Sunday, August 14, 2016

Birthday Signs

Life is Good: we have great memories 

When I posted about our Little Kid's recent birthday party and the party decor, some of you wrote me to inquire about our family's HAPPY sign. 

Whenever we have a special day---holiday, birthday/anniversary, milestone, whatever, we put out the "Happy" sign. It's actually the door from my grandparents' washhouse at their former farm. On a trip to visit my Grandma (who had left the farm and moved into town), we stopped at the farm and my dad helped me "grab" a few things to have a mementos. The farm had been sitting for a while and clearly, no one else wanted anything from it. But when I saw that chippy door, I knew I needed it. 

I had so many memories of my Grandma coming in and out of that door. They had not used it for their laundry since before I was born, but she did still use it as a pantry of sorts for her canning. I also remembered my Granddad going in and out of that door with kittens swarming his feet. Those kittens would almost trip as he emerged from that door. There were always a hoard of little ferrel kittens on the farm and my Granddad loved to serve them warm milk. He would gently pet them and talk to him in his sweet voice as they ate. Granddad was a wheat farmer, a cattle rancher, and a hunter. He knew the value of animals to his family's bank account and dinner table. But those kittens held his heart. 

I dragged that door to Atlanta and on to a storage unit in Minneapolis, then to a condo in MN and on to our Pleasant house. I had thoughts to add nails to it and hang photos on it, but it never felt quite right. I was nervous to add holes to it that I might "ruin" it.

Soon after we moved to our current home, I was thinking about our Little One's upcoming first birthday and the idea just popped into my head. Add some letters to it and use it as party decor. And if I put something fairly general on it, I could use it for everyone's birthday. The more I thought about it, I knew that choosing the right word would mean that I could use it more often. "HAPPY" seemed just right. I thought I would need to go to a home store to get the letters, but then I happened to see some at Target one day and they were exactly the right size and simple in style. 

I love the sign so much that I really want to use it inside our house all year round. However, it is chippy with aged paint and there are rough places, a rusted handle, and broken wood all over it. It is certainly not kid-friendly for a family with three under 8. So it lives in storage until a HAPPY occasion. Which is pretty often around here! : )

And the little green sawhorse with the "FIVE!" sign? I was walking into a repurpose home & garden decor store in Linden Hills right before we moved out of our Pleasant house and saw it on a pile of some other, cuter things. I didn't know what I was going to do with it, but I knew that I had to have it.

After we moved into our new house and I unpacked the sawhorse, my first thought was to hang a picture frame from it (with my three favorite kids' photo!) and stick it on top of a highboy we have in our main room. But when I placed it there, it just didn't feel right. After some sleuthing on the inter webs, I found a shaped chalkboard. I drilled a couple of holes in it and attached it with some ribbon from the packaging of our new Pottery Barn bedding and there it was...the sidekick to our HAPPY sign!

I often look at that HAPPY sign and have to wonder what my grandparents would think. I think my Granddad would say something gracious, polite, and diplomatic along the lines of "to each, their own". I think my Grandma would giggle and comment on my creativity. I think they both would be happy that I wanted something that reminded me of them to be near me and part of my own family's traditions and life. 

Oh, how I loved my grandparents. I thank God that I was blessed to know them. And to have their blood running through my veins. They were amazing examples and loving grandparents. It all goes way beyond what words can say. And I am grateful for that. And HAPPY!

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