Thursday, July 16, 2015

Celebrating 5 years

On years: this little lady is happy to be 5.  Her mother, however, is not pleased.  How?!  It does seem strange that we moms are always lamenting the speed of time.  Could we ever just get used to the fact that time is not slow, it's fast?  Maybe the confusion lies in the irony of days dragging...but years racing.

On school: last Sunday in church we had a gal visit who's moving to SE Asia to help develop an alphabet for a people group (population 1,000,000), that doesn't have a written language.  Did you know there are people like that in 2015?!  It's changing my perspective as I add George to my classroom of little homeschool nerds this fall (Oliver has been the only official student, though we always have a few in the background giving us their opinions, pretending to be astute).  In the past I thought of the basics of kindergarten as just that.  Basic.  Important, but not as clutch as the later years when knowledge comes in deep layers of life learning and book study.  But knowing there are so many in the world who don't have the opportunity or means, I'm realizing reading is a gift.  So to kindergarten teachers like my dear cousin Jill- thank you for your patience and perseverance in positively impacting the lives of the next generation.    

Anyway, my sweet Georgianna Lynn is helpful, hope-filled, and always eager to wear 'wed' (red) lipstick.

She wanted a queen birthday party, so her majesty got just that.

Oh hi, caught me going old school with a flip phone and a wink.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Love Seats

We'd been living with a larger-than-life red couch in our basement for a while (first new furniture purchase of our marriage back in 2003), which was not ideal since our house is smaller-than-life.  I was trolling good ol' Craig's List for two matching love seats/settees for the living room, thinking we'd shuffle the main floor furniture to the basement, sending Big Red to happier hunting grounds.  I was super excited to find these quirky mid century guys in Minneapolis, and after a rigmarole trying to arrange for pick up, we finally got them the day before G's birthday party (I'll do a feature of her party some time..).  With so much extra manpower sitting around, Andrew had party guests help rearrange the furniture.  Resourceful, that's my man.  The pink sofa and chair from the living room went to live in the family room, and the red couch got a spot on the lawn for a good week (where it was rained on, dried out, and rained on several times), before making its way to a more permanent storage facility.  

Right now I have a piano bench draped in a wool camp blanket sitting in for a coffee table (the old table went downstairs).  Not ideal.  But I want to have a 3'x3' ottoman made and upholstered with the blanket.  I think the ivory wool would be a good bridge between the gap of natural jute in the rug and the simplicity of the furniture/color palette.   Plus I love the touch of bright blue, yellow, and poppy.

Have we talked about the chair?  There's a story here too, but it might be boring so I'll use as few words as possible.  Had a rocker ordered when pregnant with Oliver 9 years ago, found out it couldn't be upholstered in the fabric we chose so canceled the order, used this baby from my dear grandmother for all 4 kids, either keeping clothed in its natural brown faux velvet, or draping with with a quilt..or dropcloth..or sheet (keeping it generally pretty classy), after Winston was born decided enough was enough, let's get something nice, found this fun spool glider on Craig's List that was also clothed in some pretty rough fabric, picked some new (painfully expensive..but awesome) metallic ivory linen and had it reupholstered.  Whew.

I also hadn't realized how many transformations our living room has had in the 6 years we've been here.  I may have a problem.  It's evolution.
Photos by Photograph Social.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Ode to Old Oliver

Since Oliver's half birthday is looming, I thought I should finish and share the piece I had started for him in January.  I enjoy writing, but get caught between my head and the keys when the subject matter is as deeply meaningful as my kids.  I'm not good with feelings.  I'd rather stay dry than start the waterworks that come at the realization of tender reality.  My oldest child, my first born son, turning 8.  I guess that's why I didn't finish his birthday rant 6 months ago... but here:

Dude!  I can't believe you're 8.  You weigh 40 lbs.  I remember when I was that size.  There are so many things I want to tell you and I want you to know and believe... these are the things I usually bombard you with on the daily.  But my deepest desire is that you would come to truth on your own, through discoveries you've made while being inquisitive, conclusions you arrive at after weighing the options.  You've given your life to Jesus, which is all I could ever ask...and yet there's more.  Believing and obeying Christ's calling for your life will fill your sweet little heart and mind with love and truth until you radiate His light.  I know it's sometimes difficult for you to love your sisters (girls are tricky), but when I see you lead them and love them my heart bursts with joy.  God put you at the front of our little pack for a reason.  I pray that you would understand and find joy in your purpose.  I love you, Wubs.

