Saturday, April 27, 2013

Be My Guest

It's been more than a year since I watched it, but I have a vivid recollection of the opening scenes of Season 1 of Downton Abbey.  I couldn't find that particular video online, but here's the intro clip, which has some of what I'm remembering (but is noticeably lacking some of the other more memorable snippets (for example, ironing the creases out of the morning's newspaper)).  The house is abuzz with the staff lighting fires, dusting, and hundreds of other tasks - including, yes, ironing those newspapers - so that the wealthy family who lives there doesn't have to experience any inconvenience from an uncomfortable or imperfect home.

If we're getting company, they could pretty much film that sequence here.  Now, granted, we don't get the newspaper, and even if we did, I wouldn't iron it.  And it's an obvious exaggeration to pretend that my home is ever as well-ordered or cleaned or proper as an English manor with a staff of 15.  But, man, the last hour before someone arrives for dinner is my most productive hour in a month.

I mention all of this because we had company for dinner last night.

You'd better believe that once my oven was full of food, I was running around the house, putting away the drying rack, picking up Anna's toys, putting the shoes away in the shoe rack instead of the pile by the door where they usually congregate, etc, etc.

Justin, having been broken of his habit of announcing "wow, the house looks nice!" in the presence of guests, agreed with our guests' compliments with an emphatic, "Yeah, I always like when we have company because she makes it EXTRA special."  

And this morning, when I walked into the laundry room, I was literally stopped in my tracks by how nice it looked.  Keep in mind, this wasn't the result of an extensive cleaning (there's still plenty of dust on the floor, but remember I have amazing hide-it-all tiles?), just a compilation of little tasks - I put away the drying rack, carried a basket of clean laundry upstairs, moved 2 bottles of stain spray to their designated shelf, and picked up an errant hair tie that had made it to the floor.  I read once that the secret to a house that looks clean and organized is to have all of the flat surfaces free of clutter.  Clearing off the top of the dryer certainly had that effect yesterday.

Seeing just how much this little effort paid off made me crave it all the time.  I've come up with a few options for reaching such success:

1) Invite more company.  This was my approach when I was working & we were renovating.  I was so busy then (and we just kept making drywall dust anyway) that having company over was often literally the only time I actually cleaned.  Thankfully we had an active enough social schedule that it didn't become a total pig sty.

2) Pretend company is coming.  I operate each morning under a bit of fear of the threat (imagined or real) of an unanticipated guest (or delivery person) ringing the doorbell before I've changed out of my pajamas.  This was spurred even more by a recent answering-the-door-in-pajamas incident at 7:45 AM (a time which I have yet to determine if socially acceptable - or not - for me to be dressed in such a way).  When it comes to keeping the house picked up, as much as I like to tell myself that anyone could drop by at any moment, the rate of actualization on this one is low enough that it's like the boy that cried wolf.

3) Reassess the value of the residents vs. guests.  I guess you can tell that the first two options were a bit tongue-in-cheek, and this is my real "take home" message of this post.  As I was thinking about how much I appreciated the "company ready" house, I first thought of how I should value Justin in the same way that I value guests.  He's out at work each day, and certainly he deserves a comfortable home environment with as few inconveniences as possible, but yet most days I don't take that little bit of extra time to make things as nice for him as I would for guests.  As I thought more, I realized that Anna and I also deserve this environment.  We all try to put our best foot forward for guests - and I think that this is rightfully so, as we ought to share the best of what we have with others - but we can forget, it seems, that we - the residents of the home - also deserve some special treatment.

This is, of course, a balance.  You could work so hard at keeping the house perfect that you could never enjoy its perfection.  More than once, I've said that houses aren't meant to be museums, but places where living people interact.  There's bound to be some books on the chair where Justin was reading to Anna, or some dirt by the door because we've been out gardening; a basket of laundry that's been brought in from the line and needs to go upstairs, or a stack of mail that's yet to be read (and, even in my company-ready house there will be dust on the floor, burnt food at the bottom of the oven (why have I yet to learn that baking dishes have a maximum capacity?), and most likely some dishes in the sink).

