Category: Happy Things

Good grief!

Charlie Brown Halloween costume for baby

Happy Halloween from Charlie Brown and Snoopy!

 

a room of his own

a room of his own

Last week a man finally showed up at our house with a roll of soft gray carpet. When he left an hour or so later, the construction of Ethan’s bedroom was officially complete, so I carried my little guy upstairs to get acquainted with his new room. I think he liked it.

Since then, I’ve spent large chunks of time assembling furniture, visiting my sister in Georgia (flying alone with a 3-month-old went great!), and chaperoning a first grade field trip. Life is never dull!

Ethan

little Ethan

I’m delighted to introduce you to little Ethan. He entered the world a week ago — early, tiny, and perfect. I love him.

two weekends in Virginia

Shenandoah Valley of Virginia

There are few places I would rather spend a gorgeous October weekend than in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, so I feel quite lucky that we spent the past TWO weekends there. I lived in Harrisonburg for 14 years before I got married and moved to Pennsylvania, and I suspect that returning to the Shenandoah Valley will always feel like returning home.

apple orchard

On Saturday we picked apples from the orchard and pumpkins from the vine… and on the way out of town on Sunday afternoon, I got a bowl of s’mores ice cream from Klines. It was the perfect way to wrap up a delightful fall weekend in one of my favorite places.

multicolor pumpkins

in the box

As I ate some eggs and an english muffin for breakfast this morning, I commented to the kids about how much I’ve been enjoying the jar of plum butter from Aunt Phoebe that I recently opened. Hayden wanted to know whether she was younger or older than me, so I mentioned that she has a birthday coming up in a few weeks, and that we should be sure to send her something.

“Yeah,” he said. “In a BOX.”

Clearly, the box of goodies she sent for his birthday made an impression on him! He wanted to work on her gift right away, but I thought it was more important to get ready for school… So as I drove to work a bit later, I started thinking about what special treats we will put in the box.

If a box showed up on your doorstep with your name written on it, what would you hope to find inside? What items are on your wish list? I’d love to know.

open cardboard box

a lovely outdoor summer wedding

Our family enjoyed the most lovely outdoor wedding last weekend at a farm in the hills of New Jersey.

wedding on a farm in New Jersey

When we arrived, we were greeted by a clothesline full of handmade tote bags with treats for each family — trail mix, homemade fruit leather (strawberry rhubarb and apricot lavender!), kazoos for the ceremony recessional, and sparklers for the part of the festivities we missed because we have children who needed to get home to bed.

handmade wedding tote bags

Each tote bag was stamped with a chicken and was strung up with a tag that featured the same motif and the names of the guests. I was especially eager to see the tote bags, because I made the tags… but when I gave them to the bride, they didn’t have any farm animals on them yet!

chicken gift tag

For the wedding ceremony, we sat on hay bales that were covered with white cloths. It was a warm summer afternoon, so there were baskets of woven fans available for all the guests.

hay bale seating for an outdoor wedding

The aisle was lined with simple wildflower bouquets in blue mason jars tied to sticks with twine.

wedding wildflower bouquet in a mason jar

Between the ceremony and the reception, we made sure to visit the do-it-yourself photobooth. The white curtains and the woods made a lovely backdrop.

DIY wedding photobooth

We used the camera provided, but also took some shots with my camera. Not pictured: our kids + my expanding baby bump.

DIY wedding photobooth picture

Most people don’t take pictures of the bathroom facilities at a wedding, but the setup was just too unusual not to share! As you may have noticed, the bride and groom planned a very green wedding… right down to the toilets. This sign greeted you at the edge of the meadow near the entrance to the woods.

outdoor wedding restroom sign

At the end of a short dirt path, guests could use one of two toilets. They were carefully angled away from guests and each other, because the fourth side of the toilet stall was completely open. It looks pretty primitive, but there was actually a regular toilet seat built in to the structure on top of some kind of container with wood shavings. It was much better than a port-a-potty (no smell! no icky door handle to touch! no claustrophobia!), but it was especially important to remember to flip that sign from vacant to occupied before entering.

