Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Catching Up: Domestic Tranquility?

Somewhere along the line, I forgot to teach my little girl that she couldn't grow up and move more than two hours away from me.  She lives at least eleven hours away; if the traffic is good.

Now that trail from our house to hers is well-worn.  It makes life a little crazy at times--far from tranquil!   I'm gone more now than I ever have been in my life!  Especially with new grand babies being born! 

It's joyful, exciting and more than a little bit busy, and today,  I'm sort of strung out from the trip, I've been gone from home 11 days, was on the road twelve hours and a half yesterday and will leave again in six or seven weeks to go back for Levi's Lil' Sis to be born--and to help out for a few weeks after she comes home.

In the meantime, I've got lots of catching up to do...with you, my friends.

We got started on Lil' Sister's room...a vintage baby nursery...and I have some sewing to do while I'm home, I brought home some measurements to make some accessories for her bed and her room, so she can be completely outfitted in her sweet little nest.  

Jamie and Luke painted like crazy while we were there.  We got the nursery set up, but it's not all done yet.  (I'll show you that nursery when it's the beginning of October.)

In the more immediate future, I also have MILLIONS of tomatoes to can, and an almost-sixteen-year-old to finish getting ready for school:  you know, all the usual-- hair cut, new shoes and jeans and some shirts.  

Some of this we did quickly while we were in Alabama--but will have to finish up in the next couple days because the TOMATOES WON'T WAIT much longer!  Ha!

My mind is just swimming and I'm still a little dizzy from riding so long in the car, but I wanted to say hello and catch up a minute--and tell you that to start, I'll "wrap up" my series from Autumn's Vintage Baby Shower, and then will have more fun stuff to share, some of it from my time in Alabama.

I wanted not only to say HELLO, but to ask you what you've been up to lately?  Is summer all wrapped up and are you peeking around the corner at a cool, crisp fall with a little smile on your face?  

Are you remembering corduroy jumpers, new Mary Janes squeaking under your feet, new Crayolas and sharpened pencils, pigtails, and chalkboards with a Dick and Jane reader on your freshly-shined desk?  

Thursday, August 25, 2011

To Infinity and Beyond...

"Guess what?"

"You can't see me!  
Where am I?"

"Peek-a-Boo!  HERE I am!"

Nana is with Levi this week! Uncle Luke and I drove down on Friday last week and we are here to help out -- to get ready for Little Sis, who will arrive in October. Meanwhile, I am getting to take care of Levi--so Jamie can get things done.  Jamie is painting, Luke is earning his journeyman's card--she's teaching him everything she knows about that skill.

Oh, I just can't tell you how much fun we are having. When he gives me a hug, I just melt. When he pats my hair I just want to giggle, so I do. We play silly games and I crawl around on the floor and play with him. 

The times I treasure the most, though, are when he will let me hold him close, and rock him again like he did when he was tiny and wasn't so curious about everything around him. 
A soft head of sweet-smelling hair underneath my chin does wonders for my soul.  It doesn't matter that millions of tomatoes wait for me at home, what is aching today, or that a hot flash just blasted up my shoulders and onto my neck and ears...not a bit.   
This little man makes me forget--everything but HIM.

Levi is as smart as a whip and busy, busy, busy. He gets around quite fast. A little walking and a lot of crawling. So much progress for fourteen months. He says a lot of words and loves flashcards, which I find so funny. He has a ton of animal flashcards.  He loves books and his tractors...tractors the very best.  

Who knew love could multiply to infinity?  

Yes, infinity, and beyond!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Vintage Baby Shower Part 2: Welcoming

Welcoming the guests at Pine Hollow Lodge was a cheery sign and a brightly-painted red door.  

And matching red rockers...

So cheery and bright.

Inside was also sweet...

Flowers brought from the garden of one of Autumn's friends, arranged in McCoy vases.

Delicious cupcakes...just waiting to be eaten.

Mary made pennants to hang for her granddaughter's shower...and cute they were! 

