Friday, December 18, 2015

TToT104: Assumptions

I am thinking about assumptions tonight and the adage about assuming. I both made an ass of myself and was made an ass by other through assumptions this week, and I think I'll turn those into one big ten part hypogratitude list.

1. Don't assume you know someone's religion based on that person's membership in a group.

2. Don't assume that the prettiest and most delicious cookies were store-bought.

3. Don't assume you understand another person's reaction to difficult news.

4. Don't assume she got that cut the way a group of elementary school kids is insisting she got it.

5. Don't assume recipes touted on Pinterest are necessarily good ones.

6. Don't assume others can understand sarcasm over email.

7. Don't assume a friend can truly understand your meaning over text.

8. Don't assume you really sent that picture to Clark.

And, finally, this website and this article that are at least tangentially related to assumptions.

9. Princess Awesome makes some truly fabulous dresses for little girls. And I just found out of my new friend is the half the brains behind this company.

10. This article that has most certainly got me thinking.

May your days be merry and bright and as assumption-free as possible.

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Friday, December 11, 2015

TToT103: Vermin

This has been a surprisingly good week considering the lice diagnosis.

As you might imagine, I have been laundering, combing, vacuuming at a furious pace.

In hypogratitude, I am thankful that we have the tools at hand to manage this infestation? I'm reaching here.

My house is very clean. I am very tired.

I wrote a post this week that was not a TToT post. It's been a long time.

I found my daughter's missing tooth while vacuuming under her bed.

I'm plugging away at the to-do list and feel somewhat less not-at-ease than I did last week. In spite of the lice.

I rediscovered this charming picture today that fills me with such a funny mixed bag emotions. I don't really miss the baby years; they're not my favorites. But this face, this perfect face.

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Monday, December 7, 2015

To Pull or Not to Pull

My six-year-old daughter has two loose teeth. Very, very loose teeth.

At this time (and let's face it, some weeks before) during my own childhood, my father would be trying to hoodwink me into letting him pull at least one of these out. I'll just wiggle it a little, he'd say, and I'd fall for it over and over.

Until I wised up and wouldn't let him near my mouth. Then the teeth lingered. The permanent ones came in before and behind, and when my parents took me to the orthodontist for the first time, he scolded me for not letting my parents pull my teeth. I let one bicuspid grow in fully, coming up under the baby tooth and wedging it into the gum on the inside of my mouth. When my father finally convinced me to let him have at it, what emerged was only a shell of a tooth with a tiny pinprick hole through it.

So considering the two options, I think letting my father pull away was the better one. I only ever lost one tooth because it fell out on its own. Corn on the cob got it, and it went the way of the corn.

Back to my daughter's teeth. I told my husband it was time for him to pull them. I mean, they're barely hanging on. And mothers don't pull teeth; that's the father's job. But he was horrified.
B: What are you talking about? You don't pull teeth! You wait for teeth to fall out!

S: But what if she swallows it?

B: That doesn't happen to anyone! (nevermind my corn on the cob experience)
Seriously, it's like he thought I was a sadist. So, I thought, I'll wiggle the loosest one a little and see what happens. But the flexibility of it gave me the shivers, and I couldn't bring myself to really handle it with the force needed. So I called my dad. He said, Pull and twist. And have a cloth and a bowl of ice cream handy. But still I couldn't do it.
B: No one pulls teeth! You wait for teeth to fall out! Do not pull out her teeth!

S: But what if her permanent ones grow in before or behind all crooked?

B: That doesn't happen to anyone! (nevermind my childhood pictures) OK, at least wait until I do some research. (my husband researches everything)
I decided I'd get a head start on the research in case he tried to present a skewed view to me later. And for the record, at this point I was chalking his view up to what I consider his pampered, squeamish upbringing. I lump no teeth pulling in with summer camps where you don't have to unpack or make your own bed and pronouncing syrup seer-up.

But to my horror, most websites back him up! Parents don't pull teeth anymore! (Or don't get that advice from the Internet.) What is this soft world coming to? Isn't this a rite of passage--getting your teeth pulled and eating your ice cream? Will I next be told the tooth fairy should pay $5 per tooth?!?!?

