29 August 2012

Amazing Grace

August 2012
Happy First Birthday Little One!
It's your special day.

About 6 years ago my daughter Kate came home from college with a new friend named Michael.  They went to University in Texas and since we live in California we were excited to learn that his family lived just up the road from us here in So. California.  How they found each other in an entire community of young adults I'll never know. Except that the college only has about 2,000 kids.  But still...

Friends forever!

Anyhoo, the two of them conspired, and decided that their parents had a lot in common and should meet, so while they were back in California on a break from school, we all went out to dine at one of our favorite little eateries nearby.  Short of the long, we’ve been as thick as thieves ever since. 

While they were away at University they each met the love of their lives in the great state of Texas and married within a year of each other, just after graduation.  Michael married a Catherine but, she's called Katie and my Kate and my Kate's hubby Justin are now thick as thieves just like their parents.  Each married someone from another state but settled right here in good old Southern California.  We always knew we had smart kids!  And that sometimes God answers prayers just the way we were hoping He would :)

All this is relevant (you didn’t think I would post anything irrelevant did you)?  Because the couple to marry first had their baby first. (I'm still waiting on mine but, no pressure guys.

Michael and Katie's little darling is named Grace and she just had her first birthday which we had the privilege of attending last weekend.  The party was thrown by some serious first and second generation party animals which makes Grace a third generation party girl.  The party lasted for seven hours, so I would say it was a great success! This little post is in honor of a baby girl that I just adore and by the end of this missive I'll bet you will too.

Oh my, how I love pretty pink parties!

Oh!  Pink, Pink, Pink. Who knew they made champagne glasses in Pink!

LOve  ThEm.
First off, I'd be remiss if I didn't say this.  I may have mentioned in a previous post called, "What's In A Name," how much I love the name Grace.  I sadly, lost a baby girl in my second trimester many years ago.  I named her Addison, which is another form of the name Grace. Grace and all forms of it may be the name dearest to my heart.

My eldest daughter has two daughters whose names are Emma and Abigail and both are also forms of the name Grace.  I don't make this stuff up.  Google it.  My second daughter carries her grandmother’s name, Elisabeth.  Yes, you guessed it – another form of the name Grace.  My Golden Retriever was named Bella Grace.  Okay, I’ve gone too far and I've made my point, so now I’ll make it go away.  Well, in just a minute...

Grace:  derived from the Latin “gratia” meaning, Gods favor, blessing, good will.  In Christian theology Grace is the unconditional love.  God’s mercy, kindness, favor and thanks.  And we are all thankful for little Grace!

I can’t help it, just one more thing!  Gaelic, (you knew I had to throw some of the Irish in here). And besides if I didn’t it just wouldn’t be right because our little Grace may be half French, but the best half is Irish! (Sorry Grandmama Helene  - you're welcome Gpa Steve!) Gaelic for Granny which means love, is Grainne which also means GRACE. That's what my 6 grandkids call me.  I'm done now, I pinky swear.

Hiya Daddy.  Did I mention Grace's daddy Michael has a great big heart?  He also has the most incredible blue eyes? Grandmama has them too and they make me swoon.  Is that wrong?

Our little Grace is an angel.  She is the easiest, most content baby ever and from what I hear, her daddy, in contrast was quite hyper, sassy and as they say, a hand full.  Although his gorgeous blue eyes (which you can see again in little Grace) and mirthful smile, made up for it, and everybody loved him.  I can't say for sure, but I think that this dolly got her disposition from her mommy.  Grace also has her beautiful mother's introspection, and always seems to be concentrating, understanding and learning.  Like her mother, she's smart as a whip.  She is incredibly tactile and must touch and feel everything, turning it round and round and studying it as she does.  She reminds me of a little mystic, always analyzing the object of her attention, the wheels of her mind turning as she decides the what, when, where and why of things.

Grace turned one, and as is typical for the birthday party of a one year old there were about three kids under the age of ten and the rest were aunties, uncles, cousins, friends and just plain fans of Grace, there just to celebrate her. Everyone missed the other half of her family who live in Michigan, but hopefully this post will let them share with their beautiful girl. The  guests, the juicy burgers and hot dogs, rose champagne, gorgeous weather and party games, made Grace’s birthday party a grand success. It was a perfect summer day with friends milling about in a sea of perfect princess pink.  I enjoyed my champagne in a fluted pink glass and took in the scene.