The family should be able to kick back and relax in their home, and there are bound to be formalities with guests that are not kept in an intimate family setting.  However, the guests aren't the only ones who deserve nice touches.  A priest once told me that we should be our most comfortable, truest selves with our spouses - but that this of course does not allow for us to slide into such comfort that we fail to give them the kindness we afford to strangers outside our home.  I think the same could go for the way that we keep our homes.  Why is it that we wouldn't think of having guests step over a laundry basket, but we'll step over the same basket ourselves 10 times before finally taking it upstairs?  Why do we pull out the nice dishes & table cloths for guests, but sometimes just push aside a pile of papers to eat with our family?

Our guests deserve our best, but we do, too.  The little extra effort each day makes "home" that much more of our sanctuary from the world.  

NOTE: Apologies to my dear, local friends for whom I no longer roll out the red carpet.  Let's just say it's a compliment that you're like family to me ;)

On a (mostly) unrelated note, from time to time, I'll send my mom text pictures of projects I've done or other things around the house.  She always gets excited and thinks that the text message sound on her phone must be a picture of her beloved grand-daughter.  Naturally, something boring like my table setting is a disappointment when you're expecting to see Anna's sweet face.  So I've started including "(V)Anna White" in the pictures when I can, showcasing whatever it is I'm trying to show; or she'll text back jokingly "Where's V Anna?"  In that sense, here's V Anna with the quilt that I finished!  It was a self-imposed challenge to use only materials that I already owned (rather than yet another trip to Jo-Anns!), and given the whimsy of the pattern, I'm calling it my "Happiness is Free" quilt :)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wiser next week

Perhaps I'll have some wise words for next Wednesday...for tonight, I'm finishing up my project :)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Thanks for the kind messages in regards to yesterday's post!  I almost didn't hit "publish" on it - while the sentiment about finally living life for the first time is certainly true, it felt a little weird or braggy.  It also doesn't really fit into my whole "making a home" theme here on the blog.  I just couldn't look at that picture without feeling this profound sense of having arrived - of being in the life I'm meant to be (that's vocation for you, huh!?) - and I'm thankful for the gift not only of having arrived in this place in life, but also for the acute recognition of being here.

So anyway, speaking of having finally arrived somewhere, let's talk procrastination.  I've been hinting for weeks now that I'm finally going to show you some completed projects.  In fact, I had originally intended to show the first project on April 1st, with a list of the other projects I wanted to complete in April.  I'm only 20+ days behind schedule :)

When some good friends moved recently, it made me think about the inevitability of moving ourselves.  Given the weight I put in our home in my life, this definitely made me stop and think.  It also lit a fire under me, as I realized I didn't want to be in the position of finishing projects only so that the house would look good for potential buyers.

So, to quote Sherry from Young House Love (another favorite blog), I said to myself, "Dude, get on that already!"

I showed you a few of the other projects that I finally finished (painting the wreath on the back door, spray painting the laundry room chair)

I finally finished the curtains for the upstairs bathroom.  I had purchased a white sheer panel....oh, 18 months ago?....and needed to hem it to fit the window.  I hung the curtain rod way back then, and it's been looking sufficiently bland and awkward for 18 months.  With the panel, I also cut it in half so that there would be two panels that could open in the middle.  This sewing took me literally less than an hour (and that included figuring out how to do a new stitch type on my new serger).  Why I put this off an hour's worth (!) of work for 18 months (!) is not clear. 

It's also not clear why we have this situation going on:

About a month after Anna was born, we realized that having the light switch behind the door was a very annoying arrangement, so my talented husband moved it to the other side of the door.  The old junction box needs a plain face plate over it.  This "renovation" will take approximately 2 and a half minutes (I think we have one in the basement).  But I haven't done it for 6 months.

I was going to include a list of things I want to complete (compiled from the many handwritten lists scattered in various notebooks, backs of envelopes, and my Pinterest boards).  However, I'm going to stop here for the evening.  It's already later than the time by which I had hoped to be sewing.  And, given that this is a post about procrastination, I think I'd rather get started!  You can check back for completed projects - I'm sure that's more fun than a list, anyway!

Monday, April 22, 2013

This is real life

I may have written about this before, or at least shared it personally with some people who are reading - but it's worth saying again.

Have you ever noticed that in school, the reason you're given for most things is "to prepare for X?"  I remember hearing in elementary school that I had to do well to be prepared for junior high; needed to work hard in junior high so that high school wasn't overwhelming; required to be studious in high school to be accepted to and survive at a good college; needed solid college performance so that you could get a good job; needed a good that what?  I mean, obviously, there's a lot to be said for a satisfying career, and for financial stability.  But I do think our culture has set us up a bit for a collective "is this all there is" because we start in Kindergarten to race towards a perpetual rat race.