Here's my quick flip-book style pictures of birthday morning.  (His nana and papa had taken him on a pre-birthday day adventure to the western store and gotten him leather chaps and cowboy boots, so January and February mornings started with the full gettyup.)

Not so Pinteresting cake...but it was delish.
Post-hockey pizza party with the cousins.

Be on guard.
Stand true to what you believe.
Be courageous.
Be strong.
And everything you do must be done with love.
1 Corinthians 16:13-14

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Three Scary Words

DO  IT  YOURSELF.  You can often spot a DIY a mile away.  Just because you can doesn't mean you should is my anthem, because some things should just be left to the professionals.  Pinterest has everyone following 'easy DIY tutorials' only to crush our dreams with a big fat FAIL.  And I'm easily defeated.  "Jack of all trades, master of none" could be tattooed on my body and it would never go out of style for's not just a fleeting trend, it's my life.  That being said, I DIYed my bedroom curtain right down to the rod.  Let me show you.  

Here we have a canvas drop cloth + bits of ribbon, a foam brush + fabric dye, a pencil + ruler, a brass hand rail + brackets.

I followed this example for painting the pattern on the canvas using a 1" foam brush and fabric dye.

Andrew customized this brass RAILING (whaa?!) that he found in one of his catalogs, along with the brackets.

The view from behind- I loosely followed a tutorial for the back pleats (the gal said to use hot glue, which made me nervous, so I sewed the ribbon tabs with my machine), and used some 2" cotton ribbon I had in my wrapping drawer.

As you can see, the curtain is far from blackout, but I'd rather be awake when the sun is anyway, so it's really not a problem.  Andrew may have a different opinion...

I forgot to have my photographer take close ups of the curtain and rod, so my iphone skillz came in handy again.

Monday, July 6, 2015


Happy summer, one and all!  We've been extraordinarily busy, but I just had to pop in and show all the work Andrew has been getting done in the midst of memory making.  "Family fun time" is what my father-in-law called yard work/home repair when Andrew was growing up, which sounds ironically familiar to me too...such memories. :)

I'm going to slowly share photos instead of scaring you with 3 million like I usually do.

Our bedroom.  It's small.  But I think I've finally tweaked it enough to enjoy it for now.  Andrew will be building a platform bed with drawer storage underneath, along with hutch nightstands to the ceiling on both sides of the bed.  But for now- mismatched nightstands and minimal storage are working together for a more 'eclectic' vibe.

The white and charcoal striped bedding is from Ikea, along with the linen pillow covers.  Pale pink quilt from Target.

Andrew and I teamed up on the curtain and rod, I'll be back tomorrow with a close up.

I do have a garage screw/nail tote mounted to the wall organizing my jewelry.
All photos courtesy of Photograph Social.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


When I was at Market Flowers last spring working on a wedding, I was approached by many a stranger asking about my business (there isn't one), and if they could get a card (naturally none of those for my non-existent business).  But! my resourceful sister was assisting me that day (along with my cousin/comrade Megan), and designed some beauties with a Bic and Post-it combo that would make even the best marketers shutter at her- ahem- brilliance.  Enough people asked, to warrant a stack of pre-made 'business cards' fashioned on site by my lovely assistant.  Out of that, I got an email from a gal who lived in Chicago and whose mother had seen me at the market.  We began correspondence for her October wedding, meeting once to discuss specifics, and then again the morning before the wedding, right there at Market Flowers where it all began that fateful day in May.

