Almost August

The boy is back to school.  It’s hard to believe he’s in 5th grade.

There are a few lingering signs of birthday chaos in our house.

There’s a cooler standing on end in front of the china hutch.  It took me three days to empty out the drinks and pour away the water from all that melted ice.

There are extra party favors – bubbles and beach balls – sitting useless in a bag on the table.  What does one do with leftover beach balls?  You can only have so many of them inflated in your house or yard before they just seem annoying.

And then there’s this:

Every year, it seems we still have a couple of mylar balloons floating up there when August rolls in.  I think it might even be a family tradition now.

July is kind of a messy month for us.  Not only does it include all three of our birthdays and the beginning of the school year, it is also the time when we usually travel, our cats get ill, and I feel oddly compelled to start projects in the house.

The intersection of all these things, piled together with other family birthdays, hot weather, and the usual stresses of a raising a challenging child…well, it’s kind of a disaster for our little family unit.

When August finally does arrive, I always wonder where the summer went and how it managed to take my money, my patience, my energy and my grand ideas right along with it.

Our vacation is over and I don’t remember if we actually enjoyed it.  The cats are back in their corners and seem like they always did, but there’s different food and expensive medicine in the fridge now.

The doors in the front room are blissfully black and the walls around them have returned to white, but the carpet is still terminally dirty and I don’t know what to do about that.

Where is the DIY spirit I had a few weeks ago?  And more importantly, how do I get it back?

I don’t want to be a July warrior, cleaning and doing and making and working only in anticipation of my son’s birthday party every year.

I want to paint and plan and remember that I am capable of whatever I set my mind to.  But how?

I think I need more company…

Jenifer?

Happy Monday!

♥♥

Painted Doors & A Birthday Party

About a week ago, I was very inspired to paint the inside of my front door.

I was thinking purple.  Or apple green.  I bought a quart of each.

I was all prepared to paint – supplies gathered and commitment made – purple for the front door and green for the coat closet.

And then one of my Facebook friends posted a picture of a black door…a beautiful, giant black door.

Black!

I think I actually gasped.

Sorry purple.

Sorry green.

It was fun while it lasted, but I’m in love with black.

Here is the coat closet door and the teeny piece of wall at the foot of the stairs.

Those are hand-cut paper designs in the frames.  I’ve had them in a big envelope for years.  It’s great to finally hang them on the wall.

I found the giant “R” on clearance for $0.49 at Burlington Coat Factory.  It was white when I bought it.  🙂

Here is the coat closet door next to the front door.   I think the smaller one looks like a hobbit door or something, next to its big brother.

That’s my grandfather’s cigar table in the corner.  It’s my favorite piece of furniture.  It was in my dad’s office while I was growing up and I just loved it.

I was constantly opening and closing the little door to hide tiny treasures or notes and I love that my son now does the same thing.  I feel certain that my dad, and his dad before him, would both be pleased to know that this humble little piece is amusing yet another generation.

And speaking of amusing another generation…

here is the boy on the morning of his birthday party this past weekend:

Husband inflated six or seven beach balls to give to the guests.  That seemed grand to the boy.  He took them all into the jumpy before anyone arrived.

Hey Thomas, do you want to eat your cake now?

Okay, I’m tired.  Exhausted, really.

I have pictures of his new yellow room to show you sometime this week, but not right now.

I need to get a big iced tea and put my feet up.

Happy Monday!

P.S.  What’s happening at your house?

♥♥

Nuts and Bolts and Cheese

We got him a bunch of nuts and bolts for his birthday.  Sounds strange, unless you know that his favorite destination is a home improvement store.

Last night as he was falling asleep, we talked about going on another Sunday hike.  When he said “noooo hike,” I ran through a list of other possibilities for today – the zoo, the beach, the popper fountains, our neighborhood park, a walk on Coronado.

With every suggestion came another quiet “nooo.”

Until I said Lowe’s.  🙂  So, yeah, guess where we are headed for our Sunday family time?

Happy Weekend!

Oh, and in case you’re wondering how the boy plays with the nuts and bolts…

he makes math with them, just like he does with all of his toys.

♥♥

It’s Friday Night.

I’m already in my jammies – so much more comfy than my heavy black jeans.

The boy has showered, put on his jammies, played out his evening computer time, and is happily eating a fruit roll while I type.