Most of the men played a simple game. Simple.  Beer and men seem to have a lot in common and a jigger of fun together.  Both are involved in the game, Corn Hole. I’m not sure who the reigning champion turned out to be, but I think it was my very own hubby.  A truly simple man who loves a pint and the game  of Corn Hole. (Don't tell him but, I think he may be getting his very own set for his birthday.  Corn Hole can be played at the beach too, don't you think?

This is my hubby.  Although he is playing the infamous game of Corn-hole which I will henceforth explain, this is not the typical stance one takes when playing the game.  Hours of the game and a little beer may have simplified things by the end of the afternoon.  Just sayin'.

What is Corn hole? WARNING - if you don't have a boatload of time yet still want to know how to play the game, just skip the following copy and look at the pictures :}
Corn hole, or Corn Toss, is a game in which players take turns pitching small bags filled with corn (or sand or beans) at a raised platform with a hole in the far end. A corn bag in the hole scores 3 points, while one on the platform scores 1 point. Play continues until a player reaches the score of 21. The platforms measure 4'x2' and are generally made of wood, although plastic can be a suitable replacement. The bags are generally 6x6", made with duck cloth, and filled with dry feed corn.  This is a really classy game.  Seriously.

Corn hole is taken very seriously at birthday parties, backyard soirĂ©es and in colleges.  It has taken the place of the infamous drinking game Pong on college campuses.  I was as surprised as you will be to find that they have their own Charter and Purpose which I will include here but please don’t waste your time reading it.  Just let it be said that if you don’t know Corn Hole yet, don’t’ say I didn’t warn you and try to educate you here first.  For more information (as if I didn’t already exceed demand for explanation of such a thing), just Google Corn Hole Games, and you can find out all there is to know and where to buy all the not sophisticated equipment.  OMG, YOU ARE WELCOME.

Remember this is not required reading pertinent to the rest of the blog post!

ACA Charter and Purpose:

Promote and Grow - Spread the game of Corn hole / Corn Toss to all fifty states in the United States of America.

Educate and Inform - To educate friends and neighbors that are new to the game of Corn hole / Corn Toss and to provide a forum to share the latest Corn hole / Corn Toss news and information

Standardize Corn hole / Corn Toss Rules - To establish and promote consensus for an official set of rules of Corn hole / Corn Toss that can be used to standardize tournament play around the Country.

Recommend Corn hole / Corn Toss Equipment Standards - To establish and promote consensus for equipment standards used in Corn hole / Corn Toss tournament play around the country.

Ranking and Rating System - To establish a standard ranking and rating system to allow ACA members to compete with one another around the country based on statistical results of their Corn hole / Corn Toss play.

Share Information - To provide a forum for Cornholers around the world to share ideas, information and stories.
  Again I exclaim, “OMG!"  I told you, you should just look at the pictures.

Now that's more like it.  This is how it's supposed to look.  You show 'em how to play the game Mr. Swink.  Nice form by the way.

Just look at Joseph!  You can start playing Corn hole at any age, but you must have extraordinary powers of concentration like our boy Joe here.

Meanwhile, back at the real party - Loads of fun of other kinds was taking place.

Did I mention that Grace sports her very own pink Little Tykes car? It is obviously fuel efficient and from what I understand, even Little Tykes cars are welcome to park in those special 'fuel efficient car only' spaces at Whole Foods.

She does have a little bit of a cell phone addiction at this point and we're working on that.  I believe she was ticketed for texting and driving and now she has promised to talk on her cell only when she's parked or when she's walking on her own two feet as you can see here.


This is Grace's gorgeous mommy. She's a teeny thing. Easy to see where Grace got her petite little frame, her luscious lips and her fashion sense!

Come on kids, its time for my favorite part.  PRESENTS!

Let me just put it out there right now.  Kids get awesome presents.  These may or may not still be at Grace's house and not in my new toy closet.

More and more and more presents. The wrapping is as fun as what's inside, don't you agree?