I think I was so caught up in that culture of preparation that I was too busy to stop and enjoy my life.  Granted, I had good times and great friends in high school and college.  But, if I go back and read letters that family members sent to me, they often have the tone of "hang in there" - implying that there were a lot of frustrations I was communicating (but thankfully don't completely remember).  I was often too busy preparing to be successfully happy to actually just be happy.  Even when I was working, it felt like I was still just waiting for something else to happen.

When I saw this picture, taken today, I thought about all of this, and realized that I think all the preparation has paid off.  I finally feel like I'm living the life I prepared for all those years.  Ironically, I'm professionally utilizing very little of the academics to which I was a slave for 16 years (they didn't teach parenting in school!), but I think the lessons that I learned beyond the rote subjects are serving me well.  I feel comfortable in my own skin, probably for the first time in my life.  Instead of defining myself by what I'm getting ready for, I'm just me. 

This is probably one of the posts I'll read later and cringe, for my apparent arrogance and the portrayal of a perfect life.  It's not a perfect life - after all, it's life.  But, it's my real life, and for that I am so very grateful.  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wisdom Wednesday: Mama knows best

Well, hello there!  I didn't quite intend for such a long silence here on the blog.  I sat down (finally) to post some pictures on some of the projects that I have (finally) done (sense a procrastination theme here?) but then I realized that it's Wednesday and time for my latest installment of "Wisdom Wednesday."

I don't have an officially quoted quote this week, just something that struck me while talking on the phone this week to my mom.  Moms always know best, and I think mine is particularly suited to offer wisdom about making a house a home.  (She's been described - both by me, and by others, independently - as a combination Energizer Bunny-Martha Stewart, or a Martha Stewart-Mother Teresa mix.)

As we were chatting the other day, we started talking about some renovations my parents are planning to do soon, and she was sharing that she really wants to chose elements of the room that are warm and welcoming.  "I just want people to walk in and feel like they're getting a hug," she said.  That really struck me as a perfect description of what home is about - both for the people who live there and for visitors.

In this crazy world, full of unexpected tragedy, don't we all need a hug?  I hope that whenever you go home tonight, that's what you feel!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Quick takes: Edition 2

Here's my second (official) edition of quick takes.  The usual blog hostess, Jen, is still in need of our prayer - although her delivery went well, the sweet baby has some breathing issues (unrelated to her pregnancy complications) and is in the NICU.  Grace @ Camp Patton is hosting today's link-up instead.

Here's my thoughts for this rainy Friday:

1) Isn't this beautiful?

My photography, as usual, leaves something to be desired, but seeing this abundance this morning made me feel happy and very thankful.

2) The fruit picture reminds me of a very random, quirky memory.  For years, as a child, I had this idea of having a photo contest titled "Aren't you glad God made..."  I don't think I even owned a camera at the time, but I was prepared to enter a picture - in this hypothetical contest - of fruit.  Maybe someday I'll make it happen, haha!

3) While we're on the topic of pretty things we're glad God made, let's add flowers to the list.  And we can be thankful that a factory somewhere made this iron greenhouse that my mother-in-law gave to my gardener husband before we were married.  It's probably the material thing I was most excited about acquiring when we got married!

4) I discovered this week that the laundry basket is an excellent safe spot to keep Anna from licking furniture.  She also thinks it's hilarious when I pile the clean clothes on her lap and carry the whole kit and caboodle upstairs.  

 5) On one of these beautiful spring days [excluding the last three really rainy ones!], I finally got to take the run I've been craving for over a year.  (Seriously.  When I was waddling my big pregnant self around last year, I'd see people running and be so jealous.  I craved a good jog more than any of the other pregnancy-forbidden things.  And then, by the time I was ready to run again, it got cold, and since I slipped on the ice once while jogging to the gym in college, I wasn't about to start running in the winter!)  Anyhow, I somewhat pictured myself collapsing after a block or two, but apparently the laundry basket maneuvers (and other 20-pound baby hoisting activities) have kept me in better shape than I thought.