He’ll be off to bed shortly and it’s not even 8:00 p.m.  I still get knocked over in amazement at our evening routine.  I can’t believe it actually works, but the little boy is definitely a creature of habit.  All we had to do was make him a habit that we liked.

Husband just returned from the store with stuff for cheese bread.  We had a craving.

The house is kind of a wreck.

There are still balloons all over the floor from the boy’s birthday party on the 16th.  Man, was that really two weeks ago?  No wonder some of the balloons look like this:

and greasy these:

and pointy this:

We like to leave stuff lying around after our special occasions.

I guess I’d better pop the balloons this weekend though.  Three of my friends posted comments on Facebook today about the sudden appearance of Halloween stuff in the stores.  Seriously?  Seriously.

Even more disturbing is the fact that I’ve already started thinking about decorating for Christmas.  😮

I can’t help it.  I went to Bazaar Del Mundo on Tuesday.  That place always makes me think holidays.  Or rather, HOLIDAYS!!!

It didn’t help that they had this charming addition to the painted tin ornament display:

I had to have him.

And really, if you’re willing to purchase a Christmas ornament in July, then you’re pretty much a sucker for all things holiday, right?  Bring it on!  I’m ready!

Halloween first though…

Happy Friday!

♥♥

P.S. What are you doing this weekend?  We’re probably going on another little nature walk.  I’ll post pictures if we actually do it!  😀

Antique Store & Flea Market Treasures

Thought I’d share a few pix of some things I picked up recently…

Beautiful, generous Leighann gave me several goodies when we met for the Rose Bowl Flea Market last month.

Here is a little spoon that I just adore:

Leighann also gave me a very amusing bunny by artist Debbee Thibault.  I love Ms. Bunny’s serious little face, her bright red dress and that heart dangling from her hand.  She goes well with my new beaded strawberries.

I bought the berries in my mom-in-law’s favorite little shop in downtown Brentwood.  They were fifty cents a piece.  I should have bought ten more.

I can’t say enough wonderful things about the shop.  It’s called The Vintage House.  They don’t have their own website (that I know of) so I joined yelp just to help put them on the internet map, so to speak.  Go here to see my review.

The Vintage House also had this sweet little rusty blue birdcage.  It cheers me to own this.  I am still looking for just the right spot to put it.

My small collection of blue and white figurines grew by two at the Flea Market.  The salt & pepper shaker pair on the right called out to me very loudly.

Despite the fact that I already had an almost identical little boy (on the left), I had to buy both of them.  You can’t break up a set, after all.  Right?

I don’t really know what I’m doing with this collection though.  I don’t think I want to grow it any larger.  I sort of like having just this one little corner of blue and white cuteness in the cabinet, but we’ll see… 🙂

At a thrift shop, also in Brentwood, I found a mason jar unlike most I’ve seen.  I stole mom-in-law’s idea of using it for measuring spoon storage on my counter.

I wish the picture were a little better.  The jar is marked on the sides with measurements too.  Very cute.

Last, and maybe least, I picked up this swirly candle sconce.

It’s made of light weight wood and measures almost eighteen inches long.

I was drawn to it because of my friend Erin and the similar sconce that she painted bright turquoise and listed in her etsy shop.  I love Erin’s unstoppable energy and am hoping to channel it myself to make something of my strange purchase!  I’ll post pix if I do!

That’s about it.

Happy Tuesday!

P.S.  The boy is back to school tomorrow, so probably no post since I will be out exercising my freedom somewhere.  😀  Look out thrift stores, here I come!!

♥♥

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday, Thomas!

You are the sweetest, smartest, cutest, kindest,
most beautiful baby boy that ever lived.

I love you.

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

This year, you turned nine and became an amazing reader.  You would only wear orange and you discovered the joys of the iPad.  You began telling us “I love you” without hearing it from us first and you decided the cats might actually be interesting after all.  You love school and can’t wait to go back this week and you notice and remember your friends more than ever.

And when I told you that the flash was making you close your eyes, you were fascinated and became determined to keep them open.

You are sweet and funny.

Happy Birthday, Baby.

♥♥

9th Birthday Pictures

The Doll

The boy was very excited about his new doll.  He held her sweetly and seemed proud to pose with her.

These two pix are my favorites:

It pretty much went downhill from there.

The Cake

The boy chose a Happy New Year theme.  He liked the clock and all the colors.

