30 November 2011


Just a couple of days before our Thanksgiving trip to Central Illinois, JE's family found out that MA had a business trip to Cincinnati--for his exciting new job--and that the family was invited along. So, they left GG's on Saturday morning to drive east instead of west to Omaha. The unexpected part of that news was that on their return trip to Omaha they planned to go a bit out-of-the-way and spend a couple of nights with us. We'd had no plans to be together after Thanksgiving until mid-January for JE's birthday.

4-1/2 year-old JA, 2-1/2 year-old LE, and 4 month-old LC arrived around 5:00pm and we are delighted. Over-the-moon happy. Joy filled.

We will giggle and laugh rambunctiously, cook and eat with gusto, and squeeze in as many hugs and kisses as is humanly possible. We'll delight in their witticisms; rejoice in their joie de vivre.

It's all good...

29 November 2011


Musee Renoir/Les Collettes; Cagnes-sur-Mer

We were here one year ago today. Such wonderful memories.


My Thanksgiving Day fever, chills, and sore throat have been officially a sinus infection since wake-up yesterday (Monday). In pj's all day, I resorted to day-dreaming about a spontaneous beach vacation for CA and I, and did some Internet exploring.

I don't visit Craig's List on any kind of regular basis, but we did buy a beach week last May for JE's family on CL. And yesterday, I found 6 French dining chairs for $250. Yep, $250( total) for 2 arm chairs and 4 side chairs.

I enlisted LL's time, opinion, and SUV to check out those chairs today. Had to go today, because someone else was scheduled for tomorrow. While the existing upholstery is more than funky, the shapes are excellent and the frames are heavy and solid. SOLD!

We will use the two arm chairs as occasional chairs in our study-dining room, along with two side chairs at the desk/table. Another side chair goes in the morning room, with the final chair in reserve.

Tomorrow I will wash-down the painted surfaces and consider whether they are good-to-go or need to visit the  faux-finish painter in Chicago. DV will soon be enlisted to help select the two fabrics--arm chairs will have fronts Fabric A, backs Fabric B; side chairs will be the reverse. Thinking toile or checks, or maybe toile and checks...

Here are a few I've bookmarked in the past.

Or, maybe we'll use this blue/camel plaid from the ottoman top, coordinated with the brown fabric used in the cording on the embroidered medallion chair and toile ottoman.

27 November 2011


Kids' table at GG's on Thanksgiving.

Liliana Grace

Jonah Allan

Kristina Faith

Lucy Elizabeth

Noël Joy

Levi Christopher

David and Majka

(Whoops! Missed getting Jenni and Matthew together. 
Update to come...)

After almost a week of family activity it is very quiet here this morning. CA and I are on our own after an early wake-up (3:45am) and driving both cars to O'Hare Airport for a 6:25am flight.

DM's family are on their way home to Orlando, while JE's family is unexpectedly in Cincinnati after three days in Central Illinois visiting GG and extended family. Cousins, cousins, and more cousins. Some of them middle-aged and older, but plenty of them just the right age.

Besides visiting great grandma (CA's mom), everyone (except Marielle) spent Friday dinner with my dad--their great grandpa. He raised 6 kids who in turn had a total of 13 offspring resulting in 26 great grandchildren, and counting... My sister and her husband (PM and MM) hosted a casual family evening at their home which included 7 of those grandkids and 15 of the great grandkids (14 of them 6 years and younger).

If you come from a large family, you need math skills to keep track!

This was the first time in almost two years that CA and my family were all together. In January 2010, NJ was a 2 week-old infant when we were in our home celebrating JE and KF's birthdays--31 and 2 years, respectively. Since DM's family resided in Bratislava, Slovakia until moving to Orlando in August and JE's family lives in Omaha, getting together was difficult.

But at GG's request, everyone traveled to her home in Eureka, including CA's sister's entire family of 5. We drove in or flew in from Orlando, Chicago, Denver, New Orleans, Kalamazoo, and Omaha. GG's retirement community offers two 2-bedroom cottages for rent and a 2-bedroom lodge (basement!), which turned out to be spacious and comfortable and only 2 minutes from GG's cottage.

So, we gathered... GG's two children, their spouses, 4 adult grandkids, 2 spouses, and an adult step-grandkid talked, laughed, cooked, ate, laughed, talked, ate and interacted with the 6 great grandkids--ages 6-1/2, 4-1/2, almost 4, 3-1/2, almost 2, and 4 months. Lots of personalities and loads of energy. And, everyone was well-behaved. Really. Shockingly so. It helped that the weather, while cloudy most of the time was temperate and so the little kids could run off some of that excess energy.

We ate traditional Thanksgiving food, including home-made apple and peach pies and GG's home-made noodles and dinner rolls. We'd planned to order-in for a meal or two, but between all of us there were plenty of food options--including homemade soups and cookies, and Thanksgiving leftovers. No one got a chance to be hungry.

GG's brother, sister, and nephew visited on Friday, spending hours reminiscing and sharing genealogy details--details 17 year-old Hannah was keen to uncover.

We enjoyed every moment of our time with our kids and their families and while DM's has gone, we are anticipating an unexpected few days mid-week with JE's family on their return from Cincinnati. That visit is motivating me to deck the halls in preparation. There's not much better than seeing the delight small children express when they are surprised by Christmas lights and decorations.

Noël helps bake apple pie.

22 November 2011


Here's a sampling of where we're at with our redecorating--glaring sunshsine and all. None of the accessories are finalized, and there will be some rearranging of furniture, some repainting, and additions. The fabric references are here.


Unfortunately, you can't see that the ottoman fringe
is repeated on the lumbar-support throw pillow.

The ottoman fringe is Kravat Couture--a remnant. 
Our decorator dug deep to find it.

The red half-wall will be repainted in the SW Blonde.

The yellow cabinet will be repainted a grey green--
without disturbing much of the detail work.

The semi-detached back cushion will be re-worked to
a smoother shape.

Love, love, love this fabric!

I'll post later with some detail-specific photos. Like the custom curtain rod, a close-up of the Kravat Couture fringe (boullion(!)), the lovely toile ottoman, etc.

18 November 2011


My days recently have been mostly "hurry up and wait." D+M's family flies in on Monday morning and on Wednesday the family gathers in Eureka. J+M's family drives in from Omaha (can't wait to cuddle baby Levi), and LFW's family arrives from New Orleans, Michigan, and Colorado. GiGi's cottage will be bursting at the seams and overflowing. Between now and then there's a bunch of grocery shopping, some more cookie baking (molasses cookies and shortbread already in the freezer), and a bit of rearranging of the guest bedrooms.

The Huge Project is closer to being done--draperies arrive and will be hung on Monday afternoon. The two lovely lounge chairs require some adjustments by the upholsterer, but for now we're just happy they're in-place providing much needed seating in the great room. Not sure if the custom throw pillows are coming on Monday, but I've decided that any accessorizing can wait until the little girls are back in Florida. I don't have my mojo together, and there's just less to worry about by keeping things simple.

CA has been working more than he'd like, and found out yesterday that this will continue until midway through January. He's just happy to have a defined schedule for now. This very, very part-time work has escalated more than anyone expected. He's such a trooper.