24 January 2013

A Collection of Heathers: Original Art by Oliver

Today Oliver announced that he wanted to color Heather. This quickly turned into a collection of waxy scribbles of his aunt Heather on the back of Jesse's unused note cards. Each one different than the one before.

Ollie's descriptions of his pictures are as follows:

Heather with a nose:

Heather with blueberry eyes and legs:

Heather with legs, feet, and eyes:

Heather with owies on her legs and feet:

And last, but certainly not least, Heather with hair:

What did Oliver say when he was all done? 

"Mama, I LOVE Heather so MUCH"

We are ABSOLUTELY turning these into postcards and using them for our mail correspondence with Miss Heather! Hopefully they will make her day...well, five of her days!

19 January 2013

Resolve: 2013

It is the nineteenth, and I'm finally getting around to resolutions...

Because I'm on top of life...


Some days I feel like the world spins faster than I can keep up with.

There is just so much that I want to do...

I want to explore the current setting of my life, expand my mind, learn to knit, finish the Old Testament, and fill the empty pages in my journal with thoughts, memories, and love notes to my posterity.

I want to read a mountain of literature, learn the history of my family, write more letters, improve my relationships, sing more show tunes, maybe even try my hand at embroidery.

I want to taste new flavors, organize my belongings, make a quilt, play with  my son, and surround myself with that which I believe to be beautiful.

I want to write, create, photograph, learn, and dream.

I want to win my fight with apathy,

To forget about anxiety.

I want to stop the world from spinning away from me

I want to approach my life deliberately, with intention and purpose.

I want to be present.

And I want to be happy.

15 January 2013

Ollivander: A Self Portrait

6 Sticks

Today was Jesse's 28th birthday. 

He asked for chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, just has he has for the last four January fifteenths that I've had the pleasure of spending with him.

This year, my good friend Martha helped me make a fancy schmancy chocolate cake from scratch with three layers and six whole sticks of butter.

That's right yikes.

Oliver and I went rummaging through the toys to find something to decorate this gargantuan cake with. We settled on tractors, of course.

Jesse and I could only stomach a sliver of a piece (it was so rich) while Oliver would have eaten five pieces if we let him. He only had one piece, but by the time he was done he couldn't sit still.

Afterwards, Jesse retired to his desk for hours of study, as he does every night. 

That was the extent of his birthday celebration...10 minutes for some chocolate cake.

Life is pretty crazy, and 6 sticks of butter is about as good as it gets for us right now...I guess that's a little hard for me to come to terms with...

Though I do love butter, and it's more than a lot of people get, so I think I'll manage.

But we are definitely going to need some help polishing this baby off...I'm not sure what I was thinking....

Any takers???

05 January 2013

Handwritten Legacy

I love the idea of a family legacy; something handed down from an ancestor.

I love the way that an item that once was commonplace, and seemingly of little value or worth, over time transforms into an object that demonstrates that life was lived, and gives insight into certain aspects of that life.

On Christmas Eve, I spent the day with my mother, sister, and grandmother collecting such treasures of legacy from three generations of women who came before me.

Lucy Ann's charm bracelet and crafting supplies, Frankie's sewing basket and it's contents, Virginia's tin of buttons, Nancy's cookbook, the pattern for the dress my mother wore at her wedding reception, and a copy of the Bywater family turkey dressing recipe, handwritten, with all of it's stains and smudges in full glory.

If you know me, then you will know that this copy of the handwritten recipe was one of my favorite treasures of those I took with me that day, as I especially love all things pertaining to food, tradition, and handwritten.

This is the recipe sheet that my grandmother uses each time she begins preparing our family's traditional holiday meal. It is written on the back of a student schedule from Cyprus High school, where she worked for many years as a counselor. It is in her handwriting. It shows the corrections that were made over time as our family grew. When it is not in use, it waits in a little black binder full of recipes, notes, and menus from previous meals for the holiday season to roll around again.

I love knowing that when I use this recipe to make turkey dressing for my own family, I will get to see what she sees each time she makes it. I will be able to make it exactly the way that she does, and recreate the taste of my childhood Thanksgivings and Christmases for my children and grandchildren.

One day, when I am teaching my own granddaughters to cook the traditional holiday meal, I will pull this recipe out and show them her handwriting, and tell them all of the beautiful memories I have of holidays in my grandparents' kitchen.

That is the magic of handwritten recipes.

That is the gift of tradition.

That is a family legacy.