27 March 2007

harbinger of warmer days

Last week's steady waves of rain have tinted the earth green, pushed us headlong into the fullness of spring.

The late March air gathers warmth, stirs up budding, winging, greening things. New life creeps and sprouts: emerging softly, soon to barrel into glorious summer.



Every spring I am reminded that, ah yes, I do love this place. The muddy browns and greys (my apologies for the lack of patriotism, but I prefer the English "grey" to the American "gray") recede at the last long breath of winter, and my yard transforms to this:





Warmth and beauty. Right around the corner.

22 March 2007

And this is how you know

...that your four-year-old has seen Lilo & Stitch a few too many times.

Him: "But why do I have to pick up my books?"

Me: "Because Mommy and Daddy's friends are coming over soon."

Him: "All right." (Thinking pause.) "What planet are they from?"

21 March 2007

I *heart* Grandma


Here's my latest design, inspired by Elle's two fantabulous grandmothers. (The grandpas aren't half bad, either.)



Looks like she's hitching a ride to Grandma's house, eh?

17 March 2007

From the desk of the holiday-Nazi

Anyone else think July 21st should be a national (perhaps multi-national) holiday?

Not that I'm saying that the arrival of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is a holy day. Or that the fictional Mr. Teen Angst ranks right up there with veterans and independence and Martin Luther King, Jr.

I'm just saying, pragmatically, that a holiday would make sense. I mean, it's a Saturday, so hopefully you're off work in the first place. But for the weekend work-force, I envision an onslaught of vacation days, personal days, and hack, hack..."I'm too sick to come in to work today. Really." phone calls on that third Saturday of July.

Not to mention all the people who will be deep-frying hash browns, tossing newspapers at front doors, and operating heavy machinery with one nose stuck in the novel. Can you spell safety hazard?

Or the die-hards who'll raid Wal-Mart at midnight to nab one of the first copies sold, then proceed bug-eyed through the book so they can finish Voldemort's demise before their six AM shift. Ever had your maples trimmed by a guy who just pulled an all-nighter? Or your case tried in federal court? Or your spleen removed?

S-A-F-E-T-Y H-A-Z-A-R-D. I'm just saying.

So let's all petition the President or the Queen or somebody and get this holiday instated for the good people of HP fandom.

Unless you're of the ilk who believe Snape's evil. If you happen to find yourself in that particular camp, I say no holiday for you.

:)

13 March 2007

For the love of all things rectangular

Confession: I've got this thing for boxes. Particularly the kind sent to me. In the mail.

Just holding that scuffed-up block of cardboard makes me giddy with the whole potential of it, the what-could-be-inside-the-box of it.

The funny thing is, it doesn't matter so much what I actually discover inside. Although, now that I think of it, there are quite a few things I wouldn't want to find there. A pickle for example. Don't mail me a pickle in a box. (Okay, unless they're of the dill variety and still cold and fresh and crunchy, in which case you'd better send more than one.)

So lately I've upped my box-giddiness to a whole new level. I'll let you in on a little secret (because if you've read this far into a post about boxes, for goodness' sake, you deserve some inside information). If you live in the US, just take a short visit to USPS.com. With a few quick clicks, I can--completely free of charge--send a box to myself.

Yes I know, and it gets better: when that box comes and I open it, the box-love multiplies tenfold because it is--drumroll--crammed full of boxes! Oh my, I could almost self-combust on the spot.

Now be warned, you do actually have to use these boxes for mailing stuff. You can't set them about the house to hold potted plants or dispense napkins. Which is the brilliant thing about running a small home business: one never runs out of weekly Things To Mail. So one gets to mail boxes full of boxes to herself repeatedly. Oh, the cycle of joy.

And if you don't live in the US...well, nevermind the whole Land Of Opportunity thing we supposedly have going on over here, just come for the box-love. So unbelievably worth it.

:)

10 March 2007

He's here!



My very first nephew.

Boy, is he ever precious. *Sigh.*

07 March 2007

03 March 2007

I Am Nicole

This post is fashioned after the ever-popular "I Am" writing contest, which I first discovered in Cara's blog. If the length seems daunting, read it in installments throughout the week. :)



I am the only daughter of a man who grew up lucky as the foreman's son on a pineapple plantation on Kauai. A man who, as a boy, wore skin brown from the sun, and grabbed at every chance to play baseball. A man who grew into a pastor and whose rounded cheeks seemed fit to burst when he'd smile at his own silly jokes.

I am the middle child of a farmgirl-turned-mother who was timid, yet brave enough to leave the land she knew and shape a life, a home with three children on an island swallowed by the vast Pacific. A frugal mother who religiously rinsed bread bags and mixed powdered milk into liquid chalk, all so she could be the one to fill our hours with hopscotch and Encyclopedia Brown and painting water pictures on the sidewalk. Who knew, intuitively, that scraping by in exchange for the riches of mommy-time was a marvelous trade indeed.