It has only taken me nine years to figure out exactly what kind of cake to order:

1/4 sheet of chocolate AND
a 1/4 sheet of white,
both with white buttercream filling,
frosted & decorated together as a single cake.

It’s not as pretty later in the day, but both halves taste really good.

The final improvement over last year’s version was the omission of the fruity filling.  The sliced strawberries do that sliced strawberry thing and look kinda scary the next morning.  Blech.  😕  They had to go this time.

This year, his name was even spelled correctly.  Thank you, Vons bakery manager lady!

There’s a ton of it left in the kitchen.  Wanna come by and have a slice?

The Helium Balloons

I can’t tell you how heartbreaking it is to me that we didn’t get a single photo of the helium balloons.  😦  I thought they were magical.

Our front room has a 24-foot ceiling.  Sounds grand, but it’s really more problematic than anything else.

Every year, the balloons head up there and are impossible to get down when the kids want to play with them.  I’ve never really liked tying the balloons to chairs or anchoring them with toys or weights, so this year I paid extra to have twenty-foot ribbons.

The balloons floated skyward as usual, but the long ribbons (two dozen of them) dangled down and made a little rainbow ribbon forest that we could walk through.  It was very festive and I am determined to do it every year from now on.

The floral department was NOT pleased with my request.  Right from the start, I even offered to pay more and they still gave me crap.  Then they called me at home to give me more crap.  World ribbon shortage or something.  Annoying.  Small minded.  Not service oriented.  Whatever.

It’s funny to me that the skills I’ve built advocating for my kid spill over to stuff like this.  Heh heh.

The Other Balloons

The husband blew up a zillion extra balloons to leave outside the boy’s door the night before the party.  This is what he woke up to:

The front door was like a vacuum.  Every time we opened it for a new guest, the balloons were sucked out at lightening speed.   The scramble to retrieve them was funny, but rather unsuccessful.  Many met their ends on the porch or lawn.  It was kind of a nice icebreaker for our friends and family though!  😀

Miscellaneous Other Birthday Photos

Happy Birthday Party, Little Boy!!

P.S…

Dumbest thing I did at the party?

Putting the pizza boxes on top of the piano.

The “protective” towels made it worse.

Jenifer, don’t look.  😦

Anybody know a good piano restoration service?  😐

♥♥

Dear Little Boy…

In just a few more days you will be nine years old.  I don’t know where the time went.

On Wednesday, I took you shopping for your birthday.

You picked out a pink backpack with a big picture of Barbie on it.  I am ashamed of myself for momentarily trying to interest you in Spiderman instead.  I was only thinking about the other kids and what they might say to you at school.  Kids can be so mean.

I am not surprised that you like pink.  You always have, so really it made perfect sense to put Barbie in the cart and bring her home.

You also chose a baby doll.  A big one.  You lifted her from the shelf and put her carefully into the back of the giant plastic truck you had chosen a moment before.

You kept a watchful eye on the doll through the entire store and several times you whispered “be careful with the baby.”

You stroked her bald head and patted her arms.  Twice you picked her up and gave her a hug.  You are sweet and gentle and kind and I am reminded that you should have had a sibling.

You have been hugging everyone lately, even complete strangers.

On Wednesday, you sidled up to a large man in the line next to us and hugged his arm.  He looked down with surprise and confusion, but he smiled and told you his name when I instructed you to introduce yourself.  You hugged him again and had to shake his hand and smell him before we left.  He was amused and very nice to you.

On our vacation, you were fascinated with Great Grandma Ila.  You helped to push her wheelchair and you carefully studied her face and hands and arms.  I think she liked that you were so interested.  It was really your first chance to spend extended time with someone of her generation.  The two of you have kindred, sunny spirits.

Today, your cousins and three school friends came over to help you celebrate.  We rented a jumpy, bought a cake, picked up two dozen helium balloons, and we called for too much pizza.  The group was smaller this year, but you didn’t know the difference.  A couple of cousins, a bit of sugar and some good old fashioned exercise, and you were properly birthdayed…if that’s a word.

Last night, once you went to bed, Daddy and I wrapped your gifts and finished picking up the house.  I sliced some veggies and Daddy got the cooler ready for ice.  We blew up a zillion balloons and left them in the hallway outside your bedroom door.  Then we collapsed.  We were exhausted, but happy, because you are the best reason to do these things.

We love you, little boy.  You are a gift to us, everyday.

Pictures sometime later in the week.

Happy Birthday Party.

♥♥