We got to the market a few minutes after they opened- I had two lovely 'associates' along, one of whom is a florist (would've died without you, Sarah and Emma!).  We set to work straight away, hoping to be done with the 10 bouquets, 13 boutonnieres, 20 centerpieces, and 1 alter arrangement by the time the market closed that afternoon.  Here's where the story goes from fine to eek.  The morning flew faster than a falcon (Oliver tells me they're the fastest birds..?), and suddenly we found ourselves with a half hour left to finish more work than we had done (not true, but it felt true).  But the last 30 minutes had to be spent cleaning our work station and packing flowers securely in any boxes we could find or fashion, then loading them into the Odyssey (Goldie went from family van to Transformer, flipping, removing, and moving seats until she was officially a flower delivery truck).  We said goodbye to Emma at closing, but then Sarah and I had to think real fast about how and where we were going to finish these arrangements.

You know the kind of panic that paralyzes you and makes you wish it was tomorrow so that your current pickle was solved but you didn't have to live through it?  I had one of those.  But, as I'm really good at getting as many people involved in my personal crises as possible, I called my brother living Minneapolis and asked if we could use his house (we were approx. 2.5 hours from my own house, so that wasn't an option).  Brother Isaac had plans to work on his home renovation project since his wife and babe were gone for the weekend.  Oh dear brother, if only you had known...I had him working for me more than his house.  But in all fairness, he has known me for 30 years, and should expect these kind of opportunities when I call on him (not that he's boring, but if it weren't for me, he would have far less stories...and life experience).  Anyway, my florist partner and I sat in the front yard of that 38th street God-send cutting and arranging and working and reworking til long after dark.  I miscounted a couple of key elements that served to prolong the twilight-zone-esque day.  But alas! we put a pin in the last posy and said goodnight and a big thanks to my brother dearest and set off to deliver those blessed flowers.

I have to make a [written] toast to the bride and groom, who were the sweetest, most understanding humans.  They expressed thanks and admiration for our work in such a way that it made the long day worth it.  Looking back, I am so thankful for this amazing opportunity (did I just win a Grammy?).  God has interesting ways of teaching humility and gratitude.  The more I learn, the clearer it becomes that we are all part of a metaphorical puzzle that our Creator is setting, and when we let him put the right piece in at the right time, there is such satisfaction.  I love that my life's puzzle intersects with other peoples'.  Trying to jam pieces in or trying to avoid the less pleasant ones never works.  Wow, this just accidentally got philosophical- way above my pay grade.  Here, I'll come back down.  Eek.

All that to say, here's to a beautiful couple and a fun challenge!  The photographer- DnK Photography- did an extraordinary job.  Just look...

The adorable Mr. & Mrs.

Beautiful ladies!

Another moment of brilliance from Sarah, wrapping the stems in hosta leaves for a more polished look.

*Visit the website to see more amazing wedding photography.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Winnie the Pooh

"As soon as I saw you I knew an adventure was going to happen."  A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

My wrinkled and worried little troll, moments after we met, 1-13-14.

One year later, 1-13-15.  
With Grandbobby, his birthday buddy.

After tasting the frosting, boy's excited about cake.  Proud mommy moment.  (big sister's photobombing snoot looks pretty proud, too.)

Just before Humpty Dumpty's great fall...
Get to know him-
  • was born on Grandpa K's birthday, 55 years later.
  • has a tall head (full of smarts).
  • is the sweetest baby ever.  Oh but changing his diaper.. that's like the steer wrestling competition at the county fair.
  • his favorite things are blankie, thumb, and smiling.
  • he's not even close to walking.
  • has the appetite of a high school athlete.
  • has 10 teeth, arranged much like Oliver's and Marg's.
  • sometimes called Winnie the Pooh, or Winnie the Poopy Berry by Marg (affectionately, obviously). 

Monday, January 26, 2015

And the word of the year is...


Have you seen the quote going around the www, "Wherever you are, be all there"?  The late Jim Elliot coined the phrase, but with more vigor:

Wherever you are, be all there!  Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.

The conviction-

Presence of mind.  To hear my kids when they're saying my name.  Eagerly listen to the pastor when he's preaching.  Focus on Oliver's learning while I'm teaching him.  Stop and listen to my girls' stories about their days and their imaginings for tomorrow when I tuck them into bed (by bedtime I'm usually feeling the doneness of my parenting for the day).  To throw off distractions and just be where I am, when I am.