outdoor restroom facilities

In spite of the rain that fell during the reception (good thing we were under a tent!), it was a lovely day celebrating a lovely couple. Congrats, Ben and Ashley!

while I was gone

Hi everyone — I’m back! Yesterday we returned home from a wonderful week of vacation… and I found some happy little surprises waiting for me. Look what happened in our backyard while we were at the beach:

A few little cherry tomatoes finally turned red! And this regular tomato plant is now growing a little green tomato. Fresh tomatoes are my favorite vegetable, but it’s been three years since I’ve had a garden, so I’m pretty excited about these.

I can’t wait to tell you more about our vacation. It was great in every way.

our happy news

I’m delighted to share the news with you that we are expecting a little one in December!

my senses today: beans and bingo

What did you notice today? These are a few things that captivated my senses.

heard: “B-14. G-57. N-39.” Tonight was candy bar bingo night at the kids’ school, and we got to use these awesome old bingo cards. They’re the same style as the travel bingo cards we had when I was a kid.

saw: a beautiful golden moon hanging low in the sky on the way home from bingo. “THAT is gorgeous,” I said. “THAT is gorgeous,” came the sweet echo from the back of the van.

smelled: beans, unfortunately, when we walked in the door. I cooked up some pinto beans for a pot of chili I want to make tomorrow, so the house will soon be filled with a much better aroma.

tasted: a super-salty soft pretzel. It was so salty that I brushed off a lot of it — and it still seemed too salty. And I like things salty!

touched: the smooth keys of my newly tuned piano. There’s always something a bit magical about sitting down to play a perfectly tuned instrument.

my senses today

The spring-like weather today must have really perked up my senses. These were some of the things that caught my attention.

smelled: earthy fresh air. It was a gorgeous day, and I left the doors open for a while when I got home from work.

heard: “We Owned the Night” by Lady Antebellum. I bought the entire “Own the Night” album on Amazon today for a quarter. Of a dollar.

tasted: a sweet, juicy clementine. I’m on my fourth 5-pound box of the season. Only a few of those have been eaten by someone other than me.

saw: Jane Eyre. Oh my. It was slow and mysterious and almost haunting. And free from Redbox.

felt: the wind whip my hair around. March is making sure the “in like a lion” part of the month really happens.

How about you? What have YOU been noticing?

Alt

For the next few days, a bunch of people I admire are getting together to learn about things I wish I knew, to talk about things I’d love to discuss, and to share ideas I wish I were creative enough to come up with.

The third annual Altitude Design Summit (nickname: Alt) officially kicks off tomorrow morning in Salt Lake City, but a quick glance at Twitter makes it clear that the fun has already begun.

Alt is a conference for design and lifestyle bloggers, and if you’ve never heard of it, this article will help bring you up to speed. At least nine bloggers I regularly follow are participating this year, along with others I’m familiar with and probably hundreds I’ve never heard of. I’m excited that Alt is finally underway — even though I’m not there. I can’t wait to be inspired by all the words and photos that the attendees will share with the rest of us who envy them.

I don’t know if any Alt attendees read my blog (maybe a couple?), but if you’re lucky enough to be at Alt, I hope you have as much fun as I think you’re having!

our first three daylilies

Our first three daylilies bloomed today. They’re such a welcome burst of color!

an illustrated grocery list

Taking a four-year-old to the grocery store does not rank high on my list of fun things to do. A few weeks ago, Hayden was {this close} to having a meltdown in the grocery store because I refused to buy him the fun five dollar toothbrush he grabbed off the rack. Never mind that we were there to buy ammo for the marshmallow shooter I was making for him.

So when he and I needed to pick up a few items at the grocery store before heading out of town the other weekend, I decided to try a creative approach. Before we went to the store, I wrote up a five-item grocery list — and since he can’t read yet, I illustrated it.

He figured out everything but the bottled water.

