Saturday, December 12, 2009

A "Best Day Ever"

Once, in Israel, my roommates and I had a "best day ever." I don't actually recall what was so great about it other than every single one of us got letters and/or packages, and it just seemed like every corner we turned had some new happy surprise -- even silly things -- like returning to our room and discovering our curtains had been replaced with new ones. I have a picture of us all standing there in front of our new curtains -- joyfully holding up our letters and packages.

Today seemed like a "best day ever." So far every single thing about today has just been happy. I feel so happy.
1. It has been snowing -- ALL day. I know that running errands, etc. in snow is no fun, but my mom loves nothing more than a storm -- any storm -- wind storm, rain storm, snow storm; so we were raised to feel excitement at the slightest inkling of a "storm." Storms meant happiness, and fires in the fireplace, and stories to be read. Living close to the mouth of the canyon also meant most nights were quite windy. I was surprised when I married Mike and found that to him a wind storm meant something very different than being cozied up in bed with blankets -- happy as a Lark. It meant shingles blowing off of roofs, or tarps coming off our hay, or other stressful things. So, we would lie in bed listening to the same blustery wind -- one of us tense, the other smiling peacefully as if being sung to sleep.

I admit I don't love old slushy dirty snow, but I always feel a little sad when someone says, "I hate snow." You can say, "I hate driving in snow," or "I hate shoveling snow," or "I hate walking with snow on the sidewalks," but "I hate snow" seems a very rash declaration. When it is falling and covering everything with white. When there is nowhere specific you have to go, and especially if you have Christmas music playing; well, there is not much more lovely than all that white snow.
2. Christmas music has been playing all day.

3. My Mike is home with us, and with no other agenda than just being with us. Mike works such long hours, that he isn't just home all that often and when he is home, there is generally something that needs doing -- house projects, errands, etc. But, today is Abe's birthday, so our whole plan was just to be home celebrating that. I feel so much more content when I have my husband home with me.
4. It's Abe's birthday -- and a happy one at that. He told me he woke up at 6:15 and couldn't sleep because he was so excited and couldn't believe he was nine. That is one of the best things about having kids -- you get to re experience things that you've long since outgrown -- like being so excited for Christmas or a birthday that you can't even sleep.

We don't generally have friend birthday parties for our kids. When Abe and Daisy were very small, I would do a big party for them in the day with cousins, etc. By the time Mike got home, it seemed they were all celebrated out. We decided then to make birthdays more of a thing to celebrate with our family. I do try hard to make the whole day special and about them -- the kids secretly make signs to hang the night before. We let them choose their favorite sugar cereal to have for breakfast and do games, etc. with our family.
With that said, I'm not so rooted in our ways that they can't alternate every now and again. This year Abe asked if he could have a few friends over, and we were happy to oblige. Planning it wasn't easy because Abe questioned my judgement of "cool" at every turn, but in the end, we agreed on making candy trains and playing several games that passed his "cool" test. It went great, and Abe seemed well satisfied with the outcome. He has contentedly been playing with his toys ever since. Mike is sweetly making dinner (after all my party work), and we will finish the night with cake and presents and the birthday boy getting to stay up late.
5. I know this probably seems silly, but I was already thinking how wonderfully happy this day seemed -- with the snow and Mike here and Abe so happy and the party festivities having gone so well (and having been cleaned up), but then, much later than I thought UPS drivers would still be out making their deliveries, THIS came to the door:
I was so giddy with excitement that I could hardly contain myself. Clear back in May, I downloaded the Booksmart program to turn my blog into a book. It was fun to work on for about three days, but then I started having dreams. All night long (for several nights in a row) I would dream out an event or happening; then that event would turn into an image that I had to format correctly into a book. It was maddening.

The program "slurps" your blog right up in order, etc. If you have a post that is just words, or just one main picture, or even words with pictures that don't have to be in any order, it works great. It is just that the Booksmart program doesn't work like blogger where you can just drag your pictures anywhere in your post. You have to choose a format -- and the formats don't always jive with your exact post and how it was laid out on your blog. You can just put it in one of their formats, or you can even create your own formats, but it can drive you a little crazy (hence my dreams).

There are advantages though. You can click a different background for each page. You can have pictures that take up entire pages or are part of a collage, etc.

I got sick of messing with it in about June and laid it aside til last week when I decided that I'd done enough to at least print one book. I've only done my blog from Feb. 2008 (when I started) to Oct. 2008, but I have so many posts and pictures that it was already a 180 page book.

Anyway, here are a few sample pages.
It just seems so fun to have it as a real concrete journal rather than just something floating out there in cyberspace. And I LOVE that I now have a journal that actually has pictures of what I am writing about right along with it. My kids were looking through it tonight reading out loud things I'd typed about them, etc. It really is one of the most satisfying things I've ever held in my hands. I wish I could order copies for all of my kids since it is a record of so much of the goings on of their own lives. Maybe I will sometime, but for now that would be a little pricey.

It is some work, but you can make it much easier if you aren't too picky about having everything placed just right. I highly recommend doing this for any of you out there who have a blog. It is such a perfect journal. I am in love with it and can't wait to get my more recent posts put into one!!

