Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Mail Winners

Happy mail web 

Thanks to everyone who played along and satisfied my neediness for comments.  A few people chose to "delurk" via email, and I'm so glad to know who's here, as well as reconnect with one old friend. I'm still curious who's visiting from Tucson, Boston, Kennett or any of the other towns showing up frequently. We'll just have to enjoy a bit of mystery until the next give-away;-)

Someone asked what exactly Happy Mail is, which I had thought was a universal term for anything that shows up in your mailbox that isn't a bill or catalog. Someone else told me it can only be considered Happy Mail if you weren't expecting it. Rules shmules. Plus, you don't know when to expect it exactly, especially if it is being mailed by a woman with 2 little boys in tow!

Yummy mail web Yesterday I received a box of quintessential happy mail ---it contained something yummy, something good to read, and something homemade. So that's my new definition of Happy Mail.


First I want to apologize for making the contest so hard for y'all;-)

Only 3 people out of 12 got any wrong.

I should have just posted one photo and let you guess who it is...a little less obvious.

Boo web 

Even Bri and I have to think sometimes, since all three boys have worn the same outfits.

Kevin posted first---way to go, Little Bro!  Package going out next week.

And Aidan picked comment #8 (consistently his favorite number) for the random winner: Amy! I'll surprise you some day next week.

Thanks again, everyone!

Monday, October 27, 2008

10 Things

10 things I've been enjoying:

 D ghost web

1. Boo'ing friends!  That link to Heather Anne Designs explains it all and has a printable sheet to save time too. Aidan loves knocking on the door after we drop the bag of goodies, and then running for the car. Of course, at the second house he ran the wrong way, so we were spotted from a front window but we were still laughing hilariously in the car;-)  Good times.

2. These cloth ghost additions to our Halloween tree. I first saw them at Green Jello, and Anne pointed to the directions here. Super easy (we opted for disposable gloves when using the glue), and we all drew a different face on our ghosts.

A ghost web

3. Old Casper the Friendly Ghost cartoons, via YouTube, and listening to Aidan and Sean totally crack up watching it.

4. The guesses on the Who's Who contest and the random comments. I'm a sucker for comments, which is why I normally have them off. Even if you are here for the first time, or an occasional visitor, please stop here and say hi, where you're from, and how you got here. It will make my day:-) Oh, and you might win something.

Photobooth GJ web

5. Old-fashioned photo booth photos.


6. Pumpkin candles, pumpkin muffins, and pumpkin-everything. I normally pretend Starbucks doesn't exist because I don't drink coffee and there are enough mom&pop operations in our town to support with my rare cup of chai. But this time of year, I can't go to the grocery store (where our Starbucks set up shop) without getting a Pumpkin Spiced Chai . Oh my. So good. Try it.

7. A new rust-orange cardigan that I may just wear every day this fall.

8. Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler. You probably read in the 1980s when everyone else did, or after she won the Pultizer Prize for it in 1989. Tyler's Accidental Tourtist is one of my favorites, but I hated Saint Maybe and avoided her after that. All for the best, since Maggie might have annoyed me too much when I was younger. Has the best "meet cute" (more like meet hilarously) ever. I found it for $1 and read it in 2 days (thanks to a long car ride).

Bedtime story web

9. A husband who is such a great dad to our boys. Love peeking in and catching this kind of moment (which makes Bri roll his eyes at me, but that doesn't stop me).

10. Big brothers tortured by the affection of their younger brothers.

Daily kisses web 

Hope you are enjoying these lovely days of fall.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Blogiversary --Contest & Giveaway


Okay, so it was a week ago.

But I still want to have a little contest and say thanks to friends, family, and passersby that read this.

I have gained so much from this little blog---motivation to take more photos; perspective and greater awareness; a stronger sense of connection with faraway family and friends; and new friends who inspire me with their stories of raising a family and carving out a life of their own.

Sunflower season web

I have to admit it has also helped my memory. I used to have what Angie called a "steel-trap" memory, but somewhere along the way it reached maximum capacity and I had to start deleting files. I know I will treasure the bits I captured here even more so when these days are long gone.

Still, I think it will serve my family and me best for it to have been an experiment that ends next April, shortly after Nolan's 1st birthday. I hope to continue the habit of recording the bits of our days that I cherish most, of taking photos of the mundane moments as well as the events, of taking time to find a more grateful perspective. But I hope to do all that a little less publicly.

Fall table web

Not because I don't enjoy the public nature of it. My motivation to post often increases after seeing unfamiliar towns listed on that feedjit sidebar or the number of feed subscribers go up. It gets complicated though when I realize the majority of what I want to capture here isn't my own story, but my children's.

Sometimes I'm anxious about google searches that bring people here, though usually they are just other moms like me, looking for a  meatloaf recipe or toy suggestions. Sometimes they crack me up, like whoever was sadly searching for "crockpot recipes for dope" or the dozens of parents who google whether paintballs are poisonous (and for those landing on this post now from such a search, they aren't...but call poison control anyway). The number one search request leading people here lately is Ben-10, which must be very disappointing for those fans...

Contest Time

 People are always telling me how much my sons lookalike, unless they're telling me how completely different each one looks. Can you guess who is who in these six photos? They are all about the same age in each set. No fair cheating by looking at old photos (or at other people's guesses). Try going with your gut. Maybe it is totally obvious, maybe it is impossible---I'm too close to tell.

Guess who contest web

If you want to play the contest, post a comment below with all six letters and the name of which boy you think each is: Aidan, Sean, or Nolan.

