Saturday, August 1, 2015

#2,049 30 Days + Mammaw's Kitchen.

It took me by surprise what an emotional day this was for me.

You know about my anxiety about turning 30 on August 30.

So, this morning the moment I opened my eyes, I smelled bacon cooking. Ben was up, apparently making breakfast for everybody and I sent him a text from bed that asked, "Are the kids up yet?" And he walked in the room, and turned on the lamp and handed me a card and a little paper book.
He gave me a big mooney grin and said he'd be right back after he flipped the pancakes on the griddle, and I sat there, reading a book he made himself with Elmer's glue and clip art. Today is August 1, which means I have 30 days left in my twenties, and this book contains lists that amount to 3 trips and 30 days of activities that will celebrate being alive and turning 30, activities that he knows I love, places I want to see, things I've wanted to do but haven't, things from my past and things from our story, and I sat there sobbing feeling the embarrassment of riches of having a man who cares for me so extravangantly. My heart was broken when he came back into the room because I don't know how to ever thank him for the way he loves me or how to show it back to him. I held on tight to him, my arms wrapped around his big chest and cried and wailed—the happiest tears. This month will be wonderful. This entire life will be wonderful, because I'm sharing every step and every moment with him. The first thing to cross off the list: mountains of pumpkin spice pancakes with Jim, Mal, and the kids even though it's not fall, because it's my favorite season.

I haven't stopped swooning for this man since I woke up today—on the verge of tears from beginning to end. Later in the morning we went out to my parents to see John Walker. Ben spent an hour rolling and jumping in the floor with these two and Hooper, pretending to be a bear, making Walker scream in delight. Again, my heart broke. I have no idea why. It's just the way he lives so voraciously and joyfully is inspiring to me, and Walker growing up takes a toll on me, too:

Afterward we stopped by my Mammaw's house where Clark and Daddy are cleaning things up so Clark and his family can live there for a little while while they build their new house. I somehow managed another potentially crippling emotional moment, sorting through her kitchen goods with Daddy, who enouraged me to take home anything that was special to me. And goodness, were there so many things that were special to me. I came home with the marble rolling pin she used to make pie crusts, the bakeware bowl she kept in the top cabinet above the stove:
The glass tea pitcher she filled every morning, always ready for guests in the refrigerator with a tin foil lid to keep it fresh, and most precious of all—her stainless biscuit making bowl. This is the bowl she used every time she made a pan of biscuits, the bowl she used to teach me how to make a nest in the flour with my tiny fist before adding the shortening and buttermilk, a bowl that even after scrubbing keeps the years of her milky fingerprints in its finish:

I barely got through that washing without crying, while Ben worked carefully disassembling her stand mixer to repair the missing parts and shorted electrical cord. I'll share that in a later post, and probably cry over it then. To cheer things up, he told me we were crossing off the next thing on the list—a trip to my childhood at Sawmill Square Mall, and lunch at Tacos, my first job when I was 15. It was a hysterical and delightful way to spend a couple hours:

I think they were totally impressed with the authenticity of said tacos.

And finally, we went home to get ready for supper club at Ross and Laura's house where we played mega Jenga and got scared every time it would fall, even if we saw it coming:
I can't really express what today felt like for me, emotionally. I saw my life up to this point flash before my eyes, in a way.

And I think that's the hard thing about birthdays, the way we count the passage of time, but I'm learning that that's the amazing thing about birthdays, too. That's the way a good life is lived, measured, and remembered.

Friday, July 31, 2015

#2,048 Fall Fake Out + House Guests.

When we woke up this morning it was a crisp 74 degrees outside. 74 DEGREES IN JULY, Y'ALL.

We couldn't get outside to have our breakfast fast enough and then we lingered there, working on ideas for a Lucky Luxe ad campaign starting soon. It was heavenly. The feeling of fall in the air changes my heart deeply somehow—isn't that strange? It's just weather. But it's so much more than weather.

No, I did not wear this lotion today!.............
Well, not much.

After work we went to Hattiesburg for dinner with the Tews and Razzles at Bianchi's then met Sam and Lyn to pick up Ellie and Jared, our niece and nephew who are staying the weekend with us while their parents take a little trip for Lyn's birthday. I'm so excited to do the things I loved when I was 8 and 14 with them, and the things I love to do now at 29 (like, say, pancakes and fluffernutter sandwiches).

As always, Ellie found her favorite on our coffee table: the Book of Beards, and gave us commentary on each photo.

And then we watched Angus, because it's important when you're 14.

Tomorrow Ben has secret plans that will be the kick off of my birthday month. I don't know what he has planned for the weeks ahead in an effort to ease my gloomy feelings about turning 30, but he know better than anyone how to make me feel loved and comforted when nothing else can.

I'm entering the last month of my twenties. Let's make it a good one!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

#2,047 Bust Out.

The morning was so beautiful, with bright sunshine streaming through the trees on our walk with the pups to the "swimming pool."

So beautiful, in fact, neither the Weather Channel nor Ben and I figured it would rain today. Not a chance, we thought. Ben leaves the garage open anytime a cloud might come up, knowing Baker's tendency to play dead or run in possibly stormy conditions.

