Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Create Something With Your Hands

It brings me great happiness to create a finished product, to work with my hands, and to make something complete and useful.  So, it was kind of a joy to put together this swing-set for Flannery for her birthday. My hubby was the real mastermind for getting it to be sturdy and safe (with ground anchors and such) and figuring out the word-less instructions when my brain wouldn't process them.   It was fun to work together to create something for our sweet kiddo.  

When Flannery got home from her Grandparents' and saw it in the backyard, she ran right past me (waiting with my arms open for a welcome home hug), and jumped onto a swing!  I guess that means the swing-set was a hit!   And she and her cousin played and played outside on it for hours last weekend, which was really cute to watch.  They are now pretty much gymnasts--balancing and hanging from every bar or handle they possibly could.




Do you get joy from creating things with your hands, as well?  Or is it just me?


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Small Family Gathering

Suddenly became huge!  Luckily my sweet in-laws volunteered to host Flanna's birthday party at their home, because we never would've been able to fit all these cousins at our place!  We were lucky that so many of our family members were visiting from out of town, and we got to see everyone in one fell swoop at Flannery's party.

It was a really wonderful day.  The kids played and laughed; the adults chatted and caught up with one another; the food was plentiful; and the weather even cooperated.  Flannery decided to wear her Belle dress to the "Princess Party," and I think she felt festive and beautiful (which she was!).

I'm so thankful to my in-laws and to all my family for making the day such fun for her.

Her favorite part of the day, I think, was blowing up the balloons to decorate for the party.  She was so proud of herself for being able to do that all by herself.  My favorite part was when she walked into the kitchen after I'd hung streamers, and gasped in delight!  So sweet!

centerpieces and favors all in one

the princess cake and cupcakes

Flannery and I made the cake, and her Grammie made the cupcakes...yum!

our homemade pinata was not long for the world

the cousins collecting pinata booty

cousins

opening gifts



the five year old beauty




What was your favorite birthday party from when you were a kid?  I used to love sleepovers the best.   Also, my surprise 16th birthday party was great fun.   

Be the Memory Keeper

5 years and 1 day old!
One of my favorite things to do as a kid was to flip through fashion and architecture magazines just looking at photos of beautiful and interesting things.  I found it so relaxing and calming to just take in the visual information, without the words.  Which is strange to me, given that I love reading and writing.

Anyway, I was thinking recently that maybe that's why I love photo albums so much.  My husband teases me that I'm old school because I still print pictures and put them in albums.  But I love that I can flip through them whenever I want to look back on different parts of our life.  I know I could do the same with my iPhoto library on my computer, but there's something calming and soothing about flipping pages sometimes, and I'm much more likely to share photos with Flannery if they're in an album.  Sometimes we even "read" photo albums as her bed-time books.

It really makes me happy to be the memory keeper for our family.  Be it on this blog, or in printed pictures, I love to have a visual record of the beautiful moments in our life.




How do you preserve photos and memories for your family?

Monday, November 28, 2011

My Life in Pictures


I feel so lucky to have such kind and fun (and interesting and intelligent) friends back in Athens.  It warms my heart to think of my dear friends raising such neat kiddos.  I have treasured these photos for days trying to decide which ones to post, and I finally just decided to give in and post them all.   So, here it is, folks:  my life in pictures, Athens style.   



visiting our old garden
visiting our old house, and the neighbor's cat Cornbread seems to remember us

sweet brothers

playdate fun
















How do you keep up with friends who don't live close by?  Do you have regularly scheduled gatherings, or just play it by ear?  

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Road Trip to Athens

Flannery found a giant leaf
Flannery and I took a road trip to Athens yesterday.  We visited with some good friends, stopped by our old house, and walked around downtown shopping a bit.  It was a really lovely trip, and we both enjoyed catching up with some of our old friends.  We're already making plans for our next trip back!  What fun!

at Trappeze, where we stopped for a cheese plate


playing with her snap bracelet (remember those?)

She got a birthday cat from Helix, one of my favorite downtown shops.

See the yellow gingko trees in the background?  So pretty. 


What places still feel like home when you visit?

Monday, November 21, 2011

First Corinthians Name Game


1 Corintians 134 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  8 Love never fails. 

I read a book once that challenged us as married folks to put ourselves to the test, to see if we are being the loving partner we aim to be, by filling in our name for the "love" parts of First Corinthians and seeing if the statements hold true.

I've been thinking about that a lot lately, and it's very humbling.



For instance:

TJ is patient
TJ is kind
TJ does not envy
TJ does not boast
TJ is not proud
TJ does not dishonor others
TJ is not self-seeking
TJ is not easily angered
TJ keeps no record of wrongs
TJ always protects
TJ always trusts
TJ always hopes
TJ always perseveres

You get my drift.  Super-humbling.

