12 November 2008

The fun stuff

I have an overwhelming to-do list of tasks around here, most of them organizational or cleaning related, and I try to do at least 1 a day. But I decided I needed to do a little something fun around the house last week, so I spent Friday morning (we were out of school!) arranging my Thanksgiving decor in my still red dining room. Earlier last week, during the last of the mild weather, I finished painting and distressing the $70 flea market dining set I got with my birthday money, and this weekend I recovered the formerly gold velvet chair seats with a brown linen I stumbled upon fortuitously at the Nixa Wal-Mart of all places. I am happy with how the set turned out, but I still want to paint the walls of the dining room a more neutral color and put up blinds and pretty cottage drapes. And put stuff on the walls and find a rustic pine sideboard or something. And a rug, and...But for now, with the table covered in simple burlap, set with my turkey plates, I walk through this room and smile. I filled a couple of my vintage turkey vases with some berries I cut out in my woods and dried overnight and I scattered the table with my old Thanksgiving postcards and some crocheted leaves I found at Tuesday Morning. There is not supposed to be a black cat on the table knocking over my cute stuff. I am afraid she will eat the berries and be poisoned. Or get cat hair all over everything, which is far more likely. I will try to take some other pictures of the table and post some close-ups. We will go to a fabulous Thanksgiving Day feast at Ryan's parents' house, so I don't know that I will have any visitors to enjoy the table I've set. It's mostly just for pretty and mostly just for me. But that's okay. Amidst the undone chaos of the rest of the house, I see this table as a shining beacon of potential, of where my beautiful but bare home is headed.

First Halloween in the new 'hood

Wow. The residents of our new neighborhood really got into the Halloween spirit. Probably 85% of the houses had porch lights on and friendly neighbors passing out treats, and several had big bowls of candy on the steps with a sign to help ourselves. We had a bunch of trick-or-treaters early in the evening, including one little boy who, standing in our doorway taking in the surroundings, said, "Really nice place you've got here!" We went the self-serve bowl route, too, and headed out for our own rounds later. Macauley randomly chose to be Bumblebee from the Transformers, passing up the Dash costume we wanted him to get (he did, after all, spend the entire summer refusing to answer to his own name and wanting to be called Dash) because it was labeled "Mr. Incredible" and not specifically Dash, even though it could pass for either. Oh well. We plucked down the $29.99 at Target and called it good. He has become great friends with the adorable little blonde right next door, Miss Megan, here cleverly disguised as a beguiling genie. Most days our doorbell rings and we open the front door to that cute little face inquiring, "Can Macauley play?" She is just precious. We have, however, encouraged her to stop looting Booker's treat jar and eating his giant MilkBones. She just loves them for some reason and has eaten at least 2 of them. We don't want her parents to think we have no appropriate snacks and are feeding their daughter dog food...she just sneaks them!

Macauley and I did minimal Halloween decorating on the porch. I missed buying mums and corn stalks and by the time I was ready to do it only the scraggliest plants were left, so we just went with what I could find in my scattered decor: a mum Barb gave us a housewarming gift, a gaggle of pumpkins gathered at miscellaneous pre-holiday festivities, some plug-in jack-o-lanterns and a feather wreath I made last year. I can't believe that rag-tag carpet scrap being used as a pathetic welcome mat made the picture! I have since discarded that. My parents came up to spend the holiday with us, and they made the neighborhood loop with us, too. Macauley got so much candy that the plastic bag he was using to hold it all (I couldn't find his regular, more sturdy trick-or-treat gear) became so heavy the handles broke and poor Papa had to tote it around for him and approach the last half of the doors alongside Macauley. What a lucky boy to have so many people in his life who just adore him. Once we hit all the nearby houses, we loaded into the car to visit Uncle Paul and Aunt Debbie on Kimbrough, Aunt Amy on Fairway and a final stop at Andy's Frozen Custard for a treat for all of us. As we got in the car to leave the house, a small group of pre-teen boys came up the sidewalk to ring the doorbell. I called out to them that we were out of candy and heading out for the night, then as they walked away, Macauley rolled down the car window and shouted, "Actually, we have a bunch of candy inside on the kitchen counter! The door's unlocked! Go on in! Help yourselves!"

My dad turned 55 on the 30th of October so we celebrated his birthday on Saturday with lunch at La Fiesta with Lindsay and Tyson and then we took my dad shopping at a running store to spend the gift certificate Lindsay and I gave him. He ran the Bass Pro 10k that morning and got 3rd in his age group. He is inspiring to me. I wish I was in such good shape, and I hope when I am 55 I look and feel as great as he does. He helped us set up our new flat-screen TV and he and Tyson helped Ryan move our old clunker big screen from the garage up the stairs to our bonus room. Our movers measured and claimed it couldn't clear the turn in the stairway, but I think they were just tired after a long, long day of lugging all my heavy stuff around. Our neighborhood had a block party that Saturday evening and we went down for a little socializing after my parents headed home. Macauley got flames and skulls painted like tattoos all down his arms and had a blast running around with all the kids who live near us. There are so many! Moving here was such a great decision for Macauley. He is in his element.

