Sunday, February 22, 2009

80's Theme Baby Shower

I read Cake Wrecks every day and I found this amazing blog that not only featured one of the coolest cakes I've ever seen, but this amazingly awesome 80's prom theme party!  You MUST check it out!  I am trying to think up reasons to throw an 80's prom party myself.  Any ideas?  My birthday?  Maybe.  wow!  Check it out!!!!  And give me ideas for Why I should throw an 80's Prom theme party.  Only thing is... I want Rachel to be able to come.  Maybe a welcome home party for Rachel when she gets back.  That's SO long to wait...  hmm... 

In light of the recession...

I was thinking the other day about people who lived during the Great Depression and are still alive today.  Most of them were probably young, most likely children who had no idea what was taking place in their world.  I wonder what they think of what is going on today.  I get annoyed when I hear people compare our recession today to the recession people experienced when the market crashed in 1929.  To me, from what I know, it is not even a comparison.  Despite that though, I was thinking about these people as children and what kind of dreams they imagined, while the adults dealt with the harsh reality of the Great Depression.  As I was watching Caroline playing with her dollhouse the other day, being witness to her imagination,  vividly creating stories about her family of dolls, my heart warmed at her innocence.  Watching her made me think about Letters To Erin again.  The letters my MawMaw wrote to me when I was a baby.  So, I pulled them out and started reading.  The first one perfectly portrayed a little girl living in a time where people had next to nothing.  It really made me stop and think about her life and how her imagination made up a world of wonder and beauty in a time where things were not so perfect... 

Here's the first letter... 

"Dear Erin, 

Although you're just fifteen months old now, before I know it you'll be grown, and there are so many things I want you to know about.  You have a fine Mommy and Daddy, and they will teach you many things, but a grandmother can give you a legacy of the past that will enrich the present and guide you in the future.  

When I was a little girl like you I lived on Main Street with my Mama and Papa in an old one-story white house with a porch and a swing and ten steps leading down to the sidewalk.  The street was a main highway then and trucks and cars rumbled through the night - not so many as today though, for although I didn't really know it, the stock market had crashed when I was a few weeks old and our world had plunged into the Great Depression.  

Although there were grownups living in the house that sagged under its own weight and was wearily held off the ground by tired brick pillars, there were no other children and I amused myself by retreating into a fantasy land of my own making. Others have said that I was a stubborn child, and I guess I was, sulking in the pantry when I was angry. 

That pantry, though, was a magic place.  On one side there were rows and rows of fruit jars filled with peaches, and jellies, and sometimes pale, sweet wine.  That was the side I mustn't touch but could only smell the sweetness of it and marvel at the jewel-like colors enriched by the sunlight shining in the solitary window.  

The other side I claimed as my province.  There was a big box, a rag bag Mama called it, filled with discarded clothing, and on the rack above were old coats and hats.  Papa had been the director and chief cornetist of a village band when, years before, he and Mama and the four children, Myrtle, Ralph, Virginia, and Harold, had lived in Bessemer City. His uniform coat and hat were in the pantry, and I used to finger the roughness of the gold braid on the sleeves.  

One day I managed to climb up and dislodge the coat and cap from their resting place.  They fell with a whoosh on my head and covered me with their blackness.  When I had extricated myself from the wool and braid I put them on - the coat and cap - and felt another wonder in the pocket.  It was a magic wand of long smooth wood, a baton I later learned.  When I waved it in the air, music filled the pantry and even reached my ears which had been covered over with the gold braided cap.  Although I couldn't see very well -  the cap hanging over my eyes had a bill made of black stuff that I could stick my fingernails into -  I could visualize a whole room full of musicians and I was their leader.  When I waved the wand the music began and when I waved it faster the music became frenzied, and when I waved it more slowly the music washed over me like tired waves on a lonely beach.  I was renewed and forgot what had made me angry enough to retreat to the pantry.  

There were other treasures in the rag bag: old lace curtains to be used for bridal veils or long regal trains and my own little white shirts with short button-on sky blue pants.  I had asked Mama why I couldn't have clothes like the other children in the neighborhood and she had made them for me - the older children were all boys at the time.  

