Back in December we did some rearranging indoors in order for me to have more efficient studying space when I decided to go to grad school. A bigger bookshelf needed to be built because, well, I love to read. Buying books is almost as fun as reading them- almost. I love the heaviness of hardcover books, the crisp edges of unbent pages- there's even something magical to me about used books (you know, trying to figure out why someone highlighted this or why that phrase was underlined). Anyways, Jon was so sweet and built me a bigger bookshelf. Then as I chose a couple of books to send to Goodwill he said, "You know, we should have a book box in our neighborhood."
So he built one.
The doors are made from old picture frames we had in storage. The roof is sheet metal leftover from fixing our grill's grease catch. Like, HOW HANDY IS MY HUSBAND?! I am literally so impressed. He isn't a huge reader like Lincoln and I, but he knew this would be an act of love for us. And I am super appreciative.
Our little library is already filled! We only had a few books to put in initially, but we see people stopping by daily to drop off or grab a book. It's really cool to watch people pause on their neighborhood walks, browsing. The kids and I do try not to stare because we don't want to be creepers, but it just brings us so much joy. We can register the book box on Little Free Library and get an official number for it, so we will probably do that in the near future. But for now we're just enjoying the new wave of visitors it's bringing by our driveway. :)
At the beginning of quarantine my Grandi sent this dress to me and requested that I do a photoshoot with Salem wearing it. It was her dress when she was seven years old. It's funny to me that Salem fits into it perfectly before she's even five (Salem is a big kid though.)
My Grandi was one of six kids- two girls and four boys. They lived on a farm and at times her dad worked three jobs to provide. She always tells me what a hard worker he was and how deeply he loved his family. But even with his hard work and multiple jobs, money was scarce and they rarely had new things. So everyone grew up respecting and caring for the things they did have, especially clothes.
Grandi remembers the "thrill of getting this new dress." She wore it strictly on Sunday or special occasions and remembers having black shoes with laces to go with it. Grandi talks about how special it made her feel to wear this dress. It's funny how some things remain the same through all generations and periods of time, like the way a special outfit makes you feel. Salem has certain dress up clothes or outfits that make her feel very special or grown up. Everyone is the same in those aspects. :) It's so special that I can tangibly see what that was for my grandma.
There's actually a photograph of me as a kid wearing this dress, but I have no idea where it is or who might have it. One of these days it will turn up in an old album or something and I'll include it on this post.
I love this picture because I adore Salem's freckles. I was always so freckly as a kid too.
I hope these photos are what my grandma had in mind. Because my Grandi means the actual world to me. I hope these photos of her great-granddaughter wearing her own childhood dress is what she'd envisioned and is something she can cherish for forever.
Since my last blog post a worldwide pandemic has erupted. We're halfway through week 3 of being quarantined to our homes and everyone is starting to get a bit stir crazy (even introverts like myself). People are doing all kinds of crazy shenanigans (like TikTok- insert eye roll emoji- ), including accepting challenges like this #nailedit challenge someone from church invited Jon and I to join in on.
We had to recreate this^ masterpiece, which was intimidating to say the least. I've never attempted fondant before, like ever. I also have a history of making my iced cupcakes look like the poop emoji, accidentally of course. But Greenlaws always enjoy a challenge. ;)
I acknowledge that a blog post as means of documentation is way extra, but doing Facebook Live or any kind of video is just too intimidating for this introvert.
The bottom layer is two stacked, round cakes with icing in between the layers. A friend told me that I could double the amount of icing if I used my mixer. I'll be honest, I was super shocked that it worked. But one tub of icing lasted frosting the bottom two cakes around the outsides/in between as well as between the top two layers.
So this contest was supposed to be for amateurs, but what the judges don't know is that Jon is my secret weapon. He's actually semi-profesh. He won a first place trophy with his dad for baking the tallest cake in first grade. (This was by accident though, and the cake was affectionately named "The Blob.")
Anyways, we made two more cakes and cut them smaller for the top layers. Stacked again with frosting. Our kids are gonna be in a sugar coma when they try a slice of this...