If you don't want to play, still leave a comment. Two Happy Mail packages will go out, one to the winner of the Guessing Game (whomever guesses the most correctly the soonest) and another to a random comment. Yes, I'm curious to know who's out there, where you're from, and how you found this site if I don't know you personally.

Contest ends next Wednesday--winners announced on Thursday, October 30th

Either way, thank you for stopping here and keeping me posting!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Random Bits

Lil pumpkin web 

*The boys and their dad decorated the outside of the house for Halloween already. Tiny pumpkin lights are hanging from the roof of the porch,  and black tinsel garland is wrapped around the tree trunks; not exactly the look I was going for when I placed several pumpkins on our steps last week (which now adorn silly plastic face pieces). But it's a beautiful scene all the same time because the boys LOVE it, and love that their dad did it with them. So do I.

*I was going to post a photo of our Halloween tree when I realized I did last year...which also made me realize that, as of tomorrow, this blog will be a year old. Check back for a little contest and give away on the next post ---probably not tomorrow...but definitely this week!

Sean web

*Happiness: it's all about your perspective (or delusions, perhaps). Sean always wants to wear his Buzz Lightyear chonies, but yesterday only the lowly Thomas the Train undies were available. He put them on with a smile anyway and said, "Look, Mom, Buzz is riding a train today!"

* Michael Pollen is my hero. Wish he were asking some of the questions at tonight's debate!

*Two of my favorite posts from other blogs: Blue Yonder's Take Your Time and Brene Brown's Make Mistakes. I say "Hurry Hurry Hurry" every morning as we try to get in the car. And I say it all day long to myself, because I never feel like I do anything fast enough. Brown's whole series on parenting is so good, I bought the CD. Her insights reach well beyond parenting, but I especially love her insight that "we cannot give our children what we don't have."  So I'm trying to make "take your time" my new mantra and hope it spills over into my parenting as well. Here's the discovery this week---I have more time when I rush less.

Aidan at breakfast 

*Ali Edwards presented a project called A Week in the Life, and all of the ideas/suggestions are available online. I don't know when I'll get my photos off the computer and into an album, but I am grateful for the inspiration to take more photos of everyday-moments. Above is one of my favorites---Aidan waiting for his breakfast, all wrapped up in his yellow lovey, like he is every morning. The challenge was also a great way to implement some of the lessons from the photography class where I am way behind ("take your time").

*Much thanks to my friend Amy who is bring Sean home from preschool as I type this...which is allowing Nolan to finish his morning nap and for me to post!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Seven Months

At seven months, Nolan...


* weighs 20 lbs and measures 28 1/2 inches long. Wearing size 12 months. It finally turned cool here, and I unpacked all these cosy pjs with feet only to find most of them were already too small. Oy.

*has a little oatmeal made with pear juice for breakfast, some apples for lunch and green beans or sweet potatoes for dinner, most days. We're going to brave the first finger foods this week, but I am anxious about the possibility of choking. Maybe just some mashed potatoes? This is my third child, and yet I have no memory of when it is safe to give a baby some Cheerios...

*holds his own sippy cup. We fill it with a little water and he loves to shake it and listen to the water but he still mostly just chews on it. The only one I could find that was BPA-free at Target also happened to be pink. So he is styling with a pink sippy:-)

Tough enough 4 pink

*goes to bed a little after 6 pm or a little after 8 pm depending on whether he took an evening nap...which usually depends on how many times that day he had to be woken up from a nap. Poor guy. He wakes at midnight to nurse, and some nights he nurses again around 3am before starting the day between 6 am and 7 am.

(one more month of these night feedings and then we're gonna get tough. Of course, he's heard that before...)


this is how Nolan looks when woken up from a deep sleep to go pick up or drive his big brothers somewhere. Sadly, this is the expression others see a lot.

After nap web

this is how Nolan looks when he gets to wake up on his own.

*has more hair, the majority of which likes to stand straight up. So cute:-)

*adores his big brothers. Sean sings the ABCs to keep him happy while I try to trim his nails. Aidan plays peek-a-boo from behind the couch and makes him laugh so hard he falls over. He's a lucky guy.

Look ma no hands web

* is incredibly easy-going and happy. We went out to dinner unexpectedly last night and he sat in a high chair and played and watched all the excitement. Same thing at mass this morning--just content to people-watch.

*has the most kissable toes ever created.

Beautiful toes web

*loves to give kisses, even though he hasn't quite learned how to pucker yet.

Nol's kissy face web

*has a third tooth, also on the bottom, and is drooling and chewing like the top two will show up tomorrow.

*is preparing for his role as Yoda at the end of the month (Aidan is dictating everyone's costume this year)

Yoda web 

*has us all pretty much wrapped around his finger :-)

Wrapped web

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The enemy of the good

I used to think that the enemy of the great was the good---that you might miss out on the great job because you had a good one you weren't willing to let go. That people settled too often in too many areas of life because things were good, could be better, but good, so why do anything about it?

There is still an element of truth there, when it comes to risk-taking, but the greater truth I'm learning is that the enemy of the good is the illusion of perfect.


We made strawberry freezer jam last week.

Strawberry jam making 

It was not perfect. Prime strawberry season was over two months ago. Our own strawberries this year were sweet but small because we need to thin the patch (not that any berry would ever make it inside with these berry-loving boys).

I started reading about pectin jam vs. pectin free jam online, and the "right" way to make jam versus the wrong way, and suddenly the fun, easy job seemed overwhelming. Too often I psyche myself out of trying something because it won't turn out perfect.

So for once, I did a very smart thing. I turned the computer off. And we made jam.

Jamberry boy cropped 

12 little jars of jam. They aren't perfect.


But they are very, very good.

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