When we got to the store, I handed Hayden the list and put him in charge of making sure we got everything. I told him that we were only going to buy the items that were on our list, so every time he saw something else he wanted, we admired it and talked about it for a moment, and then I asked him if it was on the list.

“No…”

“Sorry. Then I guess we can’t get it.” I added just a slight twinge of disappointment to my voice, as if the person prohibiting us from buying these things was someone other than me.

I had written the list in the order that we would find the items in the store, and with only five items on the list, the little shopping adventure was over pretty quickly. But we had fun while we were there, and it might have been my favorite grocery shopping trip ever… because I left the store with a smile on my face and a proud, happy little boy by my side.

Easter basket treasure hunt

This morning we gave our kids their Easter baskets, but instead of just handing them over, I made a treasure hunt with clues that led to the baskets of goodies. I wrote up about ten clues, including one that took them all the way to the end of the driveway to look inside the mailbox, and then tucked each clue inside a plastic Easter egg.

The middle clue pictured above was my favorite one. “I’m packing your extra pair of shoes, and your angry eyes… just in case.” Anybody know where the next egg with a clue was hidden? (Hint: it’s a quote from Toy Story 2.)

It was inside Mr. Potato Head! (That’s where Mrs. Potato Head packed her husband’s shoes and angry eyes.)

Also, that blue and green chevron fabric pictured above is now a dress for Magen. I didn’t start sewing it ’til yesterday, so I was relieved when I finished it up this afternoon. Hopefully I’ll be able to get a good picture of her in the dress tomorrow.

Happy Easter!

little spring celebration

Once upon a time, it was winter. And then it was spring. So we had a very little party to celebrate its arrival.

And now that spring is three weeks old, I’m finally getting around to sharing the ideas and pictures with you. The main focus of our party was a meal with a mystery menu. The foods were very normal (spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread, etc.), but I made up a mystery menu in which each of the food items were renamed as some spring-themed item.

This was our menu:

And these are the translations:

bird’s nest = spaghetti
robin’s eggs = meatballs
flowers = cucumbers and carrots
trees = raw broccoli
butterflies = garlic bread cut to vaguely resemble butterflies
seeds = black olives
watering can = pink lemonade
rainbow = layered vanilla pudding

non-edible items
picnic blanket = napkin
rake = fork
shovel = spoon
trowel = knife

Cutting the cucumbers and the carrots to look like flowers was the most time-intensive step, so I was glad I didn’t have to make many of them. I just sliced the vegetables and then used a paring knife to cut out five wedges from each slice.

For dessert, I made a much brighter version of the rainbow layered vanilla pudding Magen and I made back in the fall.

Coming up with the food ideas was fun, but the decorations were my favorite part. The party was just for my family and my mother-in-law, so I didn’t do a ton of decorating, but no party is complete without some fun decor.

For starters, I bought a simple bouquet of alstroemeria for the center of the table and placed it in a blue canning jar.

The table was also adorned with these little place cards that I made. The flowers were made out of regular printer paper that I painted with watercolors and then cut out with those cheap scissors that make fun edges. Other place cards had flowers with other colors (pink, yellow, blue).

On the sliding glass doors, I hung ten little accordion-folded paper flowers that I made from two sheets of scrapbook paper.

And finally, I hung some crepe-paper streamers from an exposed beam.

Happy Spring!

chairs

One chair.

Two chairs.

Red chair.

Blue chair.

And… perspective.

In early December I was poking around the Museum of Modern Art’s online store, when I saw a game that looked quirky and fun. It’s called Chairs, and you play it by taking turns stacking up one chair at a time while only one of the chairs remains on the table or floor. The goal is to NOT make chairs fall, and the person with the least amount of points (i.e., least number of chairs knocked down) after a specified number of rounds is the winner.

I had never heard of it before, and probably wouldn’t have bought it for myself, but it was the perfect kind of thing to put on my Christmas list. I was quite happy to unwrap a tin full of 24 chairs during a Christmas gift exchange this past weekend, and the game has proven to be fun to play with both adults and kids.