I am the child who played chase and scaled fallen trees with the mostly-boys in our townhouse complex, deep green groundcover itching at our ankles. The one who begged to help my dad open the neighborhood pool on Saturdays, when the morning water sat cold and freshly chlorinated. Whose idea of high fashion was surf jams and jelly shoes. Whose blessedness is measured by the fact that my single childhood tragedy was the death of my puppy, Sugar, broken by a heavy branch falling from a tree.

I am the preteen-turned-Cinderella overnight; suddenly, surprisingly noticed by all the boys as if doused in fairy dust. Who tripped all over myself in the ensuing case of vanity. Who wore stretch pants, dangly earrings, and teased my bangs sky-high. Who took a while to learn to be a good friend.

I am the teenager wrapped up in a pursuit of romance. Who often went to school in whatever t-shirt I wore to bed the night before; who woke up with just enough time to brush my teeth and pull into the parking lot as the first bell rang. Who found quiet joy in an afternoon job playing with preschoolers. Who thought it strangely wondrous how different the beach was at night: sharp points of stars, sand cooling beneath my feet, water ebbing and pulling like thinned ink. Who danced to Bryan Adams and Boys II Men and had a penchant for "classics" from the sixties. I am the girl who finally learned to love, but with a boy who left gaping wounds in his wake. Who was prom queen and valedictorian, yet knew I fooled no one; who sensed I was all shell and no substance. Who left for a college far, far away just to survive.

I am the college girl who tried cheerleading purely for the love of stunting. Who hated every other aspect of cheering, including the unnerving shock of exposure donning a skirt that never touched the back of my legs. Who fractured my clavicle on the soccer field and subsequently thought codeine a mighty smart invention. Who laughed at college boys with marriage proposals in their eyes. Who traveled to Spain and Portugal on a missions trip, and thought the bougainvilleas seemed just like home. Who watched her someday-to-be-husband playing puppets with the curly-haired children who flocked to him, and developed a soft spot for him in my heart. A soft spot that never did go away.

I am the woman turned mother too soon, but who loved her baby and clung to her husband and did her best until it turned out all right. I am the woman who is nothing anyone hoped for or expected of me. Who is sometimes bothered by this, plagued with restlessness. But who, when my brain is plugged in right, knows with certainty that money and prestige could never carry me anywhere I really wanted to be. Who kisses the crowns of four little heads and knows I wouldn't barter this life for all the diamonds in the bowels of Africa.

I am the woman who still feels like a girl playing house some days. Who chafes at cleaning but does it anyway because clutter and grime assault my personal peace. Who loves the idea of baking with her children, but has a thing against flour on the floor. Who will plod on, bleary-eyed, till 4 AM just to finish a good novel. Whose heart rends into jagged pieces when I read of children crushed by poverty, slavery, horrific war. Who would love to spend a summer, a decade, a lifetime singing them to sleep at night.

I am the person who, in spite of all of the above, all of the selfish ugliness and the injuries inflicted on everyone within my reach, has been redeemed by a grace larger than my pain. Who trusts that God knows what He's doing and is able to find use for me yet.

02 March 2007

boa vinda

That means "welcome" in Portuguese, and if you don't speak Portuguese, we already have so much in common because neither do I. :) So here's a hearty boa vinda to all you ultimate blog party-ers who are stopping by to chat.



A bit about me: I'm a WAHMama of four, wife of one, and I don't normally party, but I had to make an exception here.

I'm an independent designer of children's couture (Sweet Tea Boutique), and I'm branching out into etsy (soon! be on the lookout!) with my love for all things artsy.

I grew up on the island of Oahu and now reside in the midwest US, and before you question my sanity I'll just concede that most days I'm not all the way sane. :) But I do love it here, except for in March. March is ucky. February too, come to think of it. But never fear, for in April I will be loving it again.

And now for an icebreaker (I stole er, borrowed this idea from Creature Comforts):

"What three words best describe you during your childhood...and what three describe you now?"

I'll be the gracious hostess and bare my soul first:

cautious, conscientious, promising

resilient, deliberate, wry

Okay, now you! Either include your answer in a comment, or if you're feeling shy today, you can e-mail me instead. And to clarify, this game is open to everyone, whether you're ultimate-blog-partying with us or not. :) Yay!

Don't hog the dip




So I'm not much of a party gal, myself, but this one's too good to miss. And since I hate showing up anywhere solo, I'm inviting y'all along to The Ultimate Blog Party by 5 Minutes for Mom.

What is it, you say? Just a week full of visiting and chatting with other bloggin' mamas, fashioning friendships and the like.

Not a mama? Not even female? That's a-okay. Everyone's included in this here shebang, so don your party hat and let's go! :)

01 March 2007

je suis finis



Finally.

And the listing is up and running if you'd like to take a sneakity-peek. :)