Wednesday, March 13, 2019

A Bunch of Stuff

More like nothing at all but a bunch of stuff sounds a little bit interesting and nothing at all sounds quite the opposite.

Truth be told there are gobs of things I need and want to write about, just not quite yet.

I hate it when bloggers say they have something to tell and then don't tell, but I have a number of things to tell and I'm not telling. Not today anyway, but soon.

I won't say as soon as life settles down because y'all, life just does not seem to ever settle down round here.

Delight! That's my word for this year and I'm hanging on to it by my fingernails. I'm so grateful for my bracelet (read about it here) because I need the visual reminder these days to delight in all the things. I'm not successful every minute of every day, but catching a glimpse of that bracelet on my arm helps a lot.

So does sunshine, which I'm not gonna lie has been in short supply this winter. Yesterday though? Yesterday was glorious and we took advantage of the blue sky-warm air combo and enjoyed a boat ride courtesy of our neighbors. Look no socks!

Temps were in the 60's, we had blankets for our laps, and the sun felt wonderful.

Our boat is at the boat repair place (probably not the official name but whatever) because somehow we wrapped up last year's boating season with a nice little scratch on one side and wanted that fixed before this season launches. We think the scratch happened while docked at a local restaurant but we're not sure. We are sure it wasn't my fault and really that's what matters.

Hubs and I have been volunteering with a local elementary school's water safety program which means every Wednesday afternoon we get in the pool with third grade students and teach basic swimming strokes and general water safety.  There are lots of adult volunteers so we each only have a couple of kids. There's also a lifeguard on duty and I asked last week if she'd ever had to whistle at an instructor. Not yet she hasn't. Ha!

In wedding related news I picked up the bridal gown and my gown and the bride's rehearsal dinner dress from the alterations place last week which was exciting. There are still a lot of little details to be managed but in terms of our wardrobe we're ready. Also, here's a little wedding planning tip-

Use a colored envelope for your replies. So much fun opening the mailbox and seeing all that dusty blue.

Earlier this week I signed up for the April A-Z blog challenge. Kind of on a whim which, let's be honest, is how I always end up signing up for the A-Z.  Somehow this works for me. I do have an idea for a theme this go-round, I just need to find make time to write.

I think to be a good blogger you need to blog several days a week and set your posts to publish first thing in the morning. But here I am ten years in, still blogging when the mood strikes and the planets align, hitting publish on a Wednesday when I should be making dinner.

You know what they say..."If it ain't broke, don't fix it".

Friday, March 1, 2019

Showered With Love

Y'all. This weather. Ugh. 

I just needed to get that out of the way so we can discuss all things bridal shower. 

Last weekend the bride's bestest friend aka her sister planned and hosted the loveliest shower for the soon-to-be Mrs. In true Daughter1 fashion she thought of every little detail, except perhaps exactly how long it would take to assemble this fabulous balloon arch. 


You should know Daughter1 is very particular about her diy and the balloons needed to be placed just exactly precisely so. The instructions said it would take anywhere from 45 minutes to 160 minutes depending on the size arch you ordered, and of course ours was ginormous (definitely the way to go!) so took every minute of the 160. Thankful for sisters-in-law who are also diy-ers and helped us get it all put together. 

The shower was held in our neighborhood clubhouse which is a really lovely neutral space with loads of room, comfy seating, and plenty of tables and chairs available. 

There wasn't a theme per se,  just lots of pretty pastels and florals to match the gorgeous invitation. Minted never lets us down when it comes to printed products. I have never ever been disappointed with anything I've ordered from this company and I highly recommend. Their customer service is also fantastic. 

Our menu was brunch and along with egg and veggie casseroles and an assortment of salads we had a crockpot of homemade tomato basil soup and a tray of pimento cheese sandwiches which were perfect for a gray day. 

Did I tell you the weather has been abysmal? 

We had a yummy mimosa bar (neglected to snap a picture) and I ordered three flavors of scrumptious cupcakes from a local baker (neglected to snap a picture). Daughter1 provided these darling little favors -

Yay! a picture!, and  I had floral arrangements made for the tables. We snapped lots of photos under the balloon arch, which was worth every minute of labor! 

Lots (and lots) of family came to town to celebrate our girl and she was absolutely beaming the whole day long.

So special to have her grandmas here to share the love. I have to say I hope I look like this when I'm a great-grandmother...

Daughter2 is gaining a wonderful mother-in-law and we loved having the groom's parents in town for the weekend.