They were found in many places, each cuter than the last one.

The punch table was even part of the pretty decorations, as its cheery tin top is red gingham!

Our cool and refreshing punch is easy to do and won't be forgotten by your guests if you serve it:  One two-liter of 7-Up to one frozen can of white grape juice concentrate and ice to fill the punch bowl.  Not too sweet and almost clear in color--it was dressed up with juicy red strawberry slices.  

The cheery old red soda cooler was put to use with chilled sodas for the guests.

The menu was cool summer foods:  giant sub sandwiches and many kinds of delicious cold salads; fruit kabob, and fresh vegetables--shared with us by Autumn's friend, Keisha....  

Next up?


The presents!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Vintage Baby Shower

A vintage shower at Pine Hollow Lodge is just the right way to celebrate a baby soon to be born to my niece and her husband.  Autumn, if you remember, is very into vintage:  we celebrated with a vintage housewife bridal shower, and then she and her parents created a beautiful vintage-style wedding.

Here is Autumn and her mom, Mary, and her sister Katie; posing with the beautiful cake Autumn made all on her own--for her own baby shower!  

Did I mention it was decorated with fondant she made herself all decorated with tiny "quilt squares" as well as a topper that Autumn made and hand-painted using food coloring, each one of them a beautiful piece of vintage-style art.  (Remember the cake Autumn made for our Vintage Toy Baby Shower for Levi?  Here it is.)

Using vintage prints of baby cards or shower invitations or of vintage coloring book pages, each "quilt square" took about an hour to paint. 

Then the cake itself was absolutely delicious with each layer a different combination of flavors, and the fillings all delicious and each one wonderful.  One layer was vanilla with chocolate ganache, one was chocolate with peanut butter ganache, and one chocolate with butter cream frosting.  

Each of the little red flowers were made by Autumn and Katie using fondant.  

I loved the combination of colors with the pink and red so brilliant.

My favorite was this square with baby clothes hanging on the line!

The adorable little vintage lamb held the spoons for the cake. 

Next, I'll show you more from the vintage baby shower, all of the photos just as delicious as this cake!

Y'all come back, ya hear?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Time Marches On...

Today I will be heading north to help with a vintage baby shower.  It's for my niece, Autumn.  She and her husband are going to be welcoming a daughter right before Christmas.

This makes me happy, but yet nostalgic.  

And a bit melancholy.

And a bit excited.

Nostalgic, because I remember when Autumn was a little tiny baby herself, with her brown hair and pretty brown eyes, and I just can't believe she's going to be a mommy herself!  It just doesn't seem possible!

Melancholy because I am old, and this proves it.

Excited for the new grandchild coming to my sister and her husband.

The page they are about to see turn.

The new chapter they are about to see written.

Grandparent-hood is grand.

And I am excited for my sister, because she's about to find out about one of the pure and unequaled pleasures in life.

Entering the realm of feeling so happy that you stuck it out, together, with your mate -- all for this:  all that travel that was sometimes rough, all of it required make it to this wonderful place, the intersection of Happiness and Joy. 

We can look backward and see the hard work.

We can look down the road and see the payoff.

That's why they call it grand.

The fun is just beginning.

All that hard work required to be a wife, a husband, and all that toil that is parenting boils down to this, PURE JOY.

The good stuff you harvest after keeping those vows, even when it was hard and life made absolutely NO sense.

For making it through those teenage years, when you wondered if it would do you in.

For the day-to-day-minutiae,  wondering all the while if any of it really, truly mattered.  

Arguing with yourself if it really counted or not, asking yourself if you were sane when you committed for life.

Turns out, that your babies bringing their babies home to you, to both of you, IS worth it all.

There's nothing like the joy of all discovering together all those unknown things about this beautiful new human:  the tiny hands, tiny toes, a tiny mouth, and that tiny body--who she favors, how much of your own child you can see in this little one.

The trust.

The total dependency.

And the feeling of knowing that you all made it to this point together--to welcome a sparkling and new generation to your family--with LOVE.