Especially when I'm in a state of self-pity because my crock pot broke, and then my husband accidentally backed my car into our fence to the tune of $2000 in repairs, and then his car keeps overheating and suddenly needs a new head-gasket, also to the tune of $2000 in repairs.  "T.J. always hopes?"  Boy, oh, boy, sometimes that's a tall order.

But I like the challenge of trying to live up to First Corinthians in my marriage relationship.   I think this topic deserves more focus, and I need to think on it a bit.



What about you?  What helps you be the partner you want to be?

Reflect

Today was a milestone.  My sweet little girl turned five.
Five years old.  I just can't believe it has come so quickly.  Time has flown, and suddenly I am on the verge of mothering a kindergartener.

 I'm thankful, of course.  I have friends who have lost their daughters, who never got to see this milestone.  And I know that it's a gift.  

It's a real gift to get to watch this amazing and creative little spirit grow and change.  It's a gift to get to guide her into realizing all her wonderful insight and talent and strength.  It's a gift to get to experience the world anew each time she learns something or does something for the first time.    It's a gift to get to watch my husband as such a patient and gentle father, and my parents as grandparents.  

Each day, each year, --it's a gift.  But I still want it to slow down.  Maybe this is why blogging means so much to me.  It's a way to capture these beautiful busy days, to focus on the bigger picture amidst the chaos of appointments and meetings and deadlines and play-dates.  It's a way to reflect.  





How do you find ways to reflect on your life here and there?  Do you think reflecting makes you happier?


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Experience Nature

This weekend, my niece spent the night with us on Friday, and on Saturday, I took the girls to a park near Flannery's school.  They played for hours there--swinging, climbing trees, kicking a ball around, finding bugs.   Then we came back to the house and did some projects on the back deck to get ready for Flannery's birthday.  It was so nice to spend big chunks of time outside--it really calmed my frayed nerves.








On another note, Flannery's birthday present has arrived--her very own swing-set!  It's in a box in our back yard as we speak.  Fingers crossed we can figure out how to put it together!  I'll post pics once it's up!


How did you experience nature this weekend?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Be Dead to Both the Praises and Curses of Men

Today I have to remind myself to, "be dead to both the praises and curses of men."  To "respond with a blessing."  To "turn the other cheek."  I have to remember that "There is only love."  That I am more than what others think of me.  That my reward will not be my reputation, will not be my amazing influence on this earth, will not be praises in the here and now.  That I am not to live my life for approval or respect or gold stars.  But that I am to, "Do my best, and be done with it."  That I am to "live my priorities."  That I am to "be authentic."  I also need to remember to be "slow to speak." 

Do you ever have those days where it takes every catch phrase, every happiness commandment, every cheesy verse you can recall, to help you through? 

That's me, today. 

I'm sure I'll be fine tomorrow.  Perhaps I just need some time spent in nature.  Or some dark chocolate.  Or more sleep.  Or a maid.  Or a vacation.

I'm thinking all of the above sound good. 



What cheesy phrase do you call to mind when you need a pick-me-up?  My dad always says, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade."  My mom always used to tell me, "Just do your best, that's all you can do."  And my sister used to remind me to, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God."  Those all really do seem to help when I'm feeling out of sorts. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

20ish Days of Gratitude

Today, I'm thankful for my husband.

Who makes me laugh.  Who is a true partner in life.  Who dreams big dreams and then makes them happen.  Who finds new music and makes me listen to it.  (OK, I admit I usually enjoy it.)  Who gives me neck massages and listens to me gripe when I'm stressed out.  Who teaches the dogs cool tricks.  Who teaches Flanna to teach the dogs cool tricks.   Who makes excellent tofu.  Who walks or bikes everywhere and inspires me to be healthier.  Who just gets cuter with age (no fair!).  Who has known me from nerdy teenage years to nerdier college years to even higher levels of nerd-dom in grad school and SLP life, and still manages to think I'm pretty.  Who prays before each meal.  Who takes care of me when I am sick.  Who listens to the Indigo Girls and Joni Mitchell without complaint on long car trips.  Who kisses me every time he says good-bye.  Who balances out my anxious nerves with his calm demeanor.  Who is a gentle and supportive father to our little girl.

Seriously, I have a lot to be thankful for.



Who has known you and loved you through many stages of life? 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

80 Years Young!

Robi's grandmother "Mema" turned 80 last month, and we celebrated her birthday together today.  We all came to her house a little early to help get some little projects done for her.  We put pinestraw out in her flower beds, planted some pansies for  her, and my brother-in-law fixed a wind-chime for her.  It was a nice relaxing evening all together with the family and a few of her neighbors.  Flannery has so much fun with Mema, and I'm so thankful that they've developed such a sweet bond.

I hope one day when I'm 80, I'll be as full of life and joy, and as loved by my family and friends, as Mema is.


they are so cute together

with her daughters



with her grandchildren




How can you make the day special for someone in your life soon?