Martie’s Birthday Party

Today is Martha’s birthday, so we celebrated at a luncheon with about 20 of her nearest and dearest.

And instead of getting Martha a corsage, we decided to get her a little nosegay. You know, so she could hold it when she had her picture made.

I think she liked it just a little bit.

And yes, that’s a new pink jacket she’s wearing.

It has a long sleeve. A long sleeve! Not a three-quarter sleeve! A long sleeve!

It’s not a pinky-pink! Or a hot pink! It’s more of a rosebud pink! Sort of like a rosebud!

It really has been such a sweet day. So good to be with family, so heartwarming to see Martha with her friends.

Happy Birthday, Martha – we hope this next year is your happiest yet!

Sometimes The Memories Have Ridges

Over the last eight years of motherhood I’ve developed a pretty extensive mental list of things I want to pass down to our little guy. The list runs the gamut from the serious (love for God, love for people) to the silly (don’t talk during movies, avoid the salad bar at That Certain Restaurant at all costs).

This summer, for example, we’ve been paying extra attention to manners – holding the door open for people, looking someone in the eye and saying “nice to meet you” – and we’ve also been paying extra attention to the various sound effects you can make with a mouth full of Pop Rocks as well as the fine art of enjoying The Andy Griffith Show. It’s important for a child to understand his heritage, you know?

A few days ago I was running some errands, trying to figure out if an impromptu stop at Home Goods was worth it considering that it’s approximately 463 degrees in most parking lots right now. I decided to give it a go, and while I don’t really know what series of mental gymnastics my brain executed at that moment, I do know that as I turned into my parking space I remembered – for the first time in a sweet forever – how much I used to love Ruffles potato chips and French onion dip when I was a kid.

And if you’re wondering what in the sam hill Home Goods has to do with French onion dip, THAT MAKES TWO OF US.

Anyway, I spent a substantial portion of my Home Goods trip thinking about THE BEST SNACK EVER, and it occurred to me that our little guy had never tried the Ruffles / French onion dip combo. I knew way deep down in my dip-clogged heart that I needed to remedy that situation ASAP.

I mean, it’s the Southern appetizer of the 70s, after all. Children need to know these things.

After Home Goods I ran over to the Walmart to pick up some groceries, and BY DIGGITY I made sure to get a bag of original Ruffles as well as a container of Barber’s Party Dip. When I was growing up we bought Borden’s French Onion dip – I can picture the writing on the label just as clear as day – but Barber’s is the brand we have here in Alabama. AND IT IS TASTY.

Later that afternoon I called Alex to the kitchen.

“Buddy,” I said, “this was my FAVORITE snack when I was your age. And I thought you might like it, too.”

I opened the Ruffles, opened the dip, and then I handed him a chip.

“Go ahead!” I urged. “Try it!”

Granted, I was a smidge overenthusiastic, but it was an exciting moment, people.

He took a bite, and his nose crinkled a little. He started shaking his head back and forth, but then he stopped, like he needed to think. I leaned forward just a tiny bit, anticipating what his response would be. He stared off into space for a few seconds, and then he looked my way and said, “Um. It’s okay.”

Okay. Okay. THE RUFFLES AND FRENCH ONION DIP ARE JUST OKAY?

Motherhood can be grueling, y’all.

I could tell that the combo wasn’t his favorite, but he was trying to be a good sport. So I grinned and said, “Do you want to take another bite? Want to try it again?”

The little man’s eyes lit up, and he said, “I know! You get a chip and some dip – and let’s take a bite at the same time. It’ll be a memory!”

So we did.

And do you know what?

It was.

What’s something fun from your childhood that you’ve shared with your young’uns lately?

As An Added Bonus, Maude Would Be Totally At Home Here

So there’s this little room off of our kitchen/breakfast area, and we’ve used it several different ways in the almost five years that we’ve lived here. I’m a little fascinated/obsessed by what the room was used for originally, but we have no idea. I think maybe it was a small den with louvered doors (that have since been removed) so that MAMA COULD HAVE SOME PEACE, but it’s hard to tell. It might have been an office (did houses built in the early 70s have offices?), or maybe it was a morning room.

I have no idea what a morning room is, by the way. I’m just grabbing at straws here.

But as far as how we’ve used the room – well, first it was a playroom for the little man.

Then it was an office for me when my Hoopty Laptop died.

Then it was a slightly redecorated office.

This is riveting, isn’t it?

THE ROOM NEXT TO OUR KITCHEN: A PORTRAIT SERIES.

Anyway.

As I’ve mentioned before, a few months ago D and I decided that the room would be a great place for the eight year-old and his buddies to hang out and watch movies and play the Wii and whathaveyou. That’s why I bought a groovy sofa at an estate sale back in May.

You’ll be happy to know that we did in fact move it off of the driveway. Moved it all the way into our garage, in fact. Where it’s been for, you know, about the last six weeks. -Ish.