Her soon to be mother-in-law gifted Daughter2 some beautiful Italian linen napkins and table runner which would go perfectly in my dining room. Ha! 

Lots of Daughter2's teacher friends were in attendance, and a very special young lady also joined the party. While in college and a few years beyond, the bride babysat for this sweet girl and her brother too. Her mama has been so kind to my girl and I loved finally getting to meet them both. And I did snap a picture but I don't want to post it without asking. 

My daughter watched hers go from toddler to tween and she watched my daughter go from a brand new college student far from home to grown up woman 'goin to the chapel'.

There are things in this world that make me so happy. 

The bride loved being surrounded by so many of her favorite people, and she received so many nice things. Some from her registry and a few surprises too, which are always fun.

This girl loves to bake and has wanted a Kitchen Aid for a long time now. This one is adorable! My momma who also shares the baking gene gave her a special edition Kitchen Aid in matte blue with a white hobnail bowl. 

I think she likes it.  

This is the cheese tray Daughter1's mother-in-law made for Daughter2. Shh...don't tell, but I plan to stash it in my cabinet when she's not looking. It's gorgeous! Daughter1's mother-in-law turns bowls and also gave the bride a beautiful salad bowl she had made. 

A full fun day all the way around, but my favorite part was this-

photo credit: my sister-in-law

My girls side by each.

In photos like this one I catch a glimpse of the little girls they once were. The smiles, the arms wrapped tight. The way they lift each other up.

They live miles and miles in geography from one another, but are still thick as thieves. Peas in a pod. Kindred spirits. Confidants. From the moment daughter2 entered this world her big sister has loved her to bits. And that love has been returned to her 100fold.

This past weekend was a wonderful prelude to the big day.
Can't wait!!

Monday, February 25, 2019

Check Check...Is This Thing On?

Let's just dive in and not mention its been a month since I cracked open my little corner of the Internet.

Hubs and I just got back from dropping Daughter1 and our grandson at the Atlanta airport for their flight back to Washington. What a full, busy, beautiful week+ it has been.

And by beautiful I mean there was much love and celebration. The weather eh. Not so very beautiful, more Washington-like. Which is unfortunate when you've traveled from actual Washington to normally sunny South Carolina hoping to escape the rain, but we made the best of it.

And baby boy just rolled with everything.
All of it.

Wearing a life jacket over an actual jacket-

People coming and going, the extended family whose voices rise several octaves at the sight of him, the picture taking, the sleeping in a portable crib at his other grandparents house for a few days, transitioning to our house and a different portable crib set up in the office because we had a full house and then some.

The dark rainy days indoors and the trip to Hobby Lobby and the happy noise and chaos that always occurs when our families come to town.

Yes there is wrapping paper on the sideboard and a plastic sheet under the high chair and his other grandmother might have a Clemson orange football in her lap for safekeeping, but we cannot be bothered with picture perfect pictures. Ain't nobody got time for that when there's a toddler at the table.

A toddler who wakes up happy and goes to bed happy and gives you the biggest bestest smiles all the day long.

There were approximately two pockets of sunshine while he was at the lake and we fully embraced those minutes.

That little chair he's sitting in has seen some miles y'all.  His mama and his aunt both did a lot of driveway sitting in that very same chair back in the day.

Mister was all in on the slide. There might have been mud puddles at the bottom but we made sure he didn't land in one.

He loved being near the water, walking out on the dock, fish spotting, and of course bird feeding with his pawpaw.

Anything with his pawpaw really.

Our little mancub is the busiest boy I know but we are mad about his every word, giggle, and antic. He is still rockin' the 90's boy band hair he was pretty much born with and we absolutely love it. His pawpaw trimmed his bangs sorta kinda one evening but it was like trying to hit a moving target so we decided it would be best safer if his mama let a barber handle that job once they're back home.

If you're looking for a great gift for a 19-month old non-breakable appetizer plates are always a good idea. If you can manage a stack of five the sound they make when dropped on a wood floor is completely on point.

While we loved all the time we had with our number one boy, Daughter1 and the mancub didn't really come all this way just to soak up the sun (good thing!) or twirl plates. They made the trek south so Daughter1 could host a bridal shower for her sister aka baby boy's aunt aka the bride.

And because I'm determined not to jam an entire month's worth of happenings into a single post I think I'll save all that for next time.

I still have plenty.