So here's my question: Is the pulling of extremely loose teeth really and truly not done any more? Do children no longer swallow teeth that fall out or have permanent teeth come in while the baby teeth are hanging on? And here's a hint: support me because I'm using your responses as evidence.

Full disclosure: I wrote this Friday, and both teeth are now gone. One fell out in my hand Saturday morning and one was gone Sunday morning. Swallowed, don't you think?

Friday, December 4, 2015

TToT102: Not At Ease

I am not at ease this week. I feel gripped by a kind of nervous energy which is far from pleasant. But since this is the TToT, we're looking for silver linings here. And nervous energy can sometimes lead to great productivity, which it happens to have led to this week.

I have:

1. Put up the tree.

2. Made a new tree skirt from an old tablecloth I loved that got a hole in it from some sort of corrosive liquid that probably never should have been in the same area as our dining room table.

3. Finished a major project I've been working on for months. And months. Leo and I concocted the bright idea that it would be fun to make models of sports balls from styrofoam balls. I don't think there's much point in delving into how complicated the process became or how long we kicked those d%#n balls around the office (because they were always rolling around and I kept putting off working on them) or how hard it is to figure out where to paint the black pentagons on the soccer ball (I never got it right, but I did learn the white spaces are hexagons, not also pentagons).

Clap for me. I need it.

4. After cleaning up the second sequin bomb I found on the office floor, I promised I'd clean up the next with the vacuum. I felt a little bad as I did it tonight, but the sound of the vacuum removing all those tiny sequins from my life was incredibly satisfying.

5. I made a new fabric basket with tall sides and put the ziploc bags of sequins in it on a high shelf. I'm hoping the fact that they can't immediately be seen will be enough of a deterrent not to go climbing in search of them.

And finally I'm thankful for Lisa who makes my life better by (in the midst of all her stress) by assuring me that all my bad feelings aren't so bad that she doesn't have them too. And there's comfort in sharing them.

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Friday, November 27, 2015

TToT101: 'Tis the Season for Thanks

At least here in 'Murica.

We had a lovely, relaxing holiday here in MD. No travel, no major prep, just a pleasant, quiet evening with family and friends.

Though I did not choose to brave the crowds (or black eyes) for any amazing deals, Brian had visions of cashback and discount percentages dancing in his head. And now, boy, is my life about the change for the better with my new modern, working appliances!

And then today we jumped straight in to full-on December holiday mode. We got a tree, we put up decorations, and we ate pho (which is not holiday-related but I wanted to mention because it made me think of Dyanne).

I made somewhere between 15 and 20 cups of stock with the turkey carcass my MIL kindly donated and will soon make the fabulous turkey posole (there you go, Lisa) recipe my cousin introduced me to last Thanksgiving. The ingredients are not so easy to come by around here, but I cleverly froze a bunch of poblanos from our garden so there's that.

I've finished almost all my holiday shopping, and I've decided it's time to replace the Christmas tree skirt I bought at Walmart my first year out of college so I'm working on that.

And, even though I've put on about four pounds since earlier this week, the jeans I wore today were still too big and kept falling down

So, how 'bout you? Are you feeling thankful?

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Friday, November 20, 2015

TToT100: What's That?

Ahem...did you see that?

This is my 100th TToT post!!!!

So, on to it...

It's been a lovely week. There've been play dates and lunch dates and art projects and reasonably good meals.

I did vidchat tonight and blew Clark a kiss and said hi to Tucker and someone told me (it gets confusing on vidchat) that I looked pretty.

I caught my little boy singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Sky in his bed today. He hardly ever sings. I've never heard him sing a full song, in fact. I don't know if he's really less interested in music than my daughter (who sings a lot and pretty well) or if he's decided that's her thing and not his. But I managed to sneak outside his bedroom door and make a recording.

And I've been productive. I've made two new throw pillow covers out of scraps and remnants, Leo and I used up all those pompoms, and I ironed a tablecloth and set of napkins that have been piled up in the basement for some time.

