Saturday, July 30, 2011

He's definitely got the passion

But does he have the talent?

a small slice of my small brain.

Have you ever watched the Food Network shows and wondered if the taste-testers in the kitchen are actually lying? I mean, how are we supposed to know if all those moans and exclamations of delight are sincere? Just once I'd like to see someone take the taste of truth, turn it around in their mouths a bit, then say, "You know Rachel (Jamie, Martha, Julia, etc), I'm only so-so about this one - definitely not one of your best." They can't hit a home run every time, right?

That was just a sample of the deep thoughts I've been thinking this morning.

You're welcome.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Farm Table Re-Do

As I've said before, this is most definitely not a DIY blog. But I have continued dabbling in furniture refinishing (at a very leisurely pace), and I have sold two of my projects, one of them being the chair and bench I blogged about before. That helps me feel justified to continue financing my habit.

Jessie and I picked up this table at a garage sale about six weeks ago. It is a solid pine Mexican table, originally purchased at Pier One. It came with four chairs, and the whole set was only $20. From the beginning I planned on changing it to a farm table feel, and that would not match the chairs (They were parsons style, and upholstered in an Aztec print). So I mended their cat-clawed edges and put them on Craigslist (where I recouped the amount spent, times two).

Then (over the course of several weeks) I sanded the tabletop and stained it a dark walnut,
and primed, painted, and antiqued the legs.

The pine has a lot of texture and worm holes in it.

I like the way the stain and dark glaze seeped into it.

The drawer in this table is super cool, and the hardware is awesome and a little rusty.

 I really would like to keep this one, but I bought it with the intention of selling it, so it must be sold. Hopefully it is gone by the end of the weekend. Our dining room is feeling pretty claustrophobic about now, and besides, I've seen what happens to tabletops in this house. I'm a little worried about it's long-term survival in our dining room.

This is the Before:

I liked the rough-hewn look of the original piece, but it had been abused pretty badly, with large parts of the finish flaking off, and paint splattered all over the top.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


If you are reading this on my actual site, and not just in your google reader, you will notice a few changes. Things are still under construction, and I can't promise you that they will be finished in a timely fashion (but I can promise you that they won't). Most notably you see that the name of this blog has changed. I'll go into the appropriateness of that name later (Jessie's middle name really is James!), but for now you might want to make a note that the web address has changed. You should still be directed here from the old address for a time, but I think you will need to update the address in whatever reader you use.

For now I'm just glad I don't have to feel guilt over the exclusion of Emeth every time I see my blog header anymore!

Thanks everyone for reading my sporadic updates. I don't know who most of you are, but I trust that you are all lovely ;).

*Updated* I lied! You will not be automatically redirected from my old address! But I put a stub there with a link to this site. I guess I should have known from my past stormy relationship with blogger that it would not be that simple!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011

Ye Olde Facebook Statuses

Due to transportation issues and Jessie's very late night, we stayed home and had home church this morning. Half the congregation sat on the preacher's lap.
Eliza: "Theia, do you want to feel me? I'm all sweaty!" Theia politely declined.
Eliza just requested that I do her hair in a "french fry" braid.
Theia: "If I tell you I like what you made for dinner, can I have a piece of candy?" She thinks bribery works both ways.
I really wish I could record how hard Emeth is laughing at Theia right now! He is practically exhausted from laughing.
Eliza does NOT like spretzel butts (spretzel butts = brussels sprouts).
is snuggling with a sick and very out-of-sorts almost four year old who could throw up on her at any moment. Ahh, motherhood.
I think it was too late in the day to start cleaning the girls' room. I wish I'd never opened this Pandora's Box.
In the meat department at Publix tonight, Theia, eager to display her knowledge loudly says "Did you know those are actually animals? But they're all dead!" Yes. Thank you.
On a scale of 1 to 10, with one being complete and utter squalor, and 10 being Howard Hughes like sanitation, where does your house fall? I think mine is below the median.
To hear Theia talk, you'd think Jessie spends all his time at work daydreaming. It's tough being an "Imaginer".
has many things to do, but there is a six month old asleep in my lap, and he's too sweet to put down.
Eliza: "Aren't you so glad that I am your precious little girl?" Am I ever
"I don't want to miss out on my beautiful painted tony-nails" was probably the worst excuse for not taking a nap that I've ever heard from Theia. It didn't work, either.
has discovered that when Theia sweeps the floor, it does not look as good as it does when I do it, but it looks a whole lot better than it does when I don't do it. And I can live with that.
Went into Emeth's room to get him up this morning, and he greeted me by grabbing his crib bars and pulling himself up to stand. Sheesh, he's only 6 and a half months old!
Theia called Kay earlier so they could wish each other a happy birthday. Theia expressed shock when Kay told her it was warm there; "WHAT?! But you live in Michigan, it's ALWAYS cold there! Don't you have any snow right now?" I love eavesdropping on her phone conversations. (this was in June)
Eliza to Penny: "I like your baby. She's fancy."
Theia: "Why do you have to do that?" Jessie: "Because its part of my job." Theia (incredulously): "Its part of your job to work?!"
I love how all three of our girls always refer to their toes as "tootsie-toes".
Okay Emeth, I know you have to grab everything, but do you really have to grab EVERYTHING?!
Came out this morning to see Ingrid lying on the couch, fast asleep. When she woke up Jessie asked why she wasn't in bed, and she explained that there was a "biskeeto" in her room keeping her awake. Smart two year old.
Emeth has this special, shocked-sounding cry he pulls out just for naps. I'm not sure why a nap is such a shocking thing after all this time.
Theia: "...and please help me to be proper. Amen."
Today Theia was looking at a history picture book when she came to me excitedly, saying "Look at this! He looks just like Uncle Warren!" She was pointing to a picture of Amelia Earhart.
Seals are cute, and babies are cute; but babies barking like seals - not cute.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