Monday, January 28, 2019

19 in 19

Hey remember how I was going to blog more? Ha! Actually I think what I said was I was going to write more, and I have. Just not here. There's only so many hours in the day people!

Anyway, here we are nearing the end of January so before the year gets away from me (hey, we all know it's going to be Christmas in a hot minute) I want to share my list. There's something someone started called 19 in 2019 where you make a list of 19 things you want to do in the year 2019. Coincidentally we were given a writing prompt earlier in the 31 Day Challenge to write a list, so a great fit. And easy, right?

We shall see.

Also, this list is more or less my 'practical list'. Not digging too deeply into my personal list on the blog today although #2 feels pretty personal. For now let's write some things down and then check some things off. Here we go-

1. Host a wedding. Some might say including this on my list is cheating because I'm hosting a wedding whether I write it down here or not. Still we're hosting a wedding and there are at least seven hundred and forty three things that need doing between now and then.  Let's go ahead and write it down.

2. Delight. My word for this year. I imagine I will write more about it at some point, but for now I'm still figuring out what that word means in my everyday life.

3. Read at least 32 books.

4. Deal with the office. My office. Which is relatively new, but was a room we didn't actively decorate and instead used mostly things that fit the space figuring we'd zhuhh it up later.

The office space is fine and completely usable, but uninspiring. I have a plan I'd like to see come to life and that plan includes shiplap, murphy beds, an inspiration board, a new computer, and the physical files purged and sorted.

5. Make a handmade gift for my grandson. I have something specific in mind, but I don't want to put details here because he reads my blog. Well maybe he doesn't read it, but his mama reads it and she might spill the beans.

6. Publish something. This 31 day writing challenge has been good for me and some of what I've been working on away from my blog is aimed at meeting this goal. Which I've had since 5th grade I started this blog all the way back in 2009.

7. Organize one project per month. Tops on the list? My closet, my photos, and my giftwrap.

8. Attend a professional ballet and a baseball game. I enjoy both and have done neither in the last twenty-four months.

9. See the SC State Capital. I have an unwritten accidental goal to see all the state capitals, because it occurred to me one day a while back that I'd seen quite a few. I'd for sure like to see our own.

10. See the 'Top Ten Most Spectacular Falls in South Carolina'. I think we've seen several on the list, but I want to see them all. None are too far from here so we just need to take the time to go and see and make the trek up or down a thousand steps or steep path viewing falls generally requires.

11. Frame stuff. Re-frame stuff. Print pics and frame pics. Investigate mixed tiles for the hallway. Has anyone tried them? I've seen them on a couple of blogs I follow and their walls look great. I do wonder if this will be one of those things that looks good in my head but in real life is just eh? Also they stick? Like 3M sticks and is easily removed or like glue?

12. Make a book about our Oregon trip. I know!! It's way overdue.

13. Go somewhere I've never been before.

14. Learn calligraphy or hand lettering. They're different and I'm not sure which one is the best fit for me, but I have an online course downloaded my girls got for me last year that I haven't even tried. One of my goals in re-decorating my office is to make room for some creative endeavors like this one.

A shop in my tiny town recently offered a class in hand lettering but I didn't find out about it until after registration had closed. I'm on their list for the next one though, so feel like I can make this happen.

15. Take a southern road trip. I have a whole list of ideas and itineraries and hope/plan/will check one off my list this year.

16. Less screen time. Doesn't everybody have this as their goal for 2019?

17. Get some really good sneakers. I know this sounds like a silly thing to put on a list, but my feet y'all. Ugh. I have almost no arch so I need good sneakers and I need to invest a little time in figuring out which ones are the right ones. You would think this would be something I'd just go ahead and do, but in reality it's something I'm always saying I need to do, but then I never actually do it.

Everyone has some little something that nags at them, right? What's your annoying something?

18. Investigate making a change to my pots and pans cabinet. Actually our cabinetmaker was at the house last week to drop something off for our builder and hubs (who does not need a list to get things done) had him measure the space. The cabinetmaker has already sent me designs, options, and pricing, so balls in my court now I guess.

But first! I need to host a wedding.

19. Delight. On here twice so I don't forget somewhere along the way.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

The Bracelet

I want to tell you a story. A true story. And I want to write it down because I want to come back here and read it when the world feels harsh.

I grew up in a neighborhood where kids walked to school. Where red rubber balls were kicked across the blacktop. Where we learned to write in cursive and play the recorder. Where we hit softballs on the diamond out back and learned to finally do a pull up on the playground monkey bars.