Don’t you think that first red chair I showed you looks like something you could buy at IKEA?

mini Christmas notepad

The supplies for the advent calendar I made were still sitting on my desk last evening, so before I put them away, I decided to make another fun little project with some of the same materials.

Cute + easy + quick + fun + useful + free = a sweet, simple mini notepad!

I cut some white printer paper into 15 little squares (measuring 2.75″), and then cut two squares of cardstock kraft paper to the same dimensions. I sandwiched the white paper between the covers and stapled it all together with three staples across the top. I then glued a piece of ribbon onto the top to hide the staples and used a marker to write a few words from a fun Christmas tune.

I can’t wait to use this one up so I can make another one. The possibilities are endless!

shadows on the wall

As an adult, I’ve always waited until the Sunday after Thanksgiving to listen to Christmas music and put up Christmas decorations. This year I started playing Christmas music a week and a half before Thanksgiving, but as far as decorating goes, this year was no exception.

This afternoon I dragged out all of our Christmas decorations and starting making our house in the woods as cozy as possible. We won’t get our Christmas tree until Saturday, so for now, this miniature version will have to suffice. I love white Christmas lights, but tonight I especially love the shadows on the wall…

rest stop

On the way to my cousin’s house in upstate New York last evening, we stopped at a rest stop to use the facilities and get something to eat. While Tim and I were standing in line at Roy Rogers, I noticed the diversity of our fellow travelers, and mentioned to Tim that there was a whole episode of This American Life about a rest stop. (This American Life is my favorite radio show.)

After a moment, I told Tim that I thought maybe the rest stop they featured was in New York somewhere, so I pulled out my iPhone and fired up the This American Life app. Sure enough, the rest stop featured on the show was along the New York State Thruway. I’m not sure why I remembered that. Lucky guess!

As we returned to the highway with our roast beef sandwiches in hand, I pulled out my iPhone and went onto the This American Life website to read the full description of the episode, hoping to find out which rest stop had been featured.

It was the Plattekill Travel Plaza — the rest stop we had just left! What are the chances that of all the thousands of rest stops in the country, the one featured on This American Life is the one we were standing in when I was talking about it?!

So as we were heading home on the New York State Thruway tonight, we listened to the episode via the This American Life app on my iPhone, even though I had already heard it before. It’s called Rest Stop, and it’s a great way to spend an hour of travel time.

an exciting sighting

This afternoon I was sitting at a stoplight on my way home from running errands when I looked up and saw a sundog. A sundog is a little colored spot in the sky, and while it isn’t rare, it’s not something I see every day. Then another sundog over to the left caught my eye.

And then… I saw the halo that connected the two sundogs and perfectly surrounded the bright sun.

I pulled out my camera — and the traffic light turned green. I ended up driving about a mile before I could find a good place to stop and take a couple pictures. This photo doesn’t do it justice, but this is what I came home with.

When I googled “halo with sundogs,” practically all of the images I found showed snow on the ground, but I saw “my” halo with sundogs on a sunny November afternoon in Pennsylvania with not a snowflake in sight.

Because the sun was so bright, it was almost impossible to tell how much of the halo I was able to capture with my camera until I got home and downloaded the photos. I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t take a few more pictures, because at the top of the halo, I saw what looked like the beginning of another arc in the opposite direction, but I barely captured that in my photo. According to what I learned on Wikipedia, I think it was an upper tangent arc.

So exciting!

those silly fours

I’m doing some risky blogging tonight. After posting a bathtime video yesterday, I’m now on the verge of posting a naptime story, which puts me dangerously close to becoming one of those dreaded “mommy bloggers.” It’s actually a learning-to-tell-time story, and it was just too cute not to share, so here it is.

Thanks to some activities at church this afternoon, Hayden’s naptime was later than usual, and since I expected somewhat of a protest, we started talking about his upcoming nap on the drive home so he knew what to expect when we got home. Hayden wasn’t really interested in taking a nap, so when he asked how many minutes he needed to sleep, I told him he could sleep for just 60 minutes. He thought that sounded too long, so he tried a different approach.