Lastly, and totally unrelated, I love to see my kids creative little minds at work. Daisy just whipped up this little hot air balloon for her toys tonight . . . and look, now this picture is here on my blog . . . which means it will eventually end up in a family journal book right in our own home!


jami said...

oh i love "best day ever" times! and i love your list ... the snow (so very jealous. we have NONE!) music always makes my days seem better too ... hubby's home, kids ... and that book! holy cow i'm SO jealous. i keep saying and saying i'm going to turn my blog into a book (after seeing shannon's) but i haven't and now i MUST! it's a new year's resolution. :)
ah, here's to best days ever! :)

Tia Juana said...

I hate snow!

Okay, fine. I don't hate snow but I sure hate when it isn't pretty and I am inside and I do kind of agree with you about storms. there is something that says I should be scared of them but I really do love them!

And, the blog blurb slurpy book! Isn't it such a grand feeling to hold it in your hands. When I got mine I felt like a world class author and wondered if there was anyway I could sell it at Borders or Barnes and Noble becuase surely people other than the Allred girls and my mother would enjoy reading what I had to say! But alas, it is just a little family classic now and I am getting ready to publish my second book and not to be all in your face about it, but I did indeed order one for each of my kids because I figured if I didn't, I never would. But, it about killed my budget to do so and I didn't get a new anything for quite a while to make up for it. I'm glad you are happy with your talents. It is such a good thing. And, I'm also glad you had a perfect day!

marzee said...

I love snow - I just don't like being out in it for too long. I prefer being toasty warm.

As for the book - so great! That's what I want to do - the only thing that keeps me in want of blogging, really. I need to price it out.

Love you much and thinking about you always.

Ashley said...

Oh, I am so happy for you, Nancy--that YOU are so happy. I have been just so danged happy myself lately...not about any one thing in particular but about a million little things that make my life so freakin awesome and wonderful. I feel so blessed and so happy that the only thing I could still want is everyone I love and care about to be just as happy. It sounds like you are. Good on you! Also, I know the joy of receiving a book from Blurb in the mail--I got my first one last week and it was AMAZING. It was just pictures (from the last little over four years), but now that I'm caught up, I feel like I can take more time and do it right this time--with journal entries too. I love you, Nancy!

BS and the Kids said...

Oh Nancy, you make me sad....the best day ever! I love the memories. Now, do you want to do my book. I am soo soooo soooooo jealous. Maybe I should call you and have you give me a pep talk about doing mine and how it isn't that hard.

Nancy said...

Oh Sarah, I would like to tell you it's easy, but it is kind of a pain. I don't know why blogger won't create something that can convert your blog into a book in the layout you already have. BUT, if you consider that your computer skills are probably 20 times greater than mine, it might be a peace of cake for you . . . and, actually, if you don't care about where the pics are in your post or the size of the font, etc. you really could print it exactly as booksmart (blurb's program) pulls it over.

Sarah said...

Nancy, I had forgotten about our "best day ever!" I think I got a package with licorice (sp) in it. And the curtains, I totally forgot. How random that it happened that day. Such fun memories. I'm in love with your blog book. I've been frantically catching my blog up. (You'd have to scroll way back to the spring to notice many of my new posts. I'm now up to October. You're comment had me laughing! I'm determined I'll get it done. I'll have to look into booksmart. You'd think blogger would have something like this they'd bank on it!

Oh, it's so fun to see your little family and their fun. I love those kinds of day. Here's to an other "best day ever!"

love you Nancy!

Perla said...

this was such a happy and best day ever post until i read you got your book and suddenly my feelings were mixed because don't you remember that i said i wanted to buy one, too? did you not believe me? i know they're a bit expensive (not for what they are, though) and i thought that i'd love to have other members of my family's books, too. so, what gives? oh well. when you order your next when i will have you order both for me. they're definitely worth the price. and its funny, once you see those books in person, you feel you must have your own. several friends of mine have started blogs simply because they saw the book and it is so awesome and fun and happy to have in your hands! and now i need to finish mine. but i can't...cuz i gots too much too do right now. ugh.
did you order one for mom and dad for christmas?
everything else was hap hap happy, though. and i didn't realize that all the kids got to make trains. how cool!

Nancy said...

I'm sorry Shan. I remember you'd said that, and I knew you would have liked one, but mine was like 58 bucks, and I felt sheepish to see if you wanted one because as much as I would love our other family members, it felt like a big chunk of money just to get my own -- particularly knowing I have only done the first few months of my blog and many more books will be coming. I should have gotten one for mom and dad for Christmas, but, once again, I felt silly -- like people would see it over there and think I was being awfully presumptious or something. Actually holding this one in my hands though has motivated me and so I think I will get another one ready pretty quickly -- maybe I'll gift them one then . . .

P.S. One dumb thing, I accidentally ordered mine with the cover rather than the name and image printed right on the book. I am so bummed about that because I know the cover will get ruined, so maybe I'll have to gift that one sometime and get my own new one.

Oysterblogger said...

I need to slurp my blog also!! That turned out beautifully!!!

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