Yesterday, however, I finally got around to rearranging/repurposing the room ONCE AGAIN, and I have to say that I think this incarnation is my favorite yet.

But first, a disclaimer: if an, um, ecelectic home environment isn’t your thing, then you may find that these pictures make you long for a quiet corner and soft music and some matching chairs. It’s just that I like a mix of things, and I especially like color. I operate by the theory that if I’m drawn to something, then that something will work in my house. And if the something has a history, then all the better.

So.

This is from the hallway by the kitchen:

And this is from the breakfast room:

And we should probably talk about that gigantor painting above the sofa, shouldn’t we?

Oh, all right.

That painting is one of those things that I saw and immediately loved for no logical reason. I was in my hometown at a flea market where a family friend, Ben, sells some antiques and collectibles and whatnots. The painting was in his booth, so I said, “Ben? Is it wrong that I kind of love that painting? Because I really, really like it.”

And Ben said, “Oh, I totally get it. It’s so bad that it’s fabulous.”

So I bought it for very few American dollars. And when I hung it up yesterday, it made me smile.

And yes, I could have moved all the other stuff on the wall, but that would have been a lot of trouble. Plus, everything on that wall means something to me or to our family, so it’s not going anywhere.

I also thought about having some pillows made in the same fabric as that little window mistreatment, and I still may do that down the road. I’m still not settled on my throw pillow combination – I have some extras in the back of my car right now, just waiting to return to World Market and Target – but I’ll keep working on it. It’s already different than it was when I took pictures this afternoon, mainly BECAUSE I’M INSANE.

I had something bolder pictured in my head, but anything bolder will fight with the fabric on the windows. And I’m really sentimental about the fabric on the windows.

I know. I’m weird. But I totally welcome any pillow-related advice you have to offer.

The best part of the whole process, though, was that I had barely finished moving the furniture when A came inside with our neighbor, B. I put on a movie for them, and they settled in like they’d been hanging out in there forever.

B even moved the ottoman in front of the computer so that she could stretch out across it, and I thought that was perfect – I’d been thinking of moving the ottoman to that spot anyway and letting it work as a little coffee table.

So there you have it. I guess the room is officially a den now. A 1970s den.

And something about that just tickles me to pieces.

As Seen On TV

Today D and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary. Well, I mean, we didn’t really celebrate today because he spent all day at work and I spent all day doing fun things like going to the dentist and also Walmart, but tonight we got a babysitter and went out to my favorite sushi place. The dinner was a very sweet, selfless gesture on my husband’s part since he typically prefers for meat to be 1) cooked and 2) not wrapped in rice, but he survived. In fact, he actually ordered some COOKED scallops and said that they were delicious. So see? It all worked out.

(Okay. I just deleted a super-long tangent about marriage that is probably best suited for another post.)

(In fact, I’m going to paste it into a brand new post at this juncture.)

(Please pardon me while I attempt to GRAB HOLD OF THE BLOGGY REINS.)

(So. I’m back. And now I will continue.)

After dinner we went to get ice cream, and then we ran by Walmart on the way home because I decided that my day wouldn’t be complete unless I could walk through those sah-weet automatic doors ONE MORE TIME before the clock struck midnight. I know it probably seems pretty lame that we would spend part of our anniversary night walking past big ole ROLLBACK signs, but don’t most married couples end up at either Target or Walmart at some point during a date night? Or maybe Lowe’s?

Anyway, I needed some cheese and some hairspray (though please rest assured that I have no intention of using these items together), but on my way to the health and beauty aids section I got sidetracked by a big display that was standing in the center of the aisle. It was one of those deals where I didn’t really notice it at first, but as soon as I got past it I thought, Hold on. Did that say what I think it said?

So I backed up the cart, took a closer look, and OH MY WORD AMERICA HAS IT COME TO THIS?

I mean, seriously? We can’t be bothered to bend over and wash our own feet anymore?

For thirty seconds or so I stood there all indignant and incredulous, but before I could get too comfortable on my high horse, I remembered how the simplest tasks became very difficult when I was 7, 8, 9 months pregnant. And then I thought about how elderly people or people who have certain kinds of injuries or illnesses have to be really careful when they’re in the shower. And then I thought about the built-in pumice stone and how delightful it would be to massage my feet and shower at the same time, and I am here to tell you that I went from outraged consumer to BONA FIDE SUPER FAN in no time at all.

I didn’t buy the Easy Feet, mainly because my husband had just taken me out for a lovely dinner and I hated to say, “HEY, LET’S GET ME SOME OF THESE FAYN-CEE SHOWER SHOES” – but I thought about it. Oh yes I did. And now I’m curious: are you ever tempted to buy the As Seen On TV stuff? Or better yet, have you bought something? Do you have any Ginzu knives in a kitchen drawer? A Chia pet on the windowsill above your sink? A Magic Bullet in the cabinet next to your food processor? Or – heaven forbid – a Shake Weight propped up next to a stack of exercise DVDs?