The green one was once a skirt.

I'm getting the itch to paint some more rooms. Waiting for the next Sherwin-Williams 40% off sale.

How was your week?

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Sunday, November 15, 2015

TToT99: New (Old) Furniture

I like old furniture. I don't care if it "goes together." I have a theory that I learned from a beloved aunt and uncle. If you love it, if it contains history, and is important to you, it belongs. That's how I decorate. Matching is for those with money and taste. I just want to be surrounded by what I love. And this weekend, thanks to my loving mama, I have four new (old) pieces of furniture to love. So if you will indulge me, a small history of each piece:

The twin beds. My maternal grandmother (whom I resemble, don'cha think?) bought these in fifties for her daughters (my mother and aunt). The beds moved from IA to TX sometime in the 80s, and my sister and I slept in them through most of our childhoods. Now my children get them. The headboards will once again hold everything from board books to chapter books, stuffed animals to china figurines. A little girl and a little boy will hold their treasures close behind those sliding doors and be able to reach books late at night or early in the morning.

The Mom bookcase/desk. The mirror is missing, yes, and it still shows the water stains from the great hurricane that hit Port Arthur in 1915 (back before they had names) that caused my newly married great grandmother and her husband to evacuate to a downtown hotel. I suppose she was called Vera in those days, but in my lifetime (and long before) everyone, young or old, related or not, called her Mom (and that's her in the picture feeding sweet baby me a muffin). When her grandchildren visited they played "judge" with a gavel from the desk. My parents inherited it when my great-grandmother moved into an apartment. Now in my house it will hold games, and (perhaps in my dreams) be a homework spot in future days of more independence. Maybe I'll get a new mirror for it.

The Sarah Ellen hutch. That's my name: Sarah Ellen. But there's another Sarah Ellen on the left. She and her husband (who, incidentally, was married to a different Sarah Ellen before this one) moved to North Texas from Western Tennessee with this hutch (and other belongings) when a doctor told them he thought my great-great-grandfather's health (poor since his time in Rock Island POW camp) would be better in a dryer climate. Their oldest daughter (my great-grandmother) inherited it, and my mother recalls playing game with cousins on the floor before it, both frightened and drawn to the carved lion head between the cabinet doors. A cousin kept it for many years and refinished it beautifully before giving it to my mother a few years ago. And now I own it, as seems appropriate.

All my life I have been told, "You come from a long line of strong women, Sarah." Several years ago, I asked for and was given a pendant with the first and middle names of the strong women from whom I am descended (not enough room to go as far back as Sarah Ellen, sadly): Maria, Mary Rebecca, Lillie Dale, Vera Inez, Dorothy Vera, Ruth Ellene, and Mary Ellen. I wear it around my neck always.

And now I can remember them through the furniture they saved and treasured and hauled across the country. They are around me.

P.S. Dyanne, is this granny chic?

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Saturday, November 7, 2015

TToT98: Hello Again

Here and now, I am recommitting to the TToT.

I have had so many adventures of late. Fun-filled wedding weekend, ultimate relaxation in FL, and a wild and wet trip to TX.

So this week I am thankful for a relatively quiet week at home.

And I am thankful for a magical trip to the park on Wednesday morning when five mothers and three-year-old sons showed up at the same time, overcame our introvertedness, and made friends. The stars aligned for us. Or it was the strange combination of hot weather and fall leaves.

I am thankful I got the leaves raked and made some soup which will provide leftovers for awhile.

I am thankful for a rare and pleasant visit with a cousin.

I am thankful for the patience this group has had with me as I've been in and out during my traveling months. No trips until December!

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Sunday, October 18, 2015

TToT97: Wedding Bells!

I am exhausted, and the clock is ticking, but I'll make it this week!

All ten of my thankfuls are for the smile on my SIL's face at her wedding this weekend. And that my children slept over at the sitter's. It was quite a party.