But then.

Clouds started to fill the sky this afternoon. It didn't thunder, that I noticed. But then my phone rang and it was Tyrone, the Chief of Police's cell phone. I thought that either Ben had been in a terrible accident and it was AWFUL news, or, he needed a logo design for a walk-a-thon or something. Instead, he said, "Erin—this is Tyrone. Is Baker at home?"

And, sitting in my studio, I thought... Well, I think so. Yes? He said, "Officer Caraway is pretty sure she just saw him running down the sidewalk to the animal clinic, so she followed him right to the door and they let him inside. He must've gotten scared of the weather. I don't know if they checked for a tag, but we're pretty sure it's him."

My pup couldn't get in the garage so he busted through the gate and went to the only other place he knew to go, 2 blocks away to the vet. How adorable is that?

Before we could hang up, my daddy was beeping in. Tyrone's brother, Kim, my own personal security detail when I worked at the mall in high school and one of daddy's very best employees ever at the hospital when he was just a young man, is now a detective at the Laurel Police Department, and called him to call me in case it was Baker.

And before we could hang up, the vet was beeping in to tell me they had him safe and sound.

And before we could hang up, Holly who works across the street from our house at the art museum was seeing if Baker was okay, because she saw Chevy in the front yard and helped him back home.

And so, Ben went to the vet to pick up our big scaredy pup, who was just fine.

And THIS. Is the wonderful thing about living in a small town, like I said last night. In a town like Laurel, there's not police brutality, but there are police escorts protecting neighborhood dogs trying to take themselves to the vet.

I love this town.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

#2,046 The Last Gilmore Girls.

Tonight we watched the Gilmore Girls finale. I looked forward to it all day, but I was also dreading it because that means it's the end of one of my favorite routines with Ben that we've shared for 154 nights, together on the sofa right at bedtime. It's the only time we turned on our TV for the better part of the last year.

What is it about a really good TV drama that gets you hooked and then you miss those people when it's over, the same way you miss the characters when you finish a great book?

If you haven't watched it, you owe it to yourself. It's like a Mitford book at bedtime, sweet and easy to drift off to sleep after, to dreams of small towns and close friends. And if you're lucky enough, you just might get to live in a small town that makes you feel that very same way in real life every day.

Reluctantly, and only finally at the bitter end... #TeamLogan.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

#2,045 Peach Nehi.

So, we don't drink.

Alcohol, I mean.

We don't need it though. Because:

Have you HAD a Nehi Peach before in your life? After a stressful day, lame as it is, a Nehi Peach smoothes over most any bump in the road. Ben grabbed one for me on the way out to my parents tonight when he paid for gas, and he might as well have given me a trip to Europe. Or a Snapple Apple—also exciting when stumbled upon.

Obviously, I spent today chained to my desk so there's not much to report—but this. This really was a wonderfully thoughtful moment that made me feel very loved. Take note husbands of the world! It doesn't take much, just a little daily kindness, to love your wives well.

Today is Josh's birthday! Happy day, you ole travelin' so and so!

Monday, July 27, 2015

#2,044 iPhoto Lives.

Thanks to a little Googling, I figured out how to rebuild my iPhoto library and saved everything from my hard drive that was failing. Woo! I know some of you out there have got to feel my relief about this. I've been compiling all these folders of life events since 2008 and I just knew they were all lost to a faulty hard drive. I nearly cried when I saw this after it finished rebuilding:
Jackpot! Celebrate with me, Jenny!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

#2,044 Watermelon.

When it's almost August, and there's a great breeze blowing, and the weekend is almost over, and you've got an ice cold watermelon in the fridge, there's only one thing you can do.

I'm turning 30 in August. When I think of how easily I can feel being 16, like it was yesterday, it scares me to think how far away from it I am. Anybody? How can I be 30? Help!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

#2,043 Reading Saturday.

Well, so, day 3 without iPhoto and I've tried downloading Picasa to import photos from my phone but that wouldn't work either, but my new hard drive should be formatted for Mac and ready to go Monday so forgive me for another brief post. It's tricky typing this much from my phone, you see.

I can't fully express the level of homebody-ness that occurred today. I did not step foot outside the house until supper time when I went to visit mammaw. For most of the day we deep cleaned the house and read. I offered to keep John Walker for Clark and Amanda while they moved today, but they insisted he was all set. So:
I spent one gloriously lazy day at home, reading and working through The Firestarter Sessions. If you have the slightest entrepreneurial leaning, it's a great one to read. As the sun was setting we went to Jim and Mal's to see the Hickners and Austin, in town for the weekend. We hung out on their porch listening to Zac Brown Band and Louis Armstrong while the guys grilled. The summer heat was not just bearable, but a little cool tonight and it made me feel romantic toward my least favorite season for a few hours, imaging how my northerner friends must do it. Fireside, I hope with a light long sleeve? I mean, it wasn't THAT cool out, but I could imagine it at least. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

#2,042 Pizza Night.

