a little bit. They can be given less weight than the things that keep us energized and enjoying life.
So, have I recovered from The Party? Almost.

DAILY BLISS: An honest-to-goodness rainbow in the sky (it might have been yesterday, though. the days sort of blend together), my husband telling me I looked hot today and blueberry tea in a mug-with-a-message from my friend.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Marylin Monroe Had It Wrong

Chocolate is a girl's best friend.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Now We Are Seven

My daughter's birthday is always a big day for me. We go through all of the fun of party planning and preparation and wear ourselves out. This year, Chris and I didn't actually go to bed until somewhere around 2:30 this morning. I only have one cupcake pan and didn't think about picking up another until about halfway through the 150 cupcakes that I baked. Then I had to make the frosting (it was fun, boiled frosting, the old-fashioned kind), and I put it into pastry bags fitted with various tips. I made this cake:

We cleaned and cooked and worked and worked. Then we passed out and had to roll out of bed four hours later. "Why do I do these things to myself?" I wondered. Of course, I know why. It's really fun for me. I love to celebrate just about anything. But a birthday? It's one of the best. Emma's birthday? It celebrates my life too.
We decorated aprons, had a cupcake toss (with the knitted ones, of course) and a baking relay race (this involved sugar and wooden spoons...):

Here's the cupcake-decorating station, before and after:

An example of the confectionary greatness:

By 11:00 AM, candles had been blown out, presents had been opened, and 12 sticky, sweaty girls had been sent home with their cupcakes in tow.
Then we moved on to Grandma's present. Another outdoor, sweaty affair on this muggy, uncomfortable day. But, no matter. Emma went to ride a Paso Fino horse. She got to brush him and give him treats, help give him a bath and ride around and around the house on him. About the third time around, we asked her if she was ready to get down. "No way!" she said. "This is my best birthday EVER!" And she practiced her new "woah!" skill over and over again. The horse didn't seem to mind....
Upon our return home, I had to run out and pick up those last couple of presents that just never were purchased (with money my in-laws I had to take care of it!) and I pulled in the driveway with just enough spare time to shower and get ready for birthday dinner out with the family. She picked Chili's. I'm not exactly sure why. But.....OK. So, she got to wear a new outfit (what girl doesn't love that on her birthday?) and open more presents:

And her favorite? A giant "diamond" from Grampy.
Sweetie, when a man wants to marry you, he has to first give you a diamond bigger than the one from your Grampy. OK?

Deep breath.
When we finally got into the car to go home, Chris said, "Well, we made it through the day." Oh yes. I suddenly remembered. That's why this day is also special for me. Seven years ago, I almost didn't make it through the day. And neither did Emma. Birthday parties always make us busy. Sometimes, I'm busy enough to almost forget. But....I'm so glad to be alive. And I'm so glad that God handed this little girl to our family.

DAILY BLISS: Since all of this post was so blissful, we'll go with something quirky. Smashing Pumpkins song "Today" came on the radio and I decided it wasn't suiting my mood, so I flipped the dial to the next station. Guess what? The Beatles song "Yesterday" was playing on the next station over! Ha!

Friday, October 5, 2007

A Super-Fun Day

This will be a high-photo, low-word-count post. I wanted to get these up here quickly before I dive headfirst into birthday party prep (i.e. baking 3 kabillion cupcakes).
I went with Emma's class on a field trip to Green Meadows Farm, which is just my kind of field trip - hands-on, lots of critters.
Here are the farm girls. You can see that I look very sleepy. This is because my doctor won't let me have coffee. At all.

Here's The Chicken Whisperer. She sweet-talked the hens until they trusted her enough to let her hold them.

This is a zorse! Yes, a zebra/horse! I could not have dreamed up a better name even if I tried. It. Was. Cool.

Piglets and goats

Pony rides and a tractor (this one's for Grampy)

A train ride (we are very sweaty and hot) and a hay ride (not pictured :) )

The pumpkin patch!

DAILY BLISS: milking a cow and our tour guide telling me, in all seriousness, that I should work there (I probably had more fun with the animals than most of the kids.....)

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Checking In

I have been outrageously busy. Yes, yes, we alll have busy lives. But you know I'm busy if I don't have time to blog!
So, here are a few items:
The Toothless Wonder

Knit Cupcakes

Here's my favorite one, sitting on some homework

And here's what happens when Emma sneaks around with my camera (It's always a surprise when I transfer the photos from the camera to the computer...she likes to take very random photos. And she doesn't tell me.)

DAILY BLISS: Twelve little, pink party favor bags with purple bows on them - all in a row and waiting for a birthday party (Saturday). Swag anyone?