Maybe I still have too many hormones post-pregnancy. Maybe I need more sleep. Or maybe I'm just getting a little sappy as I age (I just turned THIRTY, people! It doesn't seem possible). But when another box arrived on my porch yesterday and I opened it to find these christmas presents from my Nana and Grandpa, I suddenly felt warm-fuzzy. Can you believe all four of my grandparents are living (and, actually, one great-grandparent)? They're getting up in their years, but they are all still very "with it." And something about opening a box full of lovingly wrapped and labeled gifts for the girls brought me back a couple of decades. Don't you just love how "grandparent-y" my Nana's writing is? I was instantly aware how lucky I am to still have my grandparents. For the most part, I grew up living long distance from all of them. But there were two lucky years I enjoyed my Grandma and Grandpa Hernandez while living in California during grade school, and I spent my college years living down the street from Nana and Grandpa in Nashville during college and for a few years after. I have fond memories of doing laundry at Nana's house after classes, passing the time eating her banana pudding and chatting about everything under the sun with her at the kitchen table. Grandpa was usually busy fixing my car for the hundredth time. Or watching public television.
This year I bought or made token gifts for all of them. I'd been wanting to try one of the gazillion tutorials for tissue covers I've seen in blogland, and I was surprised at how simple the process was. I came up with this blue one for my Nana with the few scraps of time I could squeeze out of last night before A.'s midnight feeding:
I actually modified a couple of tutorials to come up with this Easy Peasy version, and if I have time I'll take pictures of the process next time. It really was crazy-simple. The fabric samples I bought on sale at JoAnns were the perfect quality, color, and weight for this little project.
Would write more but I have a strong, fiesty brunette strapped to me and I'd better quit before she gets dangerous.
I'm not a homeschooling parent myself but I saw this promotion mentioned at Praiseworthy Things blog and wanted to pass along the message. Homeschooler or not, every parent is a teacher and I think homeschooling magazines, books, and blogs are wonderful resources to figure out how to extend the lessons at home. This particular homeschooling resource is from a Christian perspective.
PS. Check out Praiseworthy's exhaustive links list, organized by category - what a great way to find some new favorite reads!
We are still swimming and sorting through 8800 pounds of stuff that we managed to collect and carry across the country to our new home. Eighty-eight hundred pounds. Of Army gear, baby gear, toddler toys, clothes, fabric, antiques, books, and impulse purchases...piled onto a mounting To Do list including arrange furniture, paint, trim trees, stain the deck, start a lawn...and yet my first trip to the store was for our flag. I'd been looking forward to putting one up on our house all summer long.
There was a time when I thought some people were too sensitive about our flag. Don't get me wrong; I never thought it was okay to burn or otherwise totally disrespect the flag, but short of that I considered any further fuss about the American flag just that - fuss.
And then I grew up a little, and married a soldier, there was 9/11, and I sent my husband to war. And I understood. That the fuss about the flag - how to display it, how to fold it, how to take care of it - wasn't so much about the flag as it was about honoring everything and everyone it stood for.
The weekend before we left Washington was Memorial Day weekend. I was feeling sad about our move out of the military. And when I walked into our (rather large) church auditorium, we were greeted by two huge American flags flanking either side of the stage. It actually took my breath away and I teared up at the sight of them. I was completely awed by them the entire service.
Never again will I be so apathetic about such a symbol. I feel extremely proud and lucky to have been born in this country. And I think it's okay to be proud. Not arrogant, or cavalier. But grateful, humbled, and appreciative of everything we enjoy as Americans. I'm grateful for my freedom. And I'm especially grateful to those who volunteer to protect it. To protect us.
For those of you who lost a friend or family member six years ago or in the ensuing battle in Afghanistan since, I'm truly sorry for your loss. My family is thinking of you today.
We're in our home and I'm back online! We are still swimming in boxes but we are finally in the homestretch of making this transition. I swear this move is like pregnancy; I really could divide it into "trimesters." I'll update you with house pics & all the etcetera soon. (The above pic has nothing to do with this post, except that I haven't posted the obligatory family pics in a while.)
Today is mine and J.'s anniversary. Six years. We woke up this morning, wished each other "happy anniversary," and got started unpacking. When I asked if he'd bought me a card (just checking, since I hadn't), J. shook his head. "Good," I said. "Save the $3.50. I'd rather have Taco Bell."
It's funny how practical romance gets after a while. But there's a certain comfort and familiarity and safety that we get from our marriage. I knew J. would want to watch the UT game tonight, and so I planned our day around that - my own version of an anniversary gift. And look what J. brought home from work for me this weekend, aware that all the chaos would drive me to label, and knowing my labelmaker was packed away somewhere:
It's these little gestures that make a person feel loved. But the most important thing about this anniversary? That I got to wake up with my husband.
**eta: thank you for all of the book recommendations! I've written them all down. I also recently found out that our library will purchase books upon request - yay! Supposedly, there is no limit, but they might change their mind once I get started with my list o' books...