Life without technology

I found my camera cord so I can get back to posting a few pictures! We went for about a month without Internet or TV (other than a couple of fuzzy channels), but we found ways to fill the time. We kind of taught Macauley to play Uno, but every time I thought he'd finally grasped the concept of playing a card that matches in number or color to the one previously played, he would throw down a completely disconnected card, and then another and then another. Still, though, he has managed to win 10 games to my 2. One evening, he asked to draw a tattoo on my arm with his washable markers and he went for a full sleeve. More than I was anticipating, but how sweet: "I love you." and a drawing of the 2 of us. I think it is so cute that he uses a (usually oversized) period after most of what he writes now, something he learned at school and explained to me one day not too long ago. He also made use of 1 of the many emptied boxes by turning it into a theatre of sorts, stuffing the box with pillows, several stuffed animals, his Cabbage Patch Kid and his portable DVD player. Oh, and a big bowl of popcorn. Now we have a computer up and running and over 200 channels on 4 TVs around the house, but I think Macauley would still prefer to play with a cardboard box or draw on my arm. Or dominate (with loads of my assistance) at Uno.

We've had our share of exhaustion and tension around here, with the move and not having sold our old house and just lots of adjustments. Macauley and I argued pretty intensely a few days ago (about exactly what I can't even remember now) and after the dust settled and we were in the kitchen kind of doing our own things, Macauley said fairly matter-of-factly but mostly kindly: "Mom, when you get mad at me, my love for you--it's still a LOT--but when you get mad at me my love for you goes down just a little." He gestured just how much with a pinch of his little fingers. "But then, when we're not mad anymore, it goes back up!" Heartwrenching. The next night we were reading books in his bed and out of the blue he said, "Mom, when we get mad at each other, my love for you really doesn't go down. It stays up. It stays A LOT. I love you, Mom." My eyes well up just to think of it again. I hate that I let myself get upset with him like I do, usually after a long day of work and over something that later is rather inconsequential. But we've learned to kiss and make up. And every day I vow to be better than I was the day before. Sometimes I am successful. I love that kid. Period.

05 November 2008

Hello! Anyone still out there?

After almost a month, we are finally connected to the Internet at our new house! And while I am generally opposed to posts without pictures, this brief note will have to suffice to say that we are alive and semi-well and thankfully back in touch with the world. This move has been so, so complicated and just might have cured me of my moving fever permanently. We are having our fourth attempt at getting satellite TV this Friday (we got an awesome 50" plasma to mount above our fireplace since DirecTV wouldn't connect our HD without one). The house is livable but there are still boxes and almost no decorations up. I don't know why, maybe it's because of work or maybe it's all too overwhelming, or maybe it's because some of my stuff is still at the old house so it's staged, but I just haven't gotten any major inspiration on my decorating of the new house. But it will come. I do love the house and the neighborhood is just the best. We couldn't believe how many people fixed up their houses and were out trick-or-treating or passing out candy Halloween night. Macauley loves his school and has 3 kids from his class who live just up the street. Every day we have to negotiate after school play schedules and there is constantly someone over at our house. We discovered this great trail in the woods behind our house that we've been walking on weekend mornings and sometimes after school. The trail follows a little creek and it's all so pretty and woodsy you forget you're in the middle of town. We can let Booker off his leash on the trail and he is one happy dog when we do. I don't know if you've ever seen a dog smile, but if you have, you know what I mean when I say he has that happy dog look the whole walk. Even our cat, Maya Angelou, walked the entire distance with us one morning. So we are mostly taking little baby steps here and there to getting the house in order. I have tried to do at least one "task" each day, sometimes small and others bigger (and this is all in addition to the 100 everyday, routine tasks that must be done), but I just try to check one thing off the seemingly endless to-do list each day. I have gone back to the old house to check on things a couple of times, and it makes me sad, even though I am totally where I want to be. It's such a cute house, all empty. We hired a new realtor a couple of weeks ago, and she thinks she has a buyer who plans to write a contract next week or so (when his divorce is final). So there is hope. We are ready to close that chapter and throw ourselves into this new one. I still walk through this house and think, "I live here? I live here!" I love pulling up to the house at the end of the day. I feel so lucky. And now we have Internet and can get our computers and offices set up again and I can get back to blogging. I've missed it. And there have been many bloggable moments over this last month that I'm afraid I have forgotten or will forget entirely. Oh well. You do what you can do, I suppose. Macauley and I are out of school this Friday, so he gets to go to Arkansas to spend the weekend with my parents. I will meet my mom tomorrow for her to take him. I am looking forward to a quiet weekend with Ryan. I may not even make him do a bunch of stuff around the house. Maybe.


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