Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Another birthday at our house

All we really want for our children, is for them to be happy, right? I guess that's why I like celebrating their birthdays so much. It gives me an excuse to indulge them.

I know in the long run they WILL be happier when I don't give in to their every desire, and when I insist on manners and productive use of time, and all of that. But in the short run...they sure seem giddy when I let them do whatever they want for a day!!!

When Eden turned 4 a few days ago...I didn't make her do her chores, I didn't limit (much) her intake of less-than-healthy food, I let her choose how long we stayed at the park and which route we took home, I didn't make her go to bed on time, and we gave her gifts that have been denied when requested all throughout the year.

All of that adds up to a pretty happy kid.

Here's a look at the evening's festivities...

Siblings and friends patiently waiting for their turn to swing at the pinata.

Eden with her loot.

And with some favorite presents...

Cant' forget the cake.

Eden went to bed a delighted little girl. She had been looking forward to this day with MUCH anticipation, and I think (I hope?) it was as good as she expected. I love how easy kids are to please. (they don't even notice or care when most of their presents are from garage sales and Craigslist:)

It does make me happy to see them so happy.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Gift-giving occasions

We had one last week...Tom's birthday. I love birthdays. I think it's great to dote over that one special person...make their favorite meal, decorate the house, do something fun, eat yummy desserts...but the gift-giving part is hard for me. I'm not so good at finding that perfect thing to surprise and thrill the recipient. I don't like to spend money on something unless they truly want and need it. It's pretty easy with kids. They get excited about so many things, and there are lots of options, even affordable ones.

But it is trickier with adults. Poor Tom. Here he is on Father's Day a few months ago, with his extremely classy presents. (the Hawaiian-print pajama shorts didn't make the picture, but they are SUPER classy, too)

He doesn't look genuinely happy about it either:).

So I decided to redeem myself a bit for his birthday. After he unwrapped his token edible gifts--caramel corn, Swiss chocolate--we pretended that was it, and based on past experience, it was easy for him to believe.

But then we revealed his "real" gift. A Shiatsu Massage Cushion.

And he loves it! (what's not to love?) He uses it almost daily. Sometimes before he goes to work I see him uncharacteristically sitting idly on the couch...then I realize he is getting his morning massage--to work out the kinks and get ready for the day. One can never get too much massage, I always say.

Finally a gift I can be proud of. (And one Tom can really smile about:) He deserves it.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Far less than perfect, but still okay

That's my life in a nutshell. I have grand plans...always hopeful that things will turn out somewhat perfectly. But most often, my days, my meals, my timing, my ideas. my hairdos...fall short of my vision. Hmmm, sounds depressing when I write it. But I'm finding that this is really okay. It all turns out just fine in the end. Not perfect, but just fine.

As an example, look at our first day of school this year--I tried to make everything just right. I stayed up late the night before, making some flower clips for Tessa's hair that I promised her. Then it turns out she changed her outfit the next morning and didn't end up wearing the clips. Okay.

I also realized too late that we had no eggs in the house (partly due to the big egg-recall a few weeks ago), which makes it hard to create a very special breakfast. So I found an egg-less pancake recipe, that turned out weird; then I overcooked the syrup so it was grainy, and I burned the turkey bacon. Not the ideal First-Day-of-School morning meal, but everybody still ate it, and didn't even complain that much.

Then I forgot to do the whole camera thing, so we had no shots of the event, while parents all around me in front of the school were snapping pictures of their kids with their friends and neighbors, etc. Oh well.

So it wasn't picture-perfect. But it was just fine! Everyone was relatively happy, with full-stomachs, and backpacks dusted off and ready to go. AND we made it to school on time, even early...which is always an accomplishment for me :).

Far less than perfect, but still okay...

In my attempt to recover from our sub-par first day :), I snuck in a photo shoot a week later of my two sweet elementary-schoolers.

Squinty disappearing eyes, funny faces, goofy smiles, dead grass and weeds in the background...not perfect, but still pretty great.

That's my life.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Getting into the swing of it

We really needed something interesting in our yard, so we purchased this swingset via Craigslist. Since we've lived here, our kids have been good sports, and have been very inventive as they've played in our barren yard. But we finally took pity on them and provided a structure where they can swing and climb and play.

I really shouldn't complain about our all. Having a decent size plot of grass to call ours, is a great and novel thing for our family. But honestly, it is the most boring, desolate plot you've seen. Not a tree, bush, boulder, fence, or a bit of landscaping anywhere. When we left NY we had visions of a cozy backyard and a tree house. Isn't that every kid's dream--a cavern of his own?

Well that didn't happen, at least not yet. I am still anxious to provide a somewhat secluded "fort" of sorts for our kids, in a tree or elsewhere. But not in this temporary house. For now, at least there is something in our yard besides....yard.

P.S. The blue-haired kid is not a stray, odd neighbor; he's ours. Thanks for the BYU Superfan wig, Connie! We love it.