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Saturday, October 10, 2015

TToT96: The Wonders of this World

It seems I failed to give someone enough credit last week. My new phone is courtesy of my loving husband, who gave me his upgrade and then somehow still managed to get one for himself with his wizardly wooing skills.

The weather. Beautiful fall weather.

Several of you who got an odd text from me last weekend and took the time to help me make a decision. A decision that has yet to be made for sure, but you helped.

Clark's gravity challenge. It is working. Slowly, but working.

Lisa for making me brave. By accident maybe, but just the same.

Our National Building Museum membership is worth it so far. We saw a 3D printer in action this week. Wonderful and horrifying in equal measure.

Kisses from my babies.

A trip next week to the mountains. And a wedding!

These two and this place so close to my house.

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Saturday, October 3, 2015

TToT95: The Shower That's Over

Oh, I am shameful. I skipped last week entirely. Truly, the weekend slipped by before I even thought of it.

And it's all because of the wedding shower. That is now over, thank heavens.

I am most very certainly not the kind of person who wants to head up an entertaining event. Nosirree. But somehow I found myself in that position, at the helm, and trying to mediate a group of strongly opinionated cohosts who were not...cooperative...with each other.

Weddings are hard, no doubt. No beginning without an ending, no joy without grief. I have a lot of sympathy for those whose passions are running high amidst wedding festivities. But seriously, how did you get to your age and without learning better social skills?!?!?!

But it's over. It went off without a hitch, and I think I may have helped host an event that was a reasonable compromise between non-traditional bride and traditional mother of the bride. Maybe. But, anyway, it's over.

I had my mother and sister to laugh with me when things got tense.

I got some subtle and not-so-subtle positive feedback from people who may not have chosen their words as carefully as they might have had they not had a few mimosas.

And it's over.

AND...I have my speaking voice back after a solid two weeks of hoarseness (still have an fun bass singing voice, though).

AND...I have a new phone.

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Sunday, September 20, 2015

TToT94: It's four in the morning...

But I'm not Leonard Cohen (tell me you get this reference).

Instead of writing a song/letter to my brother/killer, I am baking 66 chicken wings. Turns out I should have checked the calendar more carefully before telling the party planner: any dish will be fine; I'll make whatever other people don't sign up for. My day's booked from 9:00 to 7:00 pm today. And other, cleverer people knew to stay away from the dish that requires six hours of baking.

It's hard to believe it's only been a week since my last TToT, but there you go.

I'm thankful for:

1. In no particular order: Ivy, Lizzi, Denise, Kristi, Val, Jen, Clark and Phyllis and Una, Suheiry, Dana, and Holley Perry.

2. Holley Perry gets her own special mention again, but I don't know what her blog is so I can't link her up.

3. Planned slumber parties

4. Impromptu slumber parties

5. My girl had another good week of school.

6. I figured out that her digestion probably slowed down again because she's drinking at least one carton of milk at school a day. This is fixable.

7. My boy has been a great sport this week.

8. We got to play trucks on Friday when I discovered that the sound effect for the seatbelts that go on car transporters when they ride on planes is a very loud zhzhzhzhzhhzh.

9. I might kick just this cold and subsequent laryngitis to the curb.

10. The coffee's nearly ready.

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Friday, September 11, 2015

TToT93: Fears and Worries

Tomorrow I am driving to Ocean City. Do you know who will be there? Are you one of those who will be there?

As I told Ivy, I was "beside myself" with excitement most of this week. But nervousness hit today, and hit hard. I AM GOING TO SPEND THE NIGHT WITH THREE WOMEN I'VE NEVER MET (ok, I've met Kristi once), AND EAT MEALS WITH SEVERAL OTHERS (yes, Clark, not just women).

What if you don't like me after all?!?!?! What if my clothes are all wrong and I say all the wrong things? What if I surprise my bedmate with my sleepwalking and talking habits?!?!?!?

Must distract myself...

I have a tendency to run right to the dire. We got a bit of surprise three days before school started, and I interpreted it as the end of the world. As I do. I mean, it was not good, but I was not feeling very half full about it either.