Our house is under construction, so it is going to be another month and a half before we are even close to being settled. Cooking in a tiny apartment kitchen, using others' furniture, not having any room to get away from each other or to sew anything...and no money to go shopping (increased taxes and healthcare costs have taken a big toll on our finances)...I feel like a caged animal.
Its very difficult to blog this way - in spurts, in a library, with an antsy two-year-old climbing the little computer station (in fact, this took two days to finish because of a tantrum). For me, blogging is a creative process, and one that needs to be somewhat spontaneous and yet polished. Without pictures to help express myself, without the ability to just "pull up" to my computer when the mood strikes, and with lots of people milling about while I try to put my thoughts together, it's just a blog buzz-kill.
But I'm thinking about you all, wishing I had the time and ability to roam your blogs and be inspired. I wonder what you all are up to, how your summer is going, etc, etc.
Since I am outnumbered by my daughter and husband, who both apparently love NASCAR, I have been doing a lot of reading. So far:
I'm now limited to books I can find at the library, so the newest ones aren't usually available. But there are still many here that I haven't read (I'm considering Bel Canto by Ann Patchett). Any suggestions for a next read?
I am a big fan of lists, and I don't have much time, so here goes:
Anyway, this town is (to me, anyway) a small one. So it's a little bit different kind of South than Nashville, Tennessee. There are both pros and cons to that. I'm still adjusting. I think it's going to take a while...
Until next time...
You just don't know how important the letter "t" is to language until you have to use a library computer with a sticky keyboard that requires literal pounding to eek out the "t". So I hope you can all appreciate how much work (and muscle) is going into this brief post.
Anyway, we're here (in NC, that is). I don't have a computer, and probably won't for over a month. I'm able to use the library's internet, but I won't be able to post any new pics. And posts without pics aren't much fun. A total bummer, because I have so much to say and show you! There is a slim possibility that J.'s new work laptop will have wireless access, so check back! The best way to know when I am able to blog more steadily again will be to plug www.mylongestyear.com into your favorite feedburner (I use Bloglines.com).
It was definitely sad to leave Washington - and particularly sad to leave our neighbors, Scottie and Sarah. Our good friends Lacey and Geoff from our first duty station happened to arrive in Washington just two weeks before we left, so they have moved into our former house. I introduced Lacey to Sarah and charged them with taking care of each other in my absence. In particular, I was concerned that Sarah have a "tea and coffee" friend (we popped over to each other's house to vent or rant over a cup of coffee quite frequently). I made it official by gifting them these matching coffee mugs from Starbucks. They've got a Wafflehouse diner-quality about them that I love (the mugs, not Lacey and Sarah).
Until next time...!
A while ago I was marveling at how much joy my little E. is. She really is an amazing kid. And I find myself so full of love for her I wondered how I could love another as much. You all wrote to say that somehow your heart just grows, and the love multiplies. We will be finding out for ourselves sometime in November, as J. and I are expecting Amazing Kid #2.
The timing would be better if we were more settled, for sure. I guess we just figured with all the change in our life, why not just add one more to the pile? I reached the height of my nausea and anemia while J. was marathon-interviewing for jobs. Hence, the cluttered house and depression. And while my recent posts regarding my thoughts on politics, the military life, etc, are truly genuine, pregnancy probably does account for it moving me to tears every time I write about it.
I've been labeling, organizing, and purging to deal with all the change and prepare for the move. But I still can't help myself when I find small vintage and handmade treasures, like the bibs pictured above that were handmade by a group of seniors at a small consignment shop downtown, or this vintage child's teacup I found at a going-out-of-business sale:
And just as we shed layers of stuff in the garage, I found myself filling it back up again, most recently with an antique chest (on major sale), antique dresser (also on major sale), and this jenny lind changing table I found at Goodwill for $15. These are all going to be my summer projects - so watch for them to pop back up on the blog.
I've recently started to feel the baby kick (even as I write this). It makes me smile. I'm starting to understand what you mean about loving the next as much as the first...
p.s. Speaking of things that make me smile, I still remember packing away E.'s baby gear in boxes, and looking up on the garage shelf to see my husband's sweet handwriting on the boxes:
Tomorrow I leave E. for five days while I am in North Carolina looking for a house. Our first. I really can't wait to finally be somewhere long enough to own a home. And I can't wait to make it mine - my choice of paint, my choice to put holes in the wall, (and they'll now be my bills for broken appliances, I know).
Anyway, I want any and all advice or suggestions you have when buying a home...from the agent, to the negotiations, to the house itself. Anything you're glad you did, wish you had done? I'm incredibly picky and try very much to be prudent. I've read and researched, but I'm sure I'll wish I had done something a little differently (like maybe not try to find a house in three days?).
Speaking of decorating one's own home, I love this show - Room Service on the Fine Living channel. Anyone else a fan? I love her style, and I love the format of the show itself - always a few minutes spent with an expert on some textile, art, or raw material used in the home. Then an easy, elegant project idea from Sarah (the show's designer). And in the end - one beautiful room (pic above is from the "cloud nine" episode)!