~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~
Every Thursday, here at Like Mother, Like Daughter!
The bees are hard at work in the garden, and so are we. This is our first real spring in this house (we’ve been here almost a full year — can you believe it?), and it’s fun seeing flowers pop up from bulbs that we didn’t know even existed.
You can drive right up this little mountain near us (the road that winds up and around was built courtesy of the Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps), and enjoy the amazing views at the top with very little effort. I think I’ve shown you photos from here before (and you’ll see more, I’m sure); it’s definitely one of our go-to activities whether we’re on our own or with guests. It’s also one of Pippo’s favorite things to do: he loves to climb around on the rocks “like a mountain goat.”
Between the baby and the camera, I don’t do much mountaintop scrambling. I mostly just take pictures.
My Aunt Ellen is so good about sending mail — I don’t know if she’s ever missed sending a card for my birthday or any of my siblings, or now any of our spouses and kids.
When my husband was getting ready to deploy, she promised to write him letters no matter what, even if she had nothing to relate except the tides (She lives by the ocean, so is on top of these things.)
Sure enough, the Capt. was very happy to receive several chatty letters from her while he was in Afghanistan, with bits of news and goings-on from her neck of the woods — and of course, always the time of the next high tide!
Point being that Aunt Ellen understands that sometimes the nicest thing is to get something in the mail, even if it’s not the Most Exciting Thing Possible (pursuit of which often keeps us lesser souls from ever actually getting the darn thing in the envelope).
She’s started sending Pippo mail, sort of like low-maintenance care packages: care envelopes! I cannot recommend them enough for young far-off friends. (They secretly are the Most Exciting Thing Possible.)
The first time he got an envelope from her, he barely made it through the door with it, and settled down on the doormat to play with stickers. This time he made it all the way into the living room.
In the envelope was a coloring page of a cute bunny and two sheets of stickers (one of which I suspect came from some fundraising mail she had received herself. I would totally have thrown it in the trash in her situation; she recognized that it was pure gold for a little boy, and popped it in the mail!).
So simple, so exciting!
(Pippo is hilarious with stickers, actually. His priority is to get them all stuck asap — he really doesn’t care where — and then he’s done. The cashiers at Trader Joe’s back in California would always give him a big long strip of them, and he’d studiously stick them, one by one, on top of each other on the knee of his pants as he sat in the carseat on the way home.)
Molly is at that stage of early mobility where she often ends up backing herself under furniture.
I bought some Dixie cups at the grocery store to plant seeds in (we didn’t have appropriate recyclables for the job, and I was not willing to stop at another store!), and they are a huge hit over here. Best toy ever.
(Molly loves them too, but eats them too quickly, so for unsupervised play she gets a more durable Solo cup, instead.)
So there you have it: a coloring page and some disposable cups, and the kids are happy for hours.
(They’re not the only ones! At the science museum in Oklahoma City, one of the exhibits is a sort of building area with different stations for the kids to work at. There’s a place where you can build your own roller coaster, a ramp with timing gear where you can race lego cars, a pegboard wall for making Rube Goldberg-like contraptions… and a table set with hundreds of Solo cups. I watched a half-dozen tweens spend an hour building towers while Pippo was figuring out the roller coasters the last time we were there.)
This is a bit of military-family reality here: my to-do list includes paperwork that we owe to DMV’s in not one, not two, but three different states. Ugh. x3. At least if I actually get it all done this week, I can still wrap it into my Lenten mortification, right?
(Ok, in all fairness, I now feel compelled to say that every interaction we’ve had with anyone at the Oklahoma DMV has been nothing short of pleasant — we’re not just talking polite, but friendly. Not just helpful, but problem-solving. And practically no waiting in line. It’s mind-boggling.)