Outside the pantry window was a large maple tree underneath which no grass grew.  Its shelter made a roof for my playhouse carefully drawn with a stick in the dirt.  It was always in a state of remodeling; I could draw the walls and doors differently every day.  I would have to be careful, however, and not walk right through the walls; one should only go in and out the doors, which were marked with two short lines perpendicular to those of the walls.  I made a stove out of a stack of bricks I had found in the sterile earth under the house and played at cooking grass and weeds.  I gathered dandelions and placed them in milk bottles around in my house just as Mama did with the vases of roses from her garden.  Sometimes I would take my two favorite dolls, an old baby doll with a floppy cloth body and sewn-in arms and legs and a little girl doll whose red wig I had long ago pulled off, and seat them on other bricks I had fashioned into chairs.  

Later when I had achieved a little more manual dexterity, I found that pawpaw leaves fastened together with twigs could be fashioned into wonderful things, like crowns and floppy hats, and capes to hide the everyday world and fly away to Never-never Land.  

Imagination is a wonderful gift, Erin, and should be encouraged to grow and flourish.  It takes us places we never can go and gives us experiences we never can have otherwise.  It gives color to a drab world and delight in the commonplace."  

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

52 things I love about you...

This is the gift I made Andrew for Valentine's Day.  I'm usually not one for this sentimental Hallmark holiday, but I saw this idea and I had to do it this year!  My sweet husband had already gotten me the M&M's a couple of weeks ago, but he still got me beautiful flowers and some cozy pink pj's.  So sweet!

1. You accept me no matter what.  
2. You are an amazing father. 
3. You make me laugh. 
4. You are a great game partner!  
5. You are so fun to hang out with!  
6. You are the best at ... uh hm... you know.  :-) 
7. You secretly like Gilmore Girls.
8. You love kids and want more. 
9. You love my family.  
10. You eat all of my food creations, even if it's different or weird.
11. You love my friends. 
12. I love your friends. 
13. You are always considerate of my feelings. 
14. You are never jealous. 
15. You never put down my ambitions. 
16. You trust me. 
17. I trust you. 
18. You love an adventure! 
19. Your metro voices still crack me up. 
20. You are hot!  
21. You think I am hot, even when I'm SO not! 
22. You take out the trash. 
23. You always try your best to make me happy. 
24. You rub my feet even when you don't want to. 
25. You love your family. 
26. You will always try to convert me to be a Star Wars Lover.  
27. You are a little boy at heart. 
28. I think it's totally sexy that you used to play baseball. 
29. You never pressure me to do things.  
30. You do the dishes. 
31. You are a hard worker. 
32. I can always count on you to fix my electronic/computer problems. 
33. You like to rock out to 80's love ballads.  
34. You are so patient with me. 
35. You get along well with most everyone. 
36. You accept my past. 
37. You were honest with me about your past. 
38. You push me to do what I love. 
39. You give awesome hugs! 
40. You are so cozy and cuddly!  
41. You make me comfortable, even in awkward situations. 
42. You love Jeopardy, and you are so good at it! 
43. You bring out the best nerd in me!  
44. You are a nerd and proud of it! 
45. I miss you when you're not around. 
46. You are the only person I could hang out with 24/7 without getting annoyed. 
47. You get so excited over little things! 
48. You have a great relationship with your parents! 
49. You always tell me you love me, even when I'm so crappy!  
50. You have definitely made me a better person! 
51. I can tell you anything. 
52. You are everything and more that I ever wanted in a husband!  

Feeling good...

I'm feeling better.  Thanks for the sweet comments and prayers! :-)  

Last weekend was so good... For everyone!  

Friday night I went to sleep super early and got to sleep a full 11 hours that night.  I felt like a new woman the next day!  

Then on Saturday our friends Kate and Rhyan came over for dinner.  We had a great time with them and even talked them into playing Sing Star with us!  :-)  So fun!  

Sunday, Andrew's parents came over and we went to Arlington Cemetery.  I had never been and they have a driving pass because both of Andrew's grandparents (his mom's parents) are buried there.  It was a beautiful place and so moving.  Andrew's grandparents are buried right across the street from the recently deceased Iraq War soldiers.  We walked over there and and I got so choked up!  It definitely put the war into more perspective when I started looking at all of the engravings.  So many of these soldiers were younger than me.  We saw a family there with balloons, signs and flowers... there were young girls and parents...  I also saw a man alone, standing in front of a stone with a birth date of 1983.  My heart aches for them.  

