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On Haslam’s and Hobbits (and a few things in between).

On Saturday we drove out to Treasure Island and St. Pete to spend our morning at the beach.  When we arrived at 10:30, the sky was overcast and so we enjoyed a few pleasant hours bathing in the gulf before the sun (and the heat) finally came out from behind the clouds.  My favorite part of the trip, though, was visiting downtown St. Pete and discovering Haslam’s bookstore.  The 82 year old store is Florida’s largest of its kind, selling both new and used books.  We stayed browsing until the store closed.  I spent most of the time in the children’s section, leafing through old classics and even managing to bring home a Winnie the Pooh inspired cookbook that I just fell in love with.  I held complete works of Milne and Potter and daydreamed about reading these longer works to Piper, when she’s just a bit older.  I didn’t even make my way to the cookery section until much later, but to my delight the first book I stumbled upon there was Nigella’s Forever Summer.  Though I didn’t buy it, it felt so good to just hold the book in my hands, to see it and to know it after discovering Lawson’s Forever Summer TV series.  We made our way to the back of the store and that’s when I discovered our first cat!  It was on a counter top, though when he heard us he raced into a hiding spot and didn’t come out again.  The bookstore already felt like a home away from home, but having cats wandering around just made it all feel so much more cozy (and quirky, too).  Along the wall there was framed newspaper clipping documenting a spooky fog that seemed to suggest the bookstore might be haunted, which of course, seems to go with the territory when you’re dealing with older places–I loved that little tidbit.  I hope we make it back again this season, especially because the store has got such a wide array of holiday/seasonal books and activities for children, and seems like such a destination, especially during these coming cooler months.  I can think of few simpler pleasures than grabbing some coffee across the street at Artpool on a cold day, and then wandering over to Haslam’s to cozy into a nook or aisle with a good book.

Here at home, I’m still trying to wrangle in some of the clutter, which only increases with children (especially toddlers).  Back in May I overhauled the house via the Konmari method (see Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up) and donated bags of things that no longer sparked joy or served their purpose.  And by bags I mean bags, and bags, and bags.  Yet I still feel overwhelmed with stuff.  I think it might be more of an organizational and routine problem now, meaning we have got to find places for the things we do have and continually commit to putting things back once we are done (this is our main problem with the toys, for example).  Piper has many toys that have little pieces and I have tried designating them to bags and boxes, but they often go misplaced anyway.  She’s at this really cute, though sometimes frustrating stage, where she hides random things in random places.  She likes to find envelopes and stick toys in them.  Or, just today, she found her June and Annie Little Einsteins characters in the box of cords that I was organizing–she got so happy because she must have forgotten them there, but how did they get there to begin with?  She also likes to take a lot of toys out at once, to play with all at once, and I just have to be vigilant about helping her put them back when we’re done.  It is really hard for me to get excited about playing with her in a room covered with random toys, and yet I often resign myself to do so because I give in to her sweet, puppy dog eyes and little cooing voice that asks, “Mommy will you play with me?” when she sees me beginning to clean up.

Anyway, we’re also gearing up to start Piper in soccer next month.  We are both just so excited for her, and we went out and got her a pair of little soccer sneakers, a ball, and a pair of shin guards.  I can’t believe they make these things in such a small size.  The parents have been asked to act as coaches for the little ones and so, you guessed it, I’m actually going to be coaching “soccer” for the next couple of months.  I say “soccer” because for the 3-5 year olds, it’s really just getting them used to the ball (or so it has been explained to me).  I’ll be tossing the ball back in, running around as they chase me, just encouraging them to make as much contact with the soccer ball as possible.  It seems wild, unfamiliar, and like a lot of fun.  Other than that our little one has a birthday coming up next month, and Will and I have our fourth wedding anniversary, and so it is just a very busy time at the Wren’s Nest.  I’ve reactivated my gym membership and (crosses fingers) hope to really get into a routine that leaves me feeling energetic, healthy, and happy.  As of late, my workout consists of the following: Nothing (unless you count chasing a toddler, or walking in circles with a vacuum, or folding mountains of laundry in one go).

Oh, and another sweet note before I go–Will and I have been reading The Fellowship of the Ring aloud before bed each night, which is another thing I just love lately.  We don’t get through that many pages before we become tired, but that’s why I love it—it gets to go on seemingly forever.  I forgot about how beautiful the passage about the fireworks at Bilbo’s party was–Tolkien writes:  “There were green trees with trunks of dark smoke: their leaves opened like a whole spring unfolding in a moment, and their shining branches dropped glowing flowers down upon the astonished hobbits, disappearing with a sweet scent just before they touched their upturned faces.”  Does it get much better than this?

Have a lovely last day of August,

Wren

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2 thoughts on “On Haslam’s and Hobbits (and a few things in between).

  1. A post rich in delights! I’ll look forward to visiting the bookshop with you again – you’ll obviously return. Your post title is a mystifier, and therefore works well. You’re right about the fireworks passage – I read the book to my four now all in their thirties at least, so obviously a long time ago, and I’d forgotten the descriptive pleasures.

    I too am spring cleaning, without the benefit of a three year old, and I smiled at your account, and also at your workout routine! I thought being out and about with 2 yo twins would be good exercise, but you travel at their erratic pace and never get to step it out.

    Thank you for a pleasant start to southern spring.

  2. You are a A.A. Milne and J.K. Rowling fan too! 🙂

    Have also done a major de-clutter for my family not so long ago, disposing / recycling loads of stuff from past buying and businesses etc, and re-organizing the remaining in 10+ large (50litres?) and very neat stackable high quality plastic boxes each) that happen to be on sale. From that period onwards, we try to keep miminalistic, use up whatever we have and divert new stuff that we are occasionally given to people who need them. Now, we simply enjoy the free space, savings and reduced cleaning, as well as do our part by having a smaller environmental footprint 🙂

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