It was the kind of neighborhood where kids spilled out of doors and skated on a frozen pond. Where games were played and arguments occurred but where we always made up because we were a team. A pack. The kids from Barclay.

We lined up every year on the first day of school with our friends, our classmates, kids we'd known since kindergarten. While every year the mix of kids in each class varied a little, whatever the combination it would be recognizable. Familiar. The makeup of our elementary school didn't change a whole lot in all the years we were there.

We rode our bikes 'look no hands!' to the swim club on sunny summer days it seemed would never end. Except they do. Of course they do. We grow up and away and our circles expand. We make new friends and yet always always in my heart is a place I hold dear for the kids from Barclay.

Flash forward to the year 2019, last Friday to be precise. I was reading in our family room when hubs came in with the mail. He put a CD sized envelope in my lap and I noticed the return address immediately. It was from a childhood friend. A girl from elementary school I haven't seen in literally decades.

We're friends on Facebook and occasionally have had a message back and forth about something or other, but no real long talks or heart to hearts. I love her artwork and she likes my travel pics. She encouraged me to try to make our high school reunion this past year, but I wasn't able to go.

So I looked at the envelope and wondered what in the world she might be sending me. I kind of assumed she was mailing something from the reunion, maybe a picture or a CD of pictures perhaps, but y'all in a million years I could not have predicted what was tucked inside that envelope.

It was a bracelet. And a few words with big impact on the backside of the card. The bracelet is a pretty strand of chords held together with a delicate silver bead. In the center of the bracelet is a washer style charm with three tiny hearts and a single word stamped in the metal.

My word. Delight.

I was speechless. I'm still a bit lost for words. A true random act of kindness that made my heart sing.

So obviously she reads my blog and let me just say that's the first thing that 'delights'. When someone reads my blog and I didn't know they were someone who reads my blog. But still, how many people know my word and see my word on a sign or a piece of jewelry or wherever and think of me and then act on it.

Because acting on it is really the thing, isn't it?

I mean many of us have good intentions. We want to do something kind or thoughtful or meaningful for someone but we just never get around to actually doing those things.  I don't know what prompted my friend to act but it doesn't really matter. She saw my word. She made the bracelet. She hunted down my address. She bought the off sized envelope. She packaged it. She wrote the note. She mailed. it.

And I'm still not over it y'all.

I hope I never get over it. I hope I remember my delight at the surprise and the thoughtfulness and the intent and the oh so perfect words she wrote on the back of the card and I hope I pay it forward in a way that makes somebody else feel what I felt when I opened the envelope and saw this.

I've been wearing the bracelet and when I look down and see the charm peeking out of my shirt sleeve I feel my heart shift. My perspective change. Now how do you say thank you for that?

So I'm writing it all down here with the hope this sparks someone reading to act. To do that kind, generous, thoughtful thing you've wanted to do, meant to do, but haven't gotten around to doing.

Thank you V! It's honestly the best thing that has happened to me in forever.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Note To Self

A recent prompt in the 31 Day writing challenge was this-

In a letter to your children (or your younger self) write something you wish someone had told you ten years, five years, or even one year ago.  

I've been mulling this over for a few days and here's where I've landed. The things I might wish someone had told me ten years ago? Well, someone probably did tell me. Or tried to tell me, which is the thing about life have to live and learn your own. 

Now that's not to say I don't freely dole out advice to my daughters (HA!), but I know from my own experiences and challenges so much of what is given in the way of helpful advice is only recognized as such after we've walked through some stuff. After we've lost our cool or our hope or faced a challenge of one kind or another. Then we take a minute to sit back and re-evaluate and that's usually when advice or wisdom shared once upon a time, rings in my ears and I can say, 'Now I get it'. 

Not always, but in general I need something to apply your words of wisdom to in order for them to stick and have meaning. 

So there's my caveat, but I'll still share something here today because that's my challenge.

Dear Daughters, 

In as much as is possible be the boss of time. Your time. Be deliberate in how you spend it and also how you view it. Sometimes we think a nap on the couch means we're lazy. Sometimes it's the best thing we can do for our family. Sometimes coffee with a friend feels frivolous when what it really is is relationship building, filling in the cracks that come from too little sleep and too many toddler messes. Reassurance you're not crazy or a bad mother or any of the other little things we wonder about ourselves when we spend too much time not having coffee with a friend. 