          *don't anyone tell Oliver about those sentence fragments.  I'd be in big trouble.

What I don't want to be content with is my relationship with Jesus, my ego, my laziness.  I want to press on in my relationships, my teaching, my learning, my service.  I don't want to settle for the way things are, but always try to improve.  I want to be a life-long learner- carpe diem every darn day,  while embracing my kids' childhood, my husband's cabinet-related ramblings, the opportunity to slow down and catch up with a friend.  

I guess what I'm saying is, I want to "Make the most of every opportunity..." Ephesians 5:16


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Christmas time was here...

...magic filled the air.

My photo journalism skills are pretty raw.  Organic, if you will.  Grainy like a loaf of bread from Whole Foods.

Oliver has commandeered my camera, taking pictures of calendars, Legos, close-ups of Winnie, his own missing teeth.  Document-worthy subject matter.  Between that fact and my natural spontaneity, I turn to my iPhone 4, and receive a nomination for worst picture of the year. 

Being hardly a queen of the kitchen (though Andrew is King of the Kitchen.  Hmmm..I guess he married a peasant), my time spent preparing meals/treats is usually flustered, so including the kids in Christmas baking is an act of love.  Cut-outs went pretty good this year though.  The cookies went good.  With milk, coffee, morning snack, afternoon tea.
Celebrating on Christmas Eve at Nana and Papa's.

Here's where it gets sad.  My house has never been as pretty at Christmas as it was this year...and this is all I have to show for it.  Next year you're all invited over and we'll skip the pictures.  Clearly not the best quality (or not so clearly, to be more technical).

The prettiest tree in the history of our little family.  (Kindly ignore the finger coverage in the upper left corner...)

These two.  Simpatico.

I hope your Christmas was filled with joy and wonder at the birth of Christ.  I regret that our Advent season felt slightly rushed and out of focus.  I had more time to reflect on Jesus' birth post-holiday than before/during.  Although we probably had things about right if you compared our activity/frame of mind to that of the city of Bethlehem during the census- hurried, frustrated, full, distracted- there wasn't a lot of stillness.  We've resolved to make Christmas 2015 more peaceful and Christ-filled.  Along with the rest of this new year.  

Monday, January 19, 2015

Christmas gifted

Oh my.  The hustle of our 2014 Christmas rivals none.  It. Was. Nuts.

As you may recall, my parents had a devastating house fire in April.  The rebuilding process has been extensive, expensive, extraordinary.

Let me set the stage for the Christmas drama.  Remember Catilyn Smith?  She is lovely.  Before Christmas she gave the opportunity to apply for a private concert in the home of a lucky fan.  I applied for my lucky parents at their new casa, and won the gig!  Approx. 4 hours before the 40+ guests and 3 musicians showed up for the social event of the season, Andrew was installing cabinetry, dad was wiring, my uncle was cleaning, mom was freaking out, and my sister and I were looking at each other wondering what to do.  I wish I had a picture.  I can usually count on my mother for pictures of any interesting family happenings, but she was nearly paralyzed with fear/disbelief that any good could come of this chaos.  Alas! we cleaned it up, set out the food, lit the candles, and had the time of our lives!
#christmaswithcait #itsadate
Cait & co. sang some of her originals (one of which she just sold to Meghan Trainor...apparently it's not ALL about that bass), and delighted us with the most amazing arrangements of Christmas classics.  Of all time.  Seriously.  I hope there's a Christmas With Cait album, I will buy one for everyone.
My dad gave a lovely (and funny) speech about how grateful he is for the help and support of so many people.  Their house is a creative collaboration that came out of the fire 1000x more amazing than it was before (post demo and reconstruction, that wasn't a refining fire, despite how that last sentence sounded.)  House pictures coming...sometime.
Sure makes me want to get my banjo tuned up.
My gorgeous sister and our talented to the max entertainers.
So much beauty, so much talent, so much merry.