This past weekend, we were blessed by a visit from our dear friends, Becky, Greg, Mia and Gavin! Mia is 4 and Brooklyn and Gavin are six weeks apart in age, and they all play together beautifully! The time flew by too quickly!
My family is blessed to have a wonderful place we like to call the Farm. I don't really know why we call it the farm, because there are no animals, no rows of corn or anything like that. It's not a working farm, but we have always referred to it as such. The land has been in my mother's family for generations, and my parents built a cabin/house down there a few years ago. It has become one of my favorite places to go. Gently rolling meadows, a pond, tons of woods and trails to 4wheel on, peace, quiet and utter relaxation.
A few weeks ago, this is where Kyle and I hauled our little family, dogs included, to quietly vacation. We brought and read tons of books, I brought my cookbooks and cooked up a storm (pie crusts from scratch, banana bread with chocolate and strawberries...), we took a kiddy pool and all three of us splashed for hours, Kyle worked on some photography projects and rode the 4wheelers, I fished for about 15 minutes before getting fed up...it was the perfect vacation. I absolutely hated to leave. Anyway, here are some pictures of our time down there. It is our haven...a home away from home.
We have discovered that regardless of how much sunscreen we slather on her body, our little Brooklyn browns right up. Kyle, in particular, finds this hilarious - since the result is a bright white hiney and ever-darkening legs and arms! This particular picture shows the whiteness of her hiney, but really, as it was taken a few weeks ago, isn't even truly reflective. She's also done some nude sunbathing and now her hiney is much more tan. :)
I must extend the heartiest of thanks to our friends Toby and Charla, who offered us 2 tickets to a tennis exhibition featuring none other than the one, the only, PETE SAMPRAS (only the world's GREATEST tennis player,) and if not the greatest, then the world's most notorious tennis player, JOHN MCENROE! Not only did T & C offer us free tickets, but those tickets happened to plant us front row - courtside. I could have walked over and touched either gentleman, and believe me, was incredibly tempted to. I made eye contact - eye contact, I tell you - with Pete. Twice. I was smitten. Ladies, he may be a hairy beast, but he has charisma. My husband, Kyle, had no idea that I could turn into such a groupie! I told him it was just cause it was Pete. I wouldn't normally melt into a puddle otherwise.
Pete and JohnnyMac played best of 3 sets, and the younger great (Sampras) won out in a second set tiebreak (6-4, 7-6). It was a dazzling display of tennis skills. Groundshots the way they were meant to be hit. Serves that I drooled over - particularly cause McEnroe is a fellow lefty and his slice and spin just astounds you. The ball moves in ways that the wind can't explain. It's one thing to watch the pros play on tv - the French Open, Wimbledon, the upcoming US Open. It's an entirely different thing to watch those incredible athletes bound across the court in person to volley a winner at an angle that you could practice years and still never master. To see drop shots screech to a halt just over the net, bounce once and then just stop - absolutely un-returnable. For any tennis lover, which Kyle and I are just, uh, SLIGHTLY, it was a heavenly afternoon.
The funny thing Kyle likes to point out is that in my childhood days, when I was lucky enough to catch a tennis match on telly, which was rare - my family didn't have a TV and I was the only one with an interest in tennis, I had a little crush on John McEnroe. Never mind that he looked just like Bozo the Clown...fortunately my taste improved over time. He still rocks a tennis court, though. And I got to see some of his famous court-side "flair" as he reamed out the referee for a shrill mic problem and some ridiculous line calls. He probably also loved how the idiot fans broke all tennis protocol and walked about during the playing of points - seriously people. And how the ballboys & gals couldn't figure out how to keep the balls from moving around during play, or how they went from having six balls in rotation to a meager two until Johnny walked over and just produced a handfull of balls to distribute. Oops.
However, the highlight of the match was when Pete stopped play as Johnny was about to serve cause a hapless young chap with his freshly purchased lemonade was ignorantly walking behind the baseline to return to his seat. JohnnyMac turned around ever so slowly - glowering darkly into the stands to see who dare interrupt his serve..... When he zeroed in on the culprit, he strode purposefully over to the seat, pointed his racquet at the kid menacingly as the crowd held its collective breath (surely he wouldn't scream at a kid!!!). He said, Give me the lemonade. The kid stared. John repeated, "Give me the lemonade." The kid handed it over. Johnny swigged half the thing down, let out a big sigh, gave it back to the kid, turned around and served out the rest of his game.
Who would have thought that the color we settled on - New Black - would have no black in it at all? Or that the original color of blue we abandoned, did, in fact, have several bits of black in it? In fact, the New Black has a base of fabulously vivid magenta! The guy at Lowe's, when I handed him the paint chip and requested a quart (my sample size), asked me if this was my intended color selection, or did I really want black. No, I answered emphatically - I want NEW BLACK. Ok, he said, as he opened the base can to reveal a magenta that made my skin tingle with anticipation. He eyed me with a slight bit of trepidation, to which I responded with a confident grin - EXCELLENT! THIS is exactly what I was looking for. My fellow paint purchasers experienced similar surprises when the base color for a hunter green turned out to be a vibrant royal blue that I thought was gorgeous! I am just crazy about color. No way around it.
