Category Archives: Around the house

Joy: imaginations gone wild

It’s hard to capture the sound of kid gut-laughter, slash, giggle overflow in a photo. That’s actually my #1 joy of this friend-filled half-school-and-no-kindergarten-at-all day. But a close second is listening to the playtime of 3 adorably imaginative little girls. Involving a fabric “house” over the dining table, a blanket for carpet, barbies, toy food, sleepover gear, dressups, polly pockets, and lots of use of the words “mother” and “princess” and “baby.”

So. Not bad for a second-place joy. And it’s a good thing there’s two joys today, because I’ve done about 13 loads of laundry to counterbalance. Actually…I better be on the hunt for some more smile-makers. Because I’m stinking sick of laundry.

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Joy: Unexpected gifts

My sweet 7-year-old burst through the door after walking home from school. “MOM! I got you a PRESENT!” (pause while he dug through his backpack, then:) “I found it on the way home from school, and I asked the people who lived in the house on that yard if it was theirs and they said no and that I could KEEP it!!!”

He proudly presented me with this plastic bird. I tried to match his enthusiasm in my receipt. I’m sure I fell short.

Son: “I know how you like pets that are quiet and not messy, so when I saw this, I knew it would be PERFECT for you.”

Hard to beat a perfectly-given gift, eh? I hung the bird (with fishing line…by its neck…shhhh) in an empty decorative bird cage and felt joy.

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Joy: wood floors

We’re coming up on the 3-year anniversary of our Great Flood of 2009. Which expelled us from our home for four months and caused nearly $50k in damage and forever altered the way we view possessions. (Didn’t alter my sweet tooth, though, which, frankly, would’ve been a welcome side effect…)

It was a crazy experience to arrive home from a weeklong vacation and, exhausted, enter an allsofasudden uninhabitably waterlogged house, take a heart-sinking inventory of the damage, and sit in a state of numbness while waiting for the insurance and disaster cleanup people to coordinate. But, over the ensuing days and weeks and months, the shock trasformed into creative fodder for fabulous home improvements. Stuff like new tub surrounds. New doors. New bathrooms. New flooring. New moldings. New arrangements. New new new…

One of the changes we opted for was to replace the ceramic tile floor in the entryway, dining room, and kitchen with red oak. The floor that was once cold and grout-grimy (let’s pretend my lack of housecleaning had nothing to do with that) became warm, welcoming, earthy, and part of the ebb and flow of our home.

To anyone else, the floor is nice but probably nothing special — a place to walk on, sweep (in theory), and spill the occasional glass of milk. But to me, it’s become a talisman of change, of the capacity to make things beautiful when circumstances are anything but. I think you get the point, but just in case, let me be clear: it brings me joy, and I love this floor. Maybe not enough to recommend extensively flooding one’s house to attain such a treasure, but then again, maybe so.*

*But, really, not. Because having a flooded house stinks. 

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Joy: Indoor picnic

On weekends, the last thing I ever want to do is make dinner. Am I weird? (Don’t answer that too honestly…) So you can imagine my delight, nay, JOY, when my daughter had the genius idea to picnic for dinner. At first they wanted to go outside for the feast (they’re really into the idea that it’s warm out there…even asking why haven’t we set up the swimming pool and hammocks and can they eat popsicles). Sometimes I get tired of saying “no,” so I struck the kiddos a deal: if they looked out the front window and saw grass instead of snow in our front yard, then we’d dine outside.

As they beelined up to the living room windows, I crossed my fingers that global warming hadn’t taken effect in the past 25 minutes…and, while I was at it, sent a coupla positive vibes to the polar bears.

Phew. Looks like the snow in our yard (and, I can only assume, the polar bears) were present and accounted for. Indoor dining it was.

Nothing like a little cheese, veggies, apple slices, crackers, and “fancy” mini PBJ samwiches eaten on a blanket in the entryway to make it feel like spring. That was joyful. Short-lived, if I’m being honest, as the kids started arguing about who would sit where. There may or may not have been tears and a piece of thrown cheese involved. But the joyful moment was already documented, so there you have it.

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Joy: Tiny clothespins

There was a guy in college that my roommates and I loved. He was about 10 inches shorter than us girls’ average height, the absolute nicest and cutest, and we adoringly called him “Bite Size.” (Erm, not to his face, though. Too potentially emasculating and, frankly, despite our love for the guy, at his height it’s not something one can risk in good conscience.)

Anywho. For me and for a research-based 93%* of double-X-chromosome bearers out there, tiny stuff = adorably endearing = joy. Bingo on the mini clothespins strung up on wires in our hallway, which has subsequently become the “Kids’ Art Wall.” Which, if you’ll allow me to cheat a little in this post, is an addition to our home that ALSO brings me joy today. Got ourselves a two-fer.

Speaking of bite size and joyful combinations, though…anyone else getting a hankering for some Butterfingers, Halloween-style (e.g., steal-’em-from-your-kid’s-bucket-in-the-dead-of-night-then-spread-around-the-remaining-candy-so-it-looks-just-as-full)? No? Oh. Yeah, me either.**

*Lie.

**Total lie.

Today’s poll (answer to see results):
Best bite-size candy bar

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