Nothing like a birthday to make a girl realize how spoiled she is. Here's the thing: I realize I'm an adult, and not just an adult-as-technicality, but a wife/mother/past-30 kind of real adult, but I love opening presents. I love giving gifts, but I also love receiving them. A lot. More, perhaps, than is polite. I also happen to have two people in my life who excel at gift-giving. My husband, Wolfman Vaughn, is great at the surprise gift, the for-no-reason gift, the I-saw-this-and-knew-you'd-love-it-but-couldn't-wait-to-give-it-to-you gift. And my grandmother's love language is giving. She's a stockpiler of birthday and Christmas gifts, but also a oh-you-like-that?-take-it kind of giver, and a here-honey kind of giver (and she doesn't take no for an answer). I end up with a lot of stuff. Here's the other thing: I love stuff. I get minimalism, I do. I just happen to enjoy being surrounded by beautiful, charming things. Allow me to celebrate some of the recently acquired stuff in my life.
We're raising our son in my husband's childhood home, which comes with all kinds of perks, financial and sentimental. but it also comes with beige walls. These two thrifted afghans go a long way in brightening up some of this beige I'm working against. Our lawn guy came into the house a couple weeks ago for a glass of water and commented several times on how "cozy" it is--that's the afghans at work. The Betty Boop doll was part of my birthday loot. I had a handmade Betty Boop doll when I was a little girl that was left behind in one of my childhood moves. The surprising thing, though, is how Mads has taken to Betty. One night I came home from work to him already asleep, and tucked into his bed next to him were the stuffed tiger Kath knit for him (which we call Hobbes), his Woody doll, and Betty Boop. Mads calls her the "mommy doll."
Aside from the beige walls, our little house also came with an ancient stove with an out-of-commission oven. We made do with a couple toaster ovens, but no cakes, no pizzas, no more than a half-dozen-at-a-time muffins were baked in this house. Until this weekend. On Saturday my mother-in-law, Sandra, and her husband, Tommy, brought us a slightly-used but in good-condition oven. Saturday night Wolfman baked some cornbread, and it was delicious. The little iron tea pot (one of those for-no-reason gifts from Wolfman) and the drippings pot (found at Thrift n' Gift) are also new additions.
99% of my kitchenware is thrifted, and for the past few years that I've been collecting it, piece by piece, my theme, if any, has leaned toward kitsch (if you can't tell from the photo of the stove above). Recently, I decided to change directions and go for a more fiesta feel. Each time I eat at Los Tres or La Rancherita, I tell my dining companion, "I wish my kitchen looked like a Mexican restaurant." These plates are my start at making that wish come true. For each dish I collect, I donate one of my old ones.
My name is Michelle, and I am a reformed doll collector. I don't "collect" any more, but when I have the opportunity, I do like walking down the pink aisles at toy stores. I've been charmed by the Monster High dolls (though I haven't watched any of the accompanying cartoons), and specifically kind of fell in love with the Venus McFlytrap doll. Those little fangs? The vines creeping up her arms? My love of flora (and carnivorous plants in particular), love of monsters, and (if not reformed, subdued) love of dolls are all combined in this one pink and green package. Though I might have been able to resist actually buying her, my grandma has not stopped buying me dolls. Venus was a birthday adoption, and she resides on my windowsill among my house plants and cacti.
Early this month, I took an early morning trip to the emergency room. It was not a big deal, but it scared my husband. I came home from work that night to this little gift waiting for me on the kitchen counter. I'm a lucky woman to have a husband who so understands my taste in jewelry; the pieces he buys me are often either locally made or an antique and usually of some natural stone. You can see me wearing this necklace here and here.
I'm still awake a couple times a night with my toddler. What can I say, he's just kind of a jerk that way. This night light is mostly for practical purposes. It's easy for me to find and flick on as I stumble toward my yelling baby. But, it's also an example of how Martigan's particular tastes and just the fact of his existence has informed our decorating choices. The living room is full of bins of books and toys, a metal Tonka truck Mads can't play with unsupervised (because he throws it) rests on our mantle. This is my life with a son. Trucks and trains everywhere.