I haven't mentioned on the blog yet, but my 3rd New Years Resolution (more like a goal, I suppose) is to run a half marathon.  The first two goals (learning to crochet and making chicken broth from scratch) were already accomplished (although admittedly far easier than running 13 miles!) and - true to form - not blogged about, either.  No promises on which aspects of any of the 3 will appear here in the future.

6) I think I may have earned some sort of badge for finally buying something at a thrift store and spray painting it (that is the initiation to being a true do-it-yourself-er and blogger, right?)

This is another of those waiting FOREVER to do it projects (although with this one, the pregnancy & weather are again legitimate excuses to put off spray painting).  This chair in the laundry room is where we toss the dirty kitchen towels & dishcloths to be washed.  Since we're switching to cloth napkins soon (we figured if we can wash and reuse diapers - with the accompanying ceiling floods -  we can do napkins!), we needed a better solution.  This basket isn't exactly what I envisioned looks-wise, but it's plastic, and that's important for storing damp things!

7) If you missed it earlier in the week, I've decided to have a weekly "Wisdom Wednesday" in which I share quotes I've found that speak to the home we're trying to create.  You can find them all to date on the "Home Inspiration" tab.  Today's post has been pretty "stuff" centric, but in general, I'm trying to focus on the heart of our home both on the blog and in person.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Is pretty plywood an oxymoron?

Today's projects is one that definitely falls into the category of "little updates" - and also "things I've been meaning to do for a LONG TIME!"

Here's the back of the house when we bought it:

Here's an updated shot I took on Saturday (note in particular the new roof & new fence, neither of which I can claim any part of, save a tiny bit of "project management."):  I did, however, paint the plywood door (to the basement stairwell) a dark gray-blue.  I finished that last August, and my mom helped by spray painting all of the hardware (I stayed far away to help make sure Anna didn't come out with extra arms or legs!)

Saturday, I finally put the finishing touch on the door.  

easily spent 100 times as long thinking about wanting to do this project than I actually did doing it!  I think it took...10 minutes?  Perhaps a little longer, if you count stirring the paint, making sure Anna wasn't eating grass, and going back to add some curliques (the stencil as-is was a bit smaller than I would have liked, so I filled it out by selecting small sections of it and stenciling those parts where the wreath needed to grow).

The stencil is by Martha Stewart and I got it at Michaels.  

This is one of those tiny little updates that makes me smile and makes the house look a little more loved.  I saw a quote on a mouse pad at Target recently that said "Some people look for a beautiful place, others make a place beautiful."  I would like to think I fall into the second category....that is, if pretty plywood isn't an oxymoron!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wisdom Wednesday

My excitement from completing several projects on Saturday has yet to translate to blog posts (about projects), so in the meantime I have another quote of home inspiration to share.  As I wrote before, I've been collecting these quotes and adding them to my "Home inspiration" page.  I've enjoyed this recent addition to the blog, and have decided to post new quotes when I find them - for "Wisdom Wednesday."  (We'll all hope this doesn't cause the same stress as past self-imposed blog parameters!)

Anyway, I had thought of this last week (and decided on Wednesday for the nice alliteration), and conveniently found a new quote this evening.  Wham - the first Wisdom Wednesday.

"It takes hands to build a house, but only hearts can build a home." - Kathleen Norris

I think this speaks to the vocation of marriage and family - to provide a safe physical house for the bodies of our family, and to provide a nurturing and loving home for the souls.  It speaks to the constant balance beam we walk as mothers - can't neglect the children for the laundry, but totally neglecting the laundry would be neglecting the child as well.  We could have the perfect (decorated, clean, organized) physical home, but without love, it would be empty and pointless!

Check back tomorrow for the next installment of building the house...and next Wednesday for Wisdom Wednesday 2 about building the home :)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A spring in your step

Spring came to Ithaca with a glorious, sunny emergence this weekend.  We took full advantage of the warmer temperatures and the sunshine and spent as much time as possible outside.

Saturday, we took a family hike (with Anna riding in the baby backpack on Justin's back), followed by some time outside to work on some projects and try to eat grass (you can imagine which members of the family fell into each of those two categories).  Sunday afternoon, we just sat together on a blanket in the backyard, experiencing the simple joys of a warm day, being together, eating popcorn, blowing bubbles.  We capped off the weekend with our first al fresco meal of the season.  I'm of the opinion that everything tastes better outside (and we also learned clean-up for dropped bananas is also easier outside!)