Let me just say, no amount of money can ever tempt me to use fondant again. No food bribes either- that includes tacos. This was so time consuming and hard. Thank goodness my husband thrived in his college pottery class and I happen to be a mom expert on Play-Dough. Same same, right?
At this step we realized we made a mistake. The fondant should've gone on the bottom layer as one whole piece before we frosting-glued the smaller layers on top. But it was too late because everything was already stuck together. Oops.
We had to cut a hole out of the center to slide it over a piece of the top layer. Improvising worked though.
Thankful my husband is a perfectionist when it comes to details because I was FED UP with this stuff. Just, nope.
I give 100% of that credit to my husband.
I am aware that my husband looks extremely unamused. I promise you, he was having a truckload of fun. He was just "in the zone". And this cake was taking its toll on us after a grueling two days of hard work. (We now look like 70 year olds.)
FOR THE FINAL PRODUCT...
These flowers are ALL my husband's handiwork.
Yes, I am aware that it appears as though our sweet bunny friend has leprosy on his belly. We love him anyways. No ostracizing in this house.
I know this is a way late post (like way late) but we visited Holland Farms back in October and I finally got around to editing the photos. I didn't want to rush around editing and posting photos simply to have a "fall thing" to post about around Halloween or Thanksgiving, so it's been fun to edit these over the past few months and reflect back on our fun memories.
My sweet daughter started a phase back in August where she would wear fake glasses. They're Harry Potter glasses, but she thought they were Mr. Potato Head glasses. Of course the glasses accompanied us to Holland Farms, as they do everywhere. In early December they got lost or left somewhere, and thankfully at Christmastime sweet Aunt Danielle ordered her another pair (plus two backups!) for Christmas. I love looking back at these photos with her play glasses, especially since Salem is convinced she needs them to help her see.
My handsome six year old has lost a couple more teeth since these photos were taken. It's so easy to forget how quickly kids change. A literal day can go by and big changes happen. Last week he came home from school and had pulled out a tooth that I didn't realize was even very wiggly. I love having pictures to remind me of all these seemingly insignificant changes that shape my kids a little differently each day.
The farm offered a variety of activities. Too many to do in one setting, actually. We could've easily spent a full day there (we only had a few hours the particular day we went) or even gone a couple of times and enjoyed it. There were also plenty of activities for all ages. It was far from boring, for sure.
The kids carefully picked their pumpkins, a task that took probably 30 minutes and lots and lots of discussion. I hope I always remember these little parts of their childhood. Lincoln wanted a huge pumpkin that was almost too big to carry, while Salem wanted a cute tiny one. But then they would change their minds and look for the opposite. It took a while, but they did finally discover their dream pumpkins.
Poor Lincoln dropped his pumpkin as he was carrying it back to the car. The pathway went right beside a pond and it was sort of a downward slope. His pumpkin rolled straight into the pond. There may have been a few tears shed for his perfect pumpkin, but I let him have mine. (All entries to the pumpkin patch come with a free pumpkin.) Oh well.
I think it's pretty rare (and amazing) that the farm doesn't charge any photographer's fees for professional sessions there. It's a beautiful location, albeit crowded, and it's quite generous of them to allow so many people to use their location as a backdrop for photo sessions.
For my midwest family and friends, ^here's a link to the website. Also, WHY is boiled peanuts a thing down here in the south? I just can't bring myself to try them...
But I noticed the website has recipes about how to cook them and they're available for purchase at the farm. It's one cultural thing about the panhandle that I haven't been able to figure out.
And my sweet husband. He insisted on taking my picture, which he usually doesn't or I won't let him. Looking back I'm really grateful that he took this picture even though I objected at the time. I'm always the one behind the camera, so there's minimal pictures of me. It was thoughtful of Jon especially since pictures mean a lot to me as a photographer. I really want to do better at getting photos of me with the kids and photos of just myself that way one day the kids can look back at them. I love looking at pictures of my parents and grandparents from the past. Those are actually some of my most treasured keepsakes.
Soo now in late January, everyone knows about our pumpkin patch experience. :P
I'm really hoping to do better at blogging in 2020 about our experiences everywhere. But I guess better late than never. :]