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What Makes a Handful?

"You sure have your hands full!" said the older woman in Target, watching me try to corral four independent-thinking and adventur...

Friday, June 27, 2008

Summer's Here

Doesn't it just make you want to say, "You look MAH-VELOUS, Dahling!"?

And she does. This is Miriam, enjoying a day at the pool at MeeMaw's new condo. It was excessively hot that day. We're thankful that summer has reined itself back in a bit as far as temperature is concerned.

Summer for us this year is rather old-fashioned. We're focusing on time at home together, swinging in the backyard, swimming whenever we possibly can, and celebrating birthdays in a much more normal way than we've often done in the past. Just a little cake. Maybe some ice cream. A slumber party or small gathering. A trip to the park. And so on. Three birthdays down and one to go. (Watch for new images in a week or so.)

The rest of the time we prayerfully try to coax some signs of life from our desperate little garden spots. Yesterday Emma and I got 11 blueberries, 1 cherry tomato, and 3 green onions. It was quite a haul for us! The heat and cabbage moths devoured Miriam's little cabbage patch. ("Look, Mom! Mine is all eat up!" she said.) So we plugged it with three extra cucumber plants and a watermelon vine. Maybe that'll work.

This is about the only type of car we can afford to drive these days, so we won't be planning any long vacations this year: gas is too high, income is too low, and there just aren't enough work days in the year under those circumstances to let us take off a string of them in a row. So instead we're trying to see the forest despite the trees. After all, we live in one of the most sought-after vacation spots in the U.S. It's time to rest at home and enjoy the opportunities and beauty around us at a slower pace than the other 9 months of the year.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Celebrating Jill's First Birthday

Jill Turns 1

Here are some images from Jill’s first birthday. She didn’t seem to know quite what was going on, but she enjoyed dancing in her chair while we sang “Happy Birthday to You,” and once she got over her timidity, she had no problem diving into her own little cake.

Miriam was in a hurry to get to the main cake, so she took over.

Jill began to get serious about this cake and ice cream thing.

The natural next step.

Ahh, bed at last.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The American Girls Trip

May 18-19, 2008

It's all about American Girl at our house these days. I personally am thoroughly enjoying doing all this "girl stuff" with our four little women. And Emma's learning far more detailed history than I can recall learning as a child through her own explorations that the American Girl books have helped launch her into, so I'm glad for that.

As a special reward for Jane (who stopped sucking her thumb recently, just before she turned 7) and for Emma (who kept a good school attitude, even about math, for over a month) and in celebration of this season of birthdays, Bill arranged to take us all to Alpharetta, GA (a northern suburb of Atlanta) to visit the American Girl Boutique and Bistro there.

We stayed at the Residence Inn by Marriott which was just across the parking lot from the North Point Mall where the American Girl store is located. The hotel had a special American Girl package available that included American Girl cabana-striped bedding (lots of PINK, of course), a plush flip-chair bed for one doll complete with pillow and satin blanket (ours to keep--it became Miriam's), an Atlanta t-shirt for the doll, a copy of American Girl magazine, a bottle of American Girl anti-bacterial soap, chocolate chip cookies and milk in the hotel room for girls and dolls (big cookies for girls, mini-cookies for dolls), and a $30 gift card to the store. Quite a nice package.

The store is really more like a museum than a typical retail outlet. Each doll has her own glass case in which she is displayed with all the furnishings and accessories for her time period. Around the corner is a beauty salon where Jess and Nicki both got much needed new coiffures.

Miriam has been wanting a Bitty Baby for some time, so Emma and Jane each pitched in a little of their own money to add to the gift card we received, and we got her one as an early birthday present. Miriam named her Bitty Baby Nicki (pronounced Nih-eee), then Molly, then Miss Rebecca, then Lilly. We're not sure which one will stick, but this baby is well-loved and went with her everywhere for the first week back.

The Bistro boasts quite a bit more elegant (and ample) menu than we had expected. Each girl got to choose an appetizer, main course, and side item, with several exotic options, such as Thai and Italian, to choose from. We probably all could have eaten plenty from a single plate. We took home enough to have a complete dinner in the car on the trip back to Asheville.

It was a whirlwind trip for us, but a memorable one. Emma called it her "best day ever," and I'm sure it was. At least until the next big event comes along.