“How many songs?” he asked. I told him that he could listen to each song on his CD once, and that when the music stopped, he could get up from his nap.

“I am NOT going to agree to that! I’m only going to agree to the minutes.”

“OK, that’s fine,” I said calmly, knowing that the CD was shorter than an hour and he was choosing the longer of the two options.

It was a few minutes after 3:00 when we went into his bedroom for naptime. I showed him the time on his little digital clock, and explained that when the number closest to the window changed from a three to a four, he could be finished with his nap. I didn’t really expect him to sleep today, but I at least wanted him to rest for a bit.

About 20 minutes later, Hayden came over to our bedroom where Tim and I were talking.

“It’s the silliest thing,” Hayden said. “There’s a four on the clock, but it’s over by the DRESSER!”

Hahaha. I hadn’t warned him that the number four might show up in other places. I told him to head back to his room and wait until the four showed up on the side of the clock close to the window.

A little while later, Hayden came downstairs with his little digital alarm clock in hand.

“This is SO SILLY!” he said, sounding amazed.

“Did you see another four?” I asked.

“TWO fours!” he responded incredulously.

Hahaha.

Those crazy fours.

late bloomer

When almost all of the trees that surround our house look this bleak…

… it’s nice to be able to turn 90 degrees to the right and see this beauty.

an autumn garland

After posting about other people’s buntings and garlands on Saturday evening, I sat down with a few supplies and made a little garland of my own. It was completely inspired by this book page garland by dandeedesigns, so I give her total credit for the idea. This autumn garland was the first one I’ve ever made, but it was incredibly easy.

I grabbed three sheets of cardstock (green, yellow, and orange) and used a 1-1/2″ circle punch to cut out about 35 circles from each piece of paper. The cardstock is some I’ve had on hand for a very long time, and the colors seemed fitting for autumn.

Next I used my sewing machine to stitch across two circles at a time, joining them all together. I stacked the colored circles as follows: orange/green, green/yellow, yellow/orange, repeat. I left a small gap of thread in between each pair of paper circles.

When all of the paper circles had been sewn together, I liked the results so much that I almost would have been happy to leave them flat… but I had a better plan in mind.

The next step was to simply fold each circle in half, using the stitching line as a folding line. So easy.

Here is the completed garland, draped across our tile fireplace that we wish were a stone fireplace instead. Maybe someday it will be. Meanwhile, I’m enjoying the festive burst of autumn colors, and I love that this sweet little decoration was so simple and inexpensive!

a homemade bunting and garland roundup

It seems that everywhere I go on the internet, people are creating and hanging all kinds of lovely homemade buntings and garlands, so I thought I’d share a few that I’ve been admiring.

I just discovered the Dandee Designs blog and etsy shop last weekend, but I scrolled through quite a few posts and discovered lots of beautiful things, including several buntings and garlands. This simple book page garland is for sale in her etsy shop, and has inspired me to create my first ever bunting/garland, which I will show you once I’ve made it.

This felt bunting is available in the Dandee Designs shop as a DIY kit, and the felt flags are held together with jute.

This fabric and jute bunting made an appearance at an event she planned, but I don’t know whether Dandee made it.

Dandee even made a bunting out of bandanas for a cowboy-themed birthday party.

Unfortunately, I didn’t keep track of where this next image came from, but I found it in my inspiration file this afternoon. If you recognize it, could you let me know who made it? (Update: I found it here.)

John and Sherry of Young House Love made this bunting out of scrapbook paper to adorn the walls of their office/guestroom/playroom.

I occasionally see paper banners strung up with ribbon at Blonde Designs, such as this one for a baby shower…

…and this one for Valentine’s Day.

I recently spotted a garland somewhere on the internet made out of pompoms and thread, but it looks like I didn’t save the image anywhere and I can’t remember where in the world I saw it. There was a gap of maybe 4-6 inches between each pompom, so it managed to look cute and modern, and not like it was pulled out of a box marked “1982.”