Figure out what's important and long lasting and give yourself to that. Prioritize what's eternal over what's temporal. Figuring that out can be hard, especially when the world says one thing and your heart says another. Listen to your heart. The world tells us we should be doing all the things all the time, but often there is more good done in the quiet stillness of an early morning. In prayers whispered and dreams shared. Remind yourself of this when life feels overwhelming.  

Establish the habits of daily prayer and reading God's word. So simple to do but so easy to be distracted from. It's tempting to put a million other things before this one thing, but if you put this one thing first then all the other things fall into place. Not always the way we think they should, but always in a way that reminds us God has a plan for our lives, that He's teaching us in every single circumstance we walk through, that He is for us. 

God is for you. 

I was talking with some friends recently and we all said one of our biggest regrets in life is the amount of time we've wasted on unimportant 'stuff' in our adult lives. We're all now in a season where that's easy to see so you'll have to trust me on this. Time wasted is my biggest regret, and I'm sure all the 'time is precious' platitudes were thrown my way when I was your age too. I didn't always take them to heart like I could have should have, but regret is no place to live so never take up residence there. 

Finally my sweet girls, learn to love the sunrise. No matter how off kilter, out of sync, or discouraged you felt when you went to bed yesterday, the sunrise is a reminder there are brand new mercies every single day.  

Because God is for you. 

Write that on an index card and stick it on your bathroom mirror. 
Your 50-something self will thank me. 


Monday, January 14, 2019

Not Boring. Just Uneventful.

This morning hubs said, 'I thought you were doing some kind of 31 days of writing' thing? Um, yes?
In my defense I have been (mostly) keeping up with the 500 words a day goal, but I don't post all the days on my blog. Some of the words are in my journal, and while I'm pretty much an open book on my blog there are still a few thoughts I keep to myself.

My blog has always been a window into everyday ordinary life, and sometimes everyday ordinary life isn't all that interesting. Not boring exactly, just uneventful. January is typically queen of the ordinary-uneventful.

It's been gray, rainy, and cold here all weekend long so I've made it my goal not to leave the house unless I have to. We sit by the fire and watch the football playoffs and read and nap and before you know it Monday has rolled around. We're busy people and I love the recharge January allows.

Books I'm reading this month are The Extraodinary Life of Sam Hell by Robert Dugoni, A Ladder To The Sky by John Boyne, and Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson. That last one may take more than a month because it's 600 pages of non-fiction and not something I'll breeze through.

Daughter2 is in the house and she's on a whole clean eating-I'm getting married in 102 days-regimen so we're all playing along. I ran into someone the other day who had seen my hubs and said he told her we were all on a diet. Ha! No we're not. Unless not eating junk is called a diet? We've been trying lots of new recipes which I think fall under the heading of whole foods, but honestly there's so much food vocabulary now it's hard to know for sure what anyone is talking about.

I have not completely cut out the sugar-caffeine-dairy-wine-gluten like my daughter has on this 30 day 'detox' (she gets her willpower from her father, her love of baking comes from me), but I have dramatically reduced all of the above. Caffeine is the easiest as I generally only have coffee in the morning. Sugar and dairy are the hardest but I'm aiming for less not none and I can tell already it's been so good for me.

Daughter2 is part of a group in conjunction with the challenge so she gets recipes sent to her at the beginning of every week for the four weeks. We go through them together and pick the ones that sound good and that we can feed the men without them asking 'where's the beef?! We usually do one beef dish each week, but most recipes involve chicken, turkey, or are vegetarian.

Confession- I have never been a fan of ground turkey. I am learning to like it and we've had a couple of recipes that were keepers so I guess you're never too old. Confession-I have tried but I cannot get on the kale bandwagon. That being said, we absolutely loved this Tuscan Bean Soup, which contains no turkey, but does call for kale (we subbed spinach which is so much tastier) and I will definitely make it again. The recipe found here is close to the one we used, but we added a tsp of black pepper, and skipped the Parmesan rind. I'm sure that would have made it even more delicious but was great without too.

This is all riveting stuff isn't it?

The 31 Days of Writing comes with prompts which I've mostly neglected in favor of writing these newsy posts you've been reading, but tomorrow I think I'll tackle one we've been given. Rest assured the prompts have nothing to do with my naps or dinner plans.

Now I'm off to make a big pot of chili for dinner. With ground turkey because there's a wedding happening in 102 days.

Happy Monday!