Just thinking about reading your comments makes me happier than you will ever know. Because FINGERS CROSSED that somebody out there owns a Bump-It and is willing to share her personal Bump-It experience.

Giddy-up, y’all.

Technology Is A Marvelous Thing

I don’t know about y’all, but we are dragging around here in terms of our usual rise and shine routine. We have been waking up later and later over the last few weeks, and this morning, when I threw three pairs of pants in the dryer and figured I’d wear whichever pair got the most dry the quickest (read: being completely dry was in no way a requirement in order for the pants to be worn), I knew that I’d hit a new low in terms of being ready to face the day.

Come quickly, sweet summer. Come quickly.

Earlier this week one of the room moms for A’s class sent an email reminder that our scrapbook pages for his teacher’s end-of-year scrapbook gift were due today. I had a vague recollection of seeing the blank scrapbook page in an envelope in the little man’s bookbag, and I knew that I’d taken it out of the bag and added it to a stack of school-related papers on the kitchen desk. But honestly, my reaction when I first saw that scrapbook page was basically the same as it would’ve been if you put a small motor engine in front of me and then handed me a set of tools.

(That is to say: I’m not exactly sure how to complete the task that’s been set before me, so this is probably an excellent opportunity to MANAGE EXPECTATIONS.)

(After all, let us not forget The Unfortunate Capelet Incident of 2010.)

So Monday afternoon, I found myself sitting in front of my computer, looking at my email, wondering how in the sam hill I was going to put together some sort of end-of-year scrapbooking page without losing my mind.

Because I’m not sure if you’ve picked up on this or not, but CRAFTY THINGS MAKE ME CRAZY.

And please don’t misunderstand: I adore A’s teacher. He has had an absolutely incredible year with her, and we are way beyond grateful. She’s one of those people who was clearly born to work with young kids; she’s patient and encouraging and diligent and thoughtful.

So given all of that, I really wanted to do a good job with the scrapbook page. I thought the room moms’ idea of putting together a scrapbook was a great one – because it’s such a tangible way for Miss S to know how much we love and appreciate her.

But oh. Mama’s skills, they are LIMITED.

Wednesday night I finally decided that I could at least get started by uploading some pictures to Walgreens. I didn’t really know what I was going to do with the pictures, but I figured maybe I could make a “collage” and maybe use some “markers” and some “stickers” and maybe even some “ribbon.” Then I broke out in a cold sweat and decided that THERE HAD TO BE A BETTER WAY, THERE MUST BE.

I was just about to finish my picture order when I saw a little box over to the side that said something to the effect that I could order a collage of my prints for $3.99. And y’all, it was like a lightbulb went off in my head: I COULD ORDER A COLLAGE AND TAPE THAT TO THE SCRAPBOOK PAPER AND GET ALEX TO WRITE A NOTE TO HIS TEACHER AND OH MY WORD THERE WOULD BE NO NEED FOR RIBBON.

THERE WOULD BE NO NEED FOR RIBBON!

(!!!)

So that’s exactly what I did. I ordered a collage. I very carefully taped it to the scrapbook paper (and don’t tell, but even though I tried to get it straight three times, it’s still a little crooked, and clearly I am useless at any activity that requires any sort of precision). Alex wrote a note to his teacher at the top of the page. And I did not in fact have a nervous breakdown.

Score one for technology. In fact, I’ll never be able to thank technology enough for making it possible for me to avoid that sticker aisle at Michael’s.

Hallelujah and amen.

Home Again

Tonight during prayer time Alex started by saying, “Dear Lord, thank you for Sissie’s great life.”

And you know, that just about sums up the last few days. There was some sadness, of course, but more than anything else, there has been so much thankfulness – so much gratitude – for Sissie’s great life.

In keeping with Sissie’s no-nonsense approach to, well, everything, Martha planned a very simple, very sweet funeral. There was visitation for an hour Friday morning, and afterwards there was a graveside service at a nearby cemetery. The visitation – which was at the church where D and I grew up and also got married – was like a trip down memory lane. We saw so many people we’ve known all our lives, and between my uncle’s funeral last October and Sissie’s funeral this past Friday, I have felt such a renewed appreciation for our home church and our hometown. They take care of their people, you know?

After the graveside service Martha turned to my sister-in-law Rose and me and said, “Have you ever seen anything more perfectly beautiful? Was that not perfectly beautiful? It was just perfectly beautiful!” And it really was. It was a wonderful tribute to 101 well-lived years.

We decided to spend the rest of the weekend in Mississippi, and it turned out to be such a fun time with our extended family. We made some good memories – and Sissie would love that.

Thanks for caring, y’all!