But, BUT...I forget how much we can do as concerned, well-informed parents. I drafted an email and had it checked by those I trust (I didn't want to burn bridges, but I wanted to sound strong), and it had a powerful impact. Changes were made, Brian and I were in for a meeting this week, and we've got a much more palatable situation in place. We're nervous, but we're willing to try.

And as if to prove how comfortable my girl is feeling in school, she conquered a huge fear this school...without her parents. So, my opinion about that glass is improving.

I'll call that ten.

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Sunday, September 6, 2015

TToT92: My tailbone is sore

I stand corrected. Driving from my home to Chattanooga, TN is not eight hours; it is nine. So, 18 hours of driving, one big party, and one overnight in a hotel later, I am home again. And my tailbone is sore (this is a new effect from long drives for me).

All the experiences mixed in there--times with loved ones, new friends, good food and music and memories, my first taste of kava, silly times with my brother and sister. There's ten in there for sure.

But I'm also thankful that semi didn't run me off the road and into the rocky cliffside after all, and that I had the presence of mind to make a mental note of the number on the back of the truck.

This incongruous statement that keeps running through my head: I'm overjoyed to be sitting here having breakfast with you, but I'd prefer never having met you.

And a beautiful image courtesy of the same person that I'm trying to figure how to immortalize so it doesn't fade away into the long-term folds of my brain with all the other untethered data that will never be recalled.

And this pure silliness.

And, oh heavens, I see Lizzi NEXT WEEK! And many of rest of you too!

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Sunday, August 30, 2015

TToT91: Under the Wire

Why do some months seem to last so much longer than others? Looking back through my August pictures, I feel like August has lasted about two to three months long.

School starts tomorrow, and I'm in a panic over it though trying my best to keep that inside. But our last week was a good one because we it was full of all the stuff we wanted and needed to squeeze in before school started.

Haircuts and splinter removals:

Trips to the National Building Museum ball pit, the beach, and the zoo:

And today I finished my bookshelves!

And now I am eating gazpacho in celebration. Or as someone wrote on Facebook today, as I rage, rage, rage against the end of summer.

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Friday, August 21, 2015

TToT90: Back To It

In all this travel and hosting over the summer, I've accumulated quite the to-do pile. And this week, I started digging in. I paid bills and finished emails, filled out forms and made calls. And aside from one major task that stares me down every time I approach my computer, I can pat myself on the back.

I impromptu hosted an old friend/kind of relative, and I was pleased with how quickly I could do a splash-dash clean-up of the basement and also had a wonderful night talking for hours about ancestors.

I made some decisions that needed to be made.

I made a new hanging address sign. We have a yard light with an arm for a hanging sign that's stood empty for two years. I finally made one. It's a bit boring at this point--white with black numbers. But I figured I might as well hang it while I'm considering how to spiff it up. 

I've started building the book shelves for our bedroom. I've got one shelf sanded, stained, and up with a little help from Home Depot and a neighbor with a chop saw. This project has taken quite a bit more physical labor than I usually put into my daily tasks, and I find my back and shoulders are sore tonight from sanding and schlepping for the last two days. But, books off the floor!

We may very well have taken care of that pesky carbon monoxide problem we found we were having. AND got the warranty to pay for part of it. Now we can re-insulate the attic. 'Cause we like to spend thousands at a time on home repairs.

I've felt a hint of fall in the air for some time. I caught myself in a doubletake as I drove home from Chattanooga a couple weekends ago when I saw a tree with a smattering of crimson leaves. Today, though, that hint started to feel a bit less subtle. Unlike others in this hope, I welcome the change: spring and fall are my favorites.

But none compare to my final one...

Are you ready?

I may (crossed fingers, knocking on wood) be done with diapers!!! ('Cept those nighttime ones.)

It took two whole days of staying home and the purchase of a red potty (at his request) to get that habit engrained, but I've got a boy who goes without prompting and then insists on emptying and rinsing his potty on his own. I'm feeling obsolete. In a good way. But I still get to pass out these (and take a few for myself while I'm at it).

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