34. William’s hilariously adorable mispronounciations. We even made a SONG about it!
35. The bottomless pit of mittens and hats known as the hall closet
36. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
37. That one guy I knew in high school who loved the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy so much that he actually CARRIED A TOWEL AROUND WITH HIM IN HIS BACKPACK. And by “backpack,” I mean LEATHER BRIEFCASE.
38. Stacks of brand-new glossy magazines
39. My children’s literature pie night group. We get together once a month or so at a Marie Callendar’s and discuss new books while gorging on pie. Good heavens, it keeps me sane knowing I’m not the only one in the world who gets excited about picture books
40. Children’s cheeks, whipped apple-red from playing outdoors
41. Root beer floats — made with a 1:1 ratio of ice cream to soda
42. The IKEA Real Sweedish Cooking Cookbook — probably the world’s quirkiest English translation of a cookbook. It includes the phrases “The Swedish Christmas table is a trencherman’s El Dorado” and “Behold! The Full Monty of the Swedish herring plate!”
43. Someone to mock a cheesy bad movie with
44. The excitement of picking out a gift that is “just right” for someone — especially a little kid
45. Sidewalks waxed with layers of leaves
46. Someone who looks around the crowded room and decides they’d like to sit next to you
47. Candles that smell like fresh-cut pine trees
48. All three of my kids came home with paper tipis they made as part of a unit on Native American lifeways. They are all sitting on the piano together, a little paper village, and Eleanor also dug up her bison-shaped piggy bank and set it beside them, like it’s the village pet or something.
49. The whistling sounds the wind makes as it blows over my chimney
50. Big-holed, crisp-crusted sourdough bread, studded with roasted cloves of garlic
51. “Fear not, for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.” (2nd Kings 6:16)
52. “Lead you down the primrose path,” “Sweets to the sweet,” “Every dog will have its day,” “hoisted by his own petard,” and other common sayings that all came from Hamlet
53. “Over the River and Through the Woods,” currently Eleanor’s favorite song to play on the piano, dance to, and sing (although not all at the same time)
54. A cheese plate put together by someone who knows what they’re doing. (Especially if it includes St. Andre’s Brie)
55. Oh, come on. You have to try the St. Andre’s triple-cream brie. It tastes like butter, but in all the right ways.
56. Jeffrey’s endless list of grandiose plans — to build an airplane out of junk he finds in the garage, to buy a WWII-era tank and put it in the backyard, to write a play with a cast of about 98 people
57. The inherent paradox in Jeffrey’s little-boy love of off-road vehicles, paired with his horror of learning that people use them to go off-road. “What?!?” he cries, “They go off the TRAIL? But they’ll BUST THE CRYPTOBIOTIC SOIL CRUST!”
58. Hot buttered toast with honey on top, especially as it’s described in The Wind in the Willows:
When the girl returned, some hours later, she carried a tray, with a cup of fragrant tea steaming on it; and a plate piled up with very hot buttered toast, cut thick, very brown on both sides, with the butter running through the holes in it in great golden drops, like honey from the honeycomb. The smell of that buttered toast simply talked to Toad, and with no uncertain voice; talked of warm kitchens, of breakfasts on bright frosty mornings, of cosy parlour firesides on winter evenings, when one’s ramble was over and slippered feet were propped on the fender; of the purring of contented cats, and the twitter of sleepy canaries.
59. When I was in fourth grade, I read that passage from The Wind in the Willows and insisted on making myself hot buttered toast for breakfast every day for weeks
60. Johnson & Johnson’s no-tears baby shampoo. I love bathing my kids in it, and the way it makes their hair smell afterwards. On bath nights I end up sniffing their heads so much that they complain.
61. Hayden Valley, Yellowstone National Park
62. This German drink my family used to get in gasthouses when we were stationed overseas. It’s made with one-half Fresca, one-half Coca-Cola, and for the love of me I can’t remember its name, but trust me, it’s delicious.
63. The version of “Turkish Delight” my third-grade brain came up with when I read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I imagined it tasted like Samoas, the caramel/coconut/chocolate cookies sold by the Girl Scouts. This is probably the main reason I get so excited by Girl Scout cookies every year
64. My children’s recent discovery of the classic Saturday morning ritual: waking up early, watching cartoons and eating cold cereal right out of the box
65. Playing the Shirts’ family version of Apples to Apples
66. Waiting for a storm, gathering up spare candles, flashlights, and fuzzy slippers for everyone