Of course, if you do a google search for garlands and buntings, you’ll come up with tons of other inspirational ideas, but these were just a few that caught my eye recently that I thought I’d share while I was thinking about it.

I’ve already started gathering my supplies for the little garland I’m going to make, so stay tuned!

P.S. Here’s the autumn garland I made.

updating my file cabinet handles

For most of its life, my file cabinet looked just the way it did when I brought it home from Staples.

But in June, my file cabinet’s life suddenly got all wild and crazy. You see, one of the home improvement/decor/DIY blogs I follow, Young House Love, featured a home office makeover where I saw a file cabinet with exactly the kind of hardware I wished I had somewhere in my home.

Neither the house I was on the verge of moving out of nor the one I now live in with my husband is/was conducive to this kind of hardware, so I loved the idea that I could make such a simple, cheap upgrade to a piece of furniture to bring in a little bit of that style I had been craving.

So one evening in June I swung by Lowe’s or Home Depot (I forget which) and picked up a couple handles. When I got back home, it took me just a few minutes to remove the old handles and replace them with my trendy new ones. And then it took me five months to update the little cards that indicate which files are in which drawer, which is why I didn’t snap my ‘after’ pictures until tonight.

I finally corralled and organized my creative supplies this evening, so I now know where to find my black paper and silver marker. I went from this…

…to this. So much better!

By the way, while I was writing this post, I couldn’t decide whether I usually say “filing cabinet” or “file cabinet.” I think maybe I say “filing cabinet” at home and “file cabinet” in an office setting. What do YOU say?

leftover candlelight

This morning I went down to the basement and brought up three boxes of home decor (three boxes?!) that I had not yet unpacked since moving to Pennsylvania in July. You might think that sounds fun, but it was actually stressful for me. Why? Because I found very few items that I love. Sure, there were some things that I was happy to see again, but most of the vases, picture frames, candle holders, decorative plates, bowls, and whatnot are currently in limbo-land until I decide their fate.

Some items will be incorporated into our home, some will be given away because I no longer like them, some will be spraypainted white, and some will probably go back in a box because I don’t want to display them, but can’t seem to get rid of them (mostly souvenirs from international travel).

Among my discoveries today were a ridiculous number of little glass candle holders that I had collected from various sources over the years. I don’t even know where some of them came from, but I do know that most of them had already been living in boxes for a while before I moved. I also discovered that I have a bad habit of not removing the remaining wax from candle holders after the candle has burned down to the bottom.

So this evening I scraped out wax from a bunch of candleholders… and turned some other yucky, half-burned votives into a thing of beauty.

I don’t exactly need another hobby, but don’t you think these candle holders would all look better if they were filled with white soy wax instead of gross old pastel-colored wax? I think so too…

woodpeckers I can live with

Here in the woods, the woodpeckers apparently think our house is a tree. One afternoon I actually went to the front door because Magen and I both thought that someone had knocked on the door. Although I love how woodpeckers look, and I’m all in favor of them pecking on trees, they’ve turned into an annoyance because they’re loud and they’re destroying our wood siding.

Schools are closed today for Election Day, so both kids are home with me today. Yesterday I was looking for some creative project ideas that we could work on today, and when I found this paper woodpecker toy, I thought it would be fun to create some woodpeckers that make us happy. (Made By Joel is an amazing blog I discovered recently, written by a father/artist who makes simple, homemade, creative toys and crafts for his four-year-old twins.)

Last night after supper I showed the kids the video of the woodpecker toy we were planning to make today, and Hayden watched it over and over and over.

So this morning I printed out two woodpecker templates from the downloadable image and we got to work. I love that all of the supplies were things we had on hand — photo paper, a drinking straw, rubber bands, and tape. Oh, and a few little plastic beads. After the woodpeckers were complete, I took Joel’s advice and tied beads to each end of the rubber bands so they wouldn’t slip out of the straw.