This one says it all...

Hurry up and grow, Emeth! Can I get a little help here?!

The Last Hurrah

Just wrapping up with some pictures from our last stop before bidding farewell to John, Penny, Ethan, and Bexy.

Ethan had been promised that he would see alligators, so a trip to Sawgrass Lake was in order. There are many alligators in the Florida wildlife area of the zoo, but wouldn't you know it, the alligator display was closed on our last visit! It's actually much more exciting to see an animal in it's natural habitat anyways.

Bev came along with us just because she's awesome.

We'd barely even stepped on the bridge

before we spotted one.

(Craning her neck to look at the little guy hiding underneath the bridge.)

We spent some time at the lookout tower

watching the fish and turtles

and just looking plain adorable.

Someone informed us that there was a mother on the nest along the side of the boardwalk nearby.

We had walked right past without noticing her on our way to the tower. Definitely a Big Mama. I had never been that close to a full-grown gator before.

Then we headed back along the boardwalk through the swamp.

It's a pretty magical place.

Especially when you have this crowd with you.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Independence Day, the beginning, the middle, and the end.

It started with

a party


and patriotism.

Then there was an interlude
of playing

with pals


and posing

in the pool.

About that time we ran out of 'p's,
and switched to 's'es

for sparklers

and staying up way past our bedtimes.

Sounds Superb
(and it was)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Nobody told them

about the tidal wave poised to capsize their little family portrait

until it was right upon them.

Brothers-in-law do not make trustworthy photographers.

The jury was divided about whether or not it was fun.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

why people really come to see us...

There is no denying that we are simply a delightful bunch of people to be around
(provided that we have all had naps and snacks)   

but I think the promise of sand, sun, and waves 
is also a large enticement to our visitors.

 And we are always happy to oblige.

 Of course, it seems Rebecca may have come down for the sole purpose of 
proving that she sports the cutest bathing ensemble ever worn.

Mission Accomplished.

I hope my next bathing suit comes with a shower cap.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Magical Wonderland

After the zoo, we took our guests to one of the coolest places on earth, our front yard.

We are so very fortunate to be renting a house that has an awesome feature that comes with it; this banyan tree:

Banyan trees are technically not a "tree". They are a strangler fig that originates in a tree or building structure, eventually overtaking it's host, and any other thing in it's path if it isn't pruned preventively. The branches spread outward, and their hanging vines grow into the ground and thicken to form multiple supportive trunks. They have a very "sci-fi" look to them. Although they do grow in Florida, they are not particularly common, especially in residential areas. It is not unusual for us to glance out our window and see a vehicle stopped in the middle of the road while it's gawking passengers snap pictures of it on their i-phones, or to see a group of people gathered on our sidewalk, gaping up at it. Usually these are neighbors with a group of white and pasty out-of-town houseguests in tow. Our house attracts a kind of "botanical paparazzi". Not that it's gone to our heads or anything.

As you can see in the picture above and the one below, the tree has a fantastic multi-level play area in it's cradle. We put all the kids (including John) up there later in the evening after our zoo trip.

As you can see by their faces, they hadn't quite recovered from the zoo by that time.

Some of the hanging vines are great for playing Tarzan too.

Our landlords inform us that this particular tree actually is a sprout from a rather famous banyan tree located in Fort Myers, FL. Covering almost a full acre, it is the largest banyan in the continental United States, and it was planted by Thomas Edison in 1925. It is one of the main attractions at the winter estates of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. Click on the link below if you want to see a tour of that tree, it's pretty cool.
 Tour of the Edison Banyan Tree

I don't know how much longer we will live here, but the tree will definitely be a hard thing to leave behind when the time comes.

Friday, July 8, 2011


Now let's pick up where we left off at the zoo. Always the last thing on our zoo agenda, and always so timely, this Down Under themed splash pad is such an awesome addition.

The cuzzos had a great time together.

I have a crush on him.

Even the babies wanted a piece of the action.


After wandering around dazedly in the hot sun for several hours,
it's a great place to just pull up a waterfall and unwind.

Just out of curiosity, did anyone spot the two instances of completely horrendous, inexcusably lazy photo editing? Sometimes when there are background people in your shots you can leave them alone and they aren't too distracting, and other times you just can't.