On Monday, as I was switching our flannel sheets to regular sheets and enjoying the breeze that was blowing in the open window, I was thinking about the amazing happiness that comes on that first warm day.  It's like an unspoken holiday, as everyone collectively tosses open windows, dons garden gloves, and ties running shoes.  This year, the timing of Easter and the warm weather lined up extremely well (the first day I was comfortably without a coat was Holy Saturday), and that made me think all the more about the springtime that comes to our soul.  With Easter, we break out of the dark and intentionally dull period of Lent, and rejoice in the beauty of flowers, water - new life!  Like that first warm day, Jesus' resurrection breaks us free - from being cold and alone, from being sinful and sorrowful.  What joy we can find in this "Son-shine!" (and in this spring sunshine, too!)

No longer shall your sun go down, or your moon withdraw, 
For the LORD will be your light forever, 
and the days of your mourning shall be at an end.
Isaiah 60:20

Check back later this week for the projects completed by those of us who weren't eating grass on Saturday!

Friday, April 5, 2013

7 Quick takes: Edition 1

7 quick takes sm1 Your 7 Quick Takes Toolkit!

1. Remember last week I posted "Quick takes: trial run?"  This week, I'm participating for real, and will link my post to Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary.  For family readers, this basically just means that I'm connecting my blog to another one with a link, so that more people can come check out my ramblings :)

2. While we're on the topic of Jen and her fabulous blog, you should all take a minute and offer a prayer for her.  She is dealing with some complicated medical issues (blood clotting disorder + pregnancy), culminated with some procedures & her scheduled induction in the next few days.  She has a remarkable story of conversion from atheism to Catholicism, and shares some amazing insights on her blog, so I guess that is to say that her health affects not only her personal & family life, but her ability to share the faith with thousands of people online.  Say a prayer!

3. It was (finally) a sunny, warm(ish?) day here in New York yesterday, so I packed up Anna in her stroller and did all of the walking errands that I could think of doing.  We walked by my old office, so I stopped in to say hello.  Needless to say, everyone was really excited to see Anna, and at least pretended like they were glad I was there too.  In light of my recent job title crisis, it was reassuring that being in the office did not make me wish I were there instead of home with Anna.  There were a lot of personnel issues around the time that I left (related to me in that they caused me a lot of stress, but not specifically involving me), and it was really nice to see that they have been resolved, and there was a peace and camaraderie among the staff that definitely did not exist previously.  Even so, don't want to go back :)

4. Despite #3, I'm still working out the kinks of this new position.  Perhaps other stay-at-home moms can relate - I find that many days I am simultaneously bored, yet daunted by my to-do list (and I don't just mean to-do's that I dread....things that I genuinely am excited to work on).  Justin calls it "stagflation" due to some {very loose} similarities to the economic theory of the same name.  I'm thinking it is might be the fact that there's no specific timeline on anything I do and no direct consequences of putting things off another day.  I'm  thinking schedules & goals will be the ticket to kicking this feeling completely.  (I can't help it, the strategic planning part of my brain requires action plans to solve even the smallest of issues.).

5. The post I wanted to put up yesterday (before the dead camera battery issue) relates to my latest plan to finally tackle the projects that have been put off for way too long.  More coming soon on that - but there's definitely been a lot of the "now why didn't I do this sooner?" feelings around here.

photo credit Liz & Ryan
6. In terms of things I put off, hanging things on the walls seems to be top of my list.  Sometimes I have significant decision paralysis.  Other times, I just.....don't do things?  Case in point, for more than two years, I have known that I wanted to print the above wedding photo for a certain spot in the living room.  I think it was part of the decision process in painting this room green.  I'm going to try to get on that sooner rather than later.

7. It's another sunny day, which brings with it more inspiration to work on projects - Justin says I'm solar powered.  The camera is charging, so check back soon for the results :)  Until then, hop over to Jen's blog to check out some other great Quick Takes.

When in doubt, look at Anna :)

I had a blog post in mind for this evening, but when I went to grab my camera, the battery was dead (too many Easter shots!)