What I don't understand is why I never thought of asking what the components of any given color are! It's fascinating. Just knowing that the New Black color had a magenta base - and I KNEW I felt a sort of purple connection with it - made so much sense to me. Man! What a whole new world I have discovered! As soon as we have finished covering our TV cabinet with this New Black, the pics shall be revealed. Meanwhile, if you need me, I'll be at Lowe's disecting paint chips...
One of my passions is estate sales. I love searching for hidden jewels, whether it be old dishes (I collect tea cups and cake stands), vintage linens, or even a box of ace bandages with the little metal catches still attached(!!). A few months back, Kyle and I stumbled upon the mother of all estate sales. This one held a treasure trove of furniture and art - the biggest attraction to us was the vintage gallery posters. We made a major HAUL - an antique toybox with velvet flocking ($25), an adorable little chair ($5), an antique chair with beautiful bones ($45), tons of art and a fabulous turquoise bed covering which is in my future torquoise room.
The problem we now have is framing! Framing is not cheap, and I am not one to throw something on the walls just to have something up. So we have a guest bedroom devoted to our unframed objects (everything from our "new" vintage gallery posters to watercolors I purchased in Budapest and Prague to samples sent to Kyle from an amazing illustrator), just begging for placement on the walls of our house! And I would so love to answer their calls, but my pocketbook is not quite as ready.
Someday, I hope, the walls of this great house will support a collection of art slowly collected with love and care by me and Kyle.
The Fourth of July is commonly referred to as Independence Day, and it is. However, around our house, we like to call it - All Day Daddy Day! Because it's a day in the middle of the week in which Daddy is at home with me and Brooklyn all day. Duh. This was a particularly special day for us, so we started it with a yummy breakfast of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls, piping hot Gevalia coffee and a plate of sliced nectarines, plump red cherries and banana. We swam at the pool until storm clouds chased us away. And we tackled two of our DIY projects: the spraypainting of our above-mantel mirror and the painting of our TV cabinet.
Now, tell me this, why is it that you can never quite get the color you want on the first try! The challenge we faced was picking out the perfect blue that said MODERN, rather than country or cutesy. We spent 30 minutes at Lowes examining every blue paint chip they had, and confidently walked away with what we just knew would work. Until Kyle got the majority of the cabinet painted only to realize, simultaneously, that it was just TOO blue. TOO country-looking. We wanted something darker, more almost-black, something with a bit more purple in it...something we had to go back to Lowe's to find...
A trip to Lowe's later and a little more black in our remaining blend and we still don't think we have it. But we do have a new paint chip that we really do think is the one. So, maybe tomorrow we'll have the right color. Meanwhile, here are the fruits of our labor.
And Brooklyn and I absolutely LOVED having Daddy around all day. I wish every day were All Day Daddy Day, but I guess then it wouldn't be such a special day, huh?
A holiday mid-week feels like a weekend in the middle of the week, as my sister-in-law, Anna, pointed out. And therefore, deserves a special celebration. One worthy of hamburgers, french fries, fried okra and some friends. This is the South, after all, where chivalry is alive and well, the humidity is always 98% and people still know their neighbors.
Anna and Zach invited us over to their place on Candlewick, and as always, her house stirred my creative juices. I love the way she decorates and always leave inspired!
While Anna, Liz, Melissa and I gabbed about our latest decorating projects, the merits of West Elm, acrylic candelabras and gun-shaped flower vases, our men pulled out some cards and waged a war of wit. There is something so hysterical about hearing grown men talk smack over a hand of UNO. Somehow, my own daughter was dealt into the game, albeit briefly. Her idea of a good card is a card that she can munch on. Ah well.
Home improvement projects are suddenly the order of the day here on Goshen. I don't know if it's summertime or because I've been scouring Domino magazines and getting inspired. Plus, I have been influenced by two of my favorite people - Liz and Anna - who are equally enamored with the quest to create the perfect rooms. There is no such thing, I believe, but the pursuit of it can be mighty fun.
The only project I have completed on my DIY short list, is the subtle transformation of my breakfast room. It occurred to me that the white background of my china/display cabinets was too blah in the room, so after much deliberation and a trip to Lowe's, they have been transformed into something less blah and more fitting of the room. They are not actually as vibrant as "after" picture makes them out to be, but I quite like them.
Who among us hasn't taken a moment to do just this - stand directly on top of the air conditioner vent and let it puff out our t-shirts. Brooklyn absolutely loves her vents, and frankly, tends to monopolize them.
On rare occasions, I am able to curl up on the couch with a book. And since we recently made a trip to the public library (YEAH!!!), I now have reading materials! Well, the moment I got all comfy, Brooklyn crawled up onto the couch with me to read her own books. I love getting all tangled up with her, particularly when she's just wearing her diaper!
Hey there. I'm Ashley - wife of Kyle, mother of 5: Brooklyn, August, Dorien, Wyeth and Wilder. New residents of Chicago, my favorite city in the world. We live in an old 1893 home that you'll hear all about as we fix it up and make it home. We are Christ followers, home-schoolers, adventure seekers, fun lovers, DIYers, creative souls and this blog is about our lives.