Magen named her woodpecker “Peckanona.” When she told me the name, I asked her how it was spelled, and she spelled it out for me. (The ‘o’ is a short ‘o.’) Then she explained that it’s just a made-up word, so she can spell it however she wants. “I mean, it’s not a real word like a, an, the, meteorologist, Constantinople…” I love how her mind works!

After both kids were dressed, I took a couple videos of the kids with their woodpeckers. Here’s the one where nobody is pouting because their woodpecker won’t peck…

great word 01: Hooray!

Some words are just so great that they deserve a little extra attention. The one I’m featuring as the first in my occasional series of great words is…

Hooray!

Hooray is such a wonderful expression of jubilation. When I say the word, my whole face gets involved. My eyebrows lift, my eyes brighten, and my mouth and cheeks open into a wide smile. If I’m feeling really exuberant, I punch my fists up into the air as my arms form a letter Y with the rest of my body.

But I’m usually a bit too subdued for that. In spite of its reputation as a spoken word, “hooray” is much more likely to emerge from my keyboard. Great words shouldn’t be overused, of course, so I’ve only used it twice here on my blog — once when I finished things up at my former job a week before our wedding, and again when I got a Pennsylvania license plate. On Monday I used it at the beginning of a text message to Tim when my Subaru finally passed the state emissions inspection.

Clearly, I’m not the only one who appreciates the word, since I recently spotted it on the cover of the 2011 IKEA catalog (“Hooray for the everyday”). IKEA can do what it wants, of course, but nine times out of ten, I think the word is strong enough to stand alone. Start it with a capital H and end it with an exclamation point. And whatever you do, resist the temptation to introduce it with the words “hip hip.”

What about you? Are you a fellow lover of the word hooray, or do you prefer those y-words like Yes, Yay, and Yippee? Anybody still say Huzzah? Do tell.

finally four

The kids got up before we did this morning, and they quietly went downstairs and started watching TV. When I emerged from the bedroom, I looked down at the kids in the living room and said, “Good morning, kiddos. And happy birthday, Hayden!”

“Is my birthday TODAY?!?!”

He was so excited to be four! He’s been anticipating this birthday for a long time. In fact, a few weeks ago, we had this conversation in the car one afternoon:

HAYDEN: I’m almost a daddy!
ME: You mean you’re almost four? :)
HAYDEN: Yep, I’m almost a daddy. I’ve got three more weeks!

After breakfast this morning, Nana called to wish him a happy birthday, but considering how he was holding the phone, I’m surprised he could even hear her. Good thing the volume was turned all the way up!

After Tim left for work, I grabbed my Crayola markers and VERY quickly made a sign that says “I’M 4”. Does Hayden look happy to be four or what?!

And in honor of Hayden’s fourth birthday today, here are four things I love about him. (There are many more, of course!)

1. I love Hayden’s passion for all modes of transportation. Trucks, cars, airplanes, trains, boats, helicopters — they’re all well represented in his toy collection. When we go to the library, he usually spends his time playing with the boat and the trains instead of looking at books. One day a few weeks ago, we came home from the library with five books, and each of them were about transportation, including fire trucks and taxis.

2. I love Hayden’s giggle. I really should make a recording of it so I can always remember that cute, happy sound.

3. I love that Hayden likes ketchup. He’s a picky little eater, but adding plenty of ketchup apparently makes things much more palatable.

4. I love that Hayden enjoys hanging out as a family. At bedtime when we mention things we’re thankful for, Hayden often says that he’s thankful that he gets to spend time with all of us as a family. And when I asked what kind of picture he wanted on his birthday cake, he said he wanted it to be a family. A family? Really? I asked again a few days ago, and he said the same thing. So a family it is. We’re not having a party until Friday, so I still have a couple days to pull that off.

I love you, Hayden!

sunny day… sweepin’ the clouds away

Today turned into a gray, rainy day, so I thought I’d add a little cheer to the drear by posting a picture I snapped on a sunny day a couple weeks ago.

I love that boy.