So, I decided...when in doubt, look at Anna :)  I figured that you won't mind another picture of her in her Easter dress, and I think this one is my favorite yet (thanks to my brother & his photography skills!)  It would probably be in the best interest of everyone if I just left my camera battery dead and relied on his photography!  Too bad he's 4 hours away :(

Anyway, writing this post reminded me that I have a constant delicate balance of focusing on our family & on our home.  The family needs a safe, comfortable place to live and play - but those things alone will not make for nice family life!  You may have heard the adage..."Good moms have sticky floors, messy ovens...and happy kids," and I don't ever want to lose sight of that in the midst of my home beautification kicks.  So, I guess - once again - when in doubt, look at Anna!  Although, I do have to admit, with her exploratory licking of all surfaces, watching her does inspire me {to try} to keep the floors clean.  Win-win, right?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Home inspiration

As I was washing the dinner dishes this evening, I looked up at the little magazine clipping my mom once mailed to me.  I found it so fitting that I taped it up above the sink - as a reminder of how I'd like to make our home.

It reads

The true nature of a place of far as the anxieties of the outer life penetrate into ceases to be home; it is then only a part of the outer world which you have roofed over & lighted fire in. - John Ruskin

This is just one way of defining the ideal home I seek to create.  As I work on my list (mentioned last week) of home characteristics, I thought it would be nice to have a compilation of inspiring quotes, thoughts, etc.  Since I never really used the "Blog Archives" section at the top of the blog, I took that away and replaced it with a "Home inspiration" page, where I'll be storing quotes as I find them.  I hope it will serve as an inspiration for all of us as we seek to create "home."

Please check it out, and as always, your suggestions and comments are most welcome :)

Monday, April 1, 2013

What I wore Sunday: The Easter dresses are done!

Part of my recent interest in returning to blogging has been to more actively participate in the online community of bloggers.  I've been reading a lot, but feel like it's a one-sided relationship.  To that end, I'm linking my post to Linen & Purple's What I Wore Sunday, which is a round-up of Catholic women in their Sunday best.

Anyway, you know I wanted to show you these dresses anyway!  They (thankfully) came a long way from the stack of fabric you saw last Tuesday!  I finished the last bit of the stitching on Anna's dress in the car on the first leg of our tour-de-Pennsylvania Saturday morning :)

I realized in retrospect that everyone taking pictures was far more interested in Anna than in Anna's dress, but this one at least shows the detail at the top (there are also embroidered flowers at the hem).  My mom (remember her talent from the Baptismal gown made from my wedding dress?) made Anna's bonnet to match her dress.  The lady behind us at Mass said she looked like a porcelain doll, and in my 100% biased opinion, I have to agree.  (Except that porcelain dolls don't let out such happy (loud) squeals or squirm around the entire time!)

It was neat to take a family picture with Anna in the same spot we first became a family 2 1/2 years ago.

Here we are at my parents' house with my awesome family.  It's the best shot I have of my dress, and -incidentally - since we don't own a full-length mirror, my first good look at the whole thing.

I will also note that the blog is to thank for me creating the dress - I was reading the archives, and found this old post where I mentioned using the green fabric for a tablecloth for Justin's birthday dinner.  I had forgotten I had this fabric (originally purchased, as I mentioned in the other post, at least 8 years ago for a never-realized Easter outfit) until I saw the "tablecloth."  I had just picked up the pattern on a whim at Jo-Anns (they're clearancing everything to get ready for the new, bigger store), and it ended up being a great pairing.  I found the belt at Target.

I was really wishing I was cool enough to wear a hat like this.  Also that places like Target sold them.....for maybe 1/10th of that price.
Phase Eight hair accessory

Phase Eight hair accessory

I satisfied my hat desire (at least for this year) with two satin flowers from A.C. Moore that I attached to bobby pins.

My excitement at our finished dresses was just a tiny fraction of my Easter joy.  We had a great trip: safe travels, (mostly) great weather, a beautiful Easter morning Mass at my home church, delicious food, and lots of fun with family (and not just the great folks shown above!)  Among others, Anna got to see all 4 grandparents, 6 of her great-grandparents, and she met her great-great-grandmother (age 101) for the first time.  Here's a 5 generation photo:

Generation 1: Great-great-grandmother Florence
Generation 2: Great-grandfather Gerald
Generation 3: Grandfather Steve
Generation 4: Father Justin
Generation 5: Anna!
Anna spread lots of Easter joy (and kisses, as demonstrated here with my beautiful sister)

She was spoiled with Easter baskets:

And, true to form, she rolled past her numerous Easter goodies to check out the furniture.