It's difficult for me to comprehend the sacrifice these men and women have made for our country, but also the sacrifice that their wives, husbands, parents and children have to make as well.  I do not think I could be a military wife and I admire all of those women who are.  Even if you are a lucky one who has your husband/son/brother/etc. come home from war, they could be so changed that you hardly recognize them.  I have no idea how I would react if my child told me that she/he wanted to go into the military.  It would be difficult to accept, but definitely a proud moment to know that my child is willing to make that ultimate sacrifice for their country.  

Anyway, while there we also got to see the changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier.  Again, I got choked up!  How can you not?  The silence and the precision of the ceremony was beautiful.  

After we left, we had a yummy dinner for Andrew's birthday!  Monday my darling husband turned the big 3-0!  We didn't do too much to celebrate, but I made him his favorite dinner of meatloaf, mashed potatoes and broccoli.  And to top it all off a funfetti cake with chocolate frosting!  YUM!   

(Needless to say, with no Famished Friday last week, dieting went down the tubes once again. I'll get back on the wagon soon enough.)  

So... that's what's been going on in our lives.  I'm working on a Valentine's Day gift for my Andrew.  Once I give it to him, I'll post about it.  :-)  Don't want to give away the surprise.  

Thursday, February 5, 2009

mental health day... sometimes it's just necessary

Everyone needs a mental health day every now and then.  Today was my day.  

Everything just kind of hit me this morning and I got so overwhelmed... talking in circles about our house and our mortgage and wanting to move.  That's mostly what it's about.  

I can't even handle it anymore.  This is the most frustrating time in history to be a home owner.  It's just not fair how honest, hard-working people like Andrew and I are in this position.  We pay our bills on time.  We are never late.  We have great credit.  And our salaries should be more than enough to get by comfortably.  Yet, our stupid mortgage is so high, it's all we think about.  We bought our house as low as we could possibly find at the time.  We thought for sure the market would remain stable and continue to thrive.  We never thought, two and a half years ago, that we would be in this position right now.  We never thought that we would be stuck.  But that's exactly where we are.  Stuck.  

In the big picture, the big grand scheme of things, I know that this is only temporary.  The housing market will change.  It will move.  People will eventually start spending money again and start buying houses, but how much money do we have to lose in our high interest rates that no one wants to help us change?  It's just not fair.  When will be able to sell and even break even?  There is no answer.  No one knows.  Because everyone is scared.  So, no one is doing anything... 

I'm usually not one who thinks the government owes me something.  I work for what I get and I think it's important to do so.  But this time, I think otherwise.  I feel cheated.  Cheated by those stupid lenders who gave huge loans to people who couldn't afford it.  Those idiots who crapped out on their mortgages because they make as much as us and tried to buy a $450,000 house.  Those are the people I'm mad at.  And now, because of them, the honest people like us are the ones who suffer.  We're the ones who can't sell our house and have to fight to refinance.  It's just wrong.  It makes me want to scream!  

So, this morning all of these thoughts are running through my mind... my kids have been off the wall terrible this week.  Walking into school to face another day was more than I could handle today.  I broke down and cried.  It started at Caroline's babysitter's house when she asked me what was wrong and the tears just continued like a flood throughout the morning.  I tried to dry it up and stay at school, but the kids pushed my buttons first thing and I had to jet out of there as quickly as possible before I flew off the handle.  I'm glad I left.  I usually feel guilty for taking leave when I'm not sick or Caroline's not sick.  I feel like I let people down.  But today, it was necessary.  I got to have lunch in DC with Andrew and lay on the couch for a few hours and watch TV.  It felt good.  

Hopefully tomorrow will be better. 

Today I reminded myself that I am blessed.  I have a lovely home that keeps us warm.  I have an amazing, supportive, loving husband who would do anything for me.  I have an incredible little girl who is my world.  I have a job that is stable and helps me pay the bills.  I work with nice people who really care about others.  I have wonderful parents and in-laws who are always there to lend an ear or give advice.  I have friends and family who listen and support me in ways most people can't even imagine.  And most importantly of all, I have a loving God who has a plan for my life and is always waiting with open arms when I need Him.  When I think of all of those things, I realize how lucky I am.  

This too shall pass.    Thank God.