Tonight Ben and I were invited to have dinner with Jonathan and Gabrielle, where we were lucky enough to meet their darling baby boy, Brooks. We collaborated with Jonathan on a project all May and June, and it was so good to see him outside of work, to talk about life. We had pizza and homemade ice cream (which we've rarely done since Ben's time in youth ministry) and talked easily, like old friends, and before we realized it 4 hours had flown by. It was such a departure for us—going to a new house in a town we've rarely passed through, and somehow, we all felt so familiar. It was really lovely.

I would love to show you photos of that, but alas, my iPhoto is still not working. I'm getting an external hard drive to transfer my iPhoto library to tomorrow, in hopes the problem is just the current external hard drive it's living on.

That sounds like I know what I'm doing, maybe. Fingers crossed!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

#2,041 Labels + Nutella Bread.

I found a very happy surprise in the mailbox this morning at the shop... 

Suddenly it all feels very real! Ahhhh! Now I've got to get busy making things!

Also, let's all just drool for a moment over the Nutella banana bread our sweet friend Laura left on our front porch this evening for absolutely no reason other than she knows how everyone loves it and she gives it away at will:

It's so dense and chewy and wonderful and Ben is eating low carb and it's all mine and I need to share it and I wish you could help me!

Kind of. 

The blog is puny tonight because I can't get iPhoto to launch on our computer and I'm feeling sort of panicked that I've lost all my photos... Any tech savvy folks know how to fix a 2008 Mac's iPhoto? Anybody?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

#2,040 Designer Rolodex.

Since we started making invitations way back in 2009, Nole of Oh So Beautiful Paper has been one of our very biggest supporters and promoters. When she introduced the Designer Rolodex, we were one of the first shops to join and I'm so thankful for the continued support she's shown us over the years. I can say with 100% certainty she's one of those people in our story who made it possible to do this as a full-time career. Today she did her weekly installment of 'Meet the Rolodex' on her instagram and it was our turn, with 4 posts all about our work and our shop, and we made so many new friends because of it. What an enormous blessing it is to have friends who lift us up and make our dreams possible.

Goodness. Thank you, Nole!

And thank you for your sweet feedback on yesterday's post! There's a reason we're all here right now—and I think it's got a lot to do with the way home smells and feels and the people we love who are there. Am I right?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

#2,039 Coming Home.

I got to the shop this morning around 9:00 and I sat at my desk and did not get up except to get a glass of water and microwave 6 Totino's Pizza Rolls at 1:00. I'll have my nose to the grindstone every day for the next two weeks while I create new work for Violet, and it's a very tedious process. When I finally left work today it was almost 6:00 and my back was aching and my eyes were dry from staring at the monitor for so many hours without stopping.

But then.

I pulled into the driveway and walked in the front door. It smelled so good—the combination of "our house" (a mix of old house, laundry detergent, and the tiniest bit of the Gladys' Kitchen candle sitting open in the living room) and something savory. Dinner was cooking. Ben was playing Neil Young, Heart of Gold (go ahead and click play over here), in the kitchen making dinner. Spaghetti, garlic breadsticks and salad with all kinds of fancy toppings. He spent most of the day in the woodshop building, but snuck away early enough to go to the grocery store. This was the sweetest thing to see after a day chained to my computer:

And then, a long neighborhood walk to let my spine stretch back to its proper configuration after a day of sitting. Oh, it felt so very GOOD out there tonight.

Monday, July 20, 2015

#2,038 Design Day + Stamp.

There's not a lot to tell you about today quite yet, just that I spent most of it designing the new invitation I was telling you about yesterday that makes my heart beat fast when I think of it. I hope it turns out half as pretty in print as I'm imagining it. In other news, I made a stamp for the backs of samples when we mail them out to cut out confusion:

And even though it was 1.8 billion degrees outside today, a breezy night made for the loveliest walk after dinner at Cracker Barrel and the sky did that thing it does behind our house sometimes that makes me feel all in love with God's creation and this tiny town.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

#2,037 Stormy Sunday.

After a huge lunch at my parents, the clouds were gathering and I was feeling so so sleepy. We went home and settled in for a nap, and thunder shook the house and woke me for just a second, long enough to realize it was flooding outside, and I happily closed my eyes for another hour.

Later, at Jim and Mallorie's, I found the seedling of inspiration for our next invitation design that I think could be our most popular design to date. I'm SO EXCITED TO DESIGN IT TOMORROW!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

#2,036 The Big Chill Dance Party.

She's back! Mama is writing again and today her new column debuted in The Chronicle. I'm so proud and excited to see her back in her old routine!

Tonight, Ross and Laura invited us and the Razzles over to grill out.

With all fresh meats from The Knight Butcher. It was like our own little Brazillian steakhouse with all kinds of sampling. It's crazy how people have been not just supporting our new little local butcher, but are like, CRAZY PEOPLE ABOUT HOW MUCH WE ALL LOVE IT. This is obviously not vegan country around here.

But the thing that matters about this dinner party was how it transpired into a dance party in the living room. Ross and Laura have a record player and a million old records like The Big Chill soundtrack which entertained us to no end. Big and Lucy are dance partners, ready to go on the road with a traveling show.

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