You have to have an audience when you open presents.  I don't know who made up that rule, and it kind of embarrasses me when I have to do it. But I am a rule follower for the most part, so there you have it. These darling girls were more than willing to ooh and ahh over all the fun gifts and Grace didn't mind at all. 

These girls have known each other since they were wee rebels at Catholic Primary School and most went to University together. I can not say enough kind words about these girls, each and every one.  They are pure quality in every way and give womanhood a good name.  I'm so proud of all of them, not only for their accomplishments but, because they are women of faith and virtue and blaze a wide trail that every girl should follow.

My Kate is the one in the cute orange patterned blouse.  She is flanked by her former roommates whom we affectionately call, "The cousins".  That's because they're cousins, and there are more where those came from.  All three girls got married this year, so we've had nothing but fun — and presents. But now, enough talk of presents...  Its time for cake!

Everybody loves a giant cupcake.  This one was so giant, I think even our girl Grace was taken aback!  I can tell you with conviction that this was one great tasting cupcake.  The only thing that would have made it better was if it was chocolate.

So sweet, both baby and cake.  But never fear, one of my gifts was a baby tooth brush!  I know, I know, I'm beloved for my thoughtful gifts.

There were lots of guests at Grace's party.  They ranged in age from one to eighty-one.  This is our friend Jimmy.  He has a twin brother and they just celebrated their first teenaged birthday.  Happy Birthday guys!

I love, love, love, this photo.  This is Grace's Gpa and Jimmy.  They're fast friends.  You can always see the love between them and it's captured just perfectly right here.  

Gpa Steve loves Jimmy so much he shared his cell phone number with him and they talk regularly.  Now that's true love!

What is the most fun new party game ever (besides Corn Hole)?  Writing on any sort of glass — windows, mirrors, with white board marker.  From what I hear it comes right off with a damp cloth.  It better because, everyone at the party couldn't resist the Picasso in themselves.  We all had fun creating art at Grace's party and since I'm throwing a little bash of my own over here at The Cottage on Saturday, I may just throw out a few colors of and see what transpires!

Sadly, the party's over for now I guess.  Except for the party girl who I hear jigged long into the night.  Look at her go.  Partaaaaaaaaaaaaay!  

Love you more than I love pink,

Blessings of Grace,


14 August 2012

Bummin' it Beach Style

Was there a heat wave in your part of the world today.  There was one here so I took the day of and bummed it beach style.

I always like to color coordinate when I go to the beach.  The surf was good, the sand was fine and the people watching was as entrancing as always.

I don't know this guy but, I wish I could sleep like that!

My youngest son entered and took 3rd place in the ISF Bodysurfing Championship and he was the youngest entrant!

IIs he not adorable?

Is he not adorable too?  These are just some of the perks of living at the beach!

Wish you were here with me!

Blessings from Cottage By The Sea,


03 August 2012

Do It Yourself, I Don't Have Time

Remember how many times I've told you I'm not a DIY Blog?  If I could do this for you I would, but I just don't have the time.  And if I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, you are now capable of doing this yourself. I know, I don't say that to you but, I say it to someone.

Once in a while though, I happen to have my camera and I shoot a few pics.  I try to explain how I do stuff, but that's not really my forte' so you just kinda have to take it for what it is.  An attempt to explain how I did something myself.   Just another shenanigan I've been up to, kind of like this one when I re-did the bedroom in the first place.

I could make this little ditty for you but then you wouldn't have any fun, and this was pretty fun!  I have to admit, the outcome is the most fun part but even just making was kind of a zen, just twisting and turning yarn and all. Yep, that's all there is to it.  You just wind yarn round and round and round. 

So this is an easy-peezy project and then I've got to go because, today is my baby's 18th birthday and she's my last baby.  I have to go to bed and cry the rest of the day, but I'll see you next time I post, K?  It's Maggie's birthday and I'll cry if I want to.  You'll cry to when it happens to you.  

Here is my last baby.  She makes my life just a little more fun & quirky as you can see right here.  My baby said, in a huff one day not long ago when I grounded her, "I'm moving out when I'm 18, on the stroke of midnight!"  You don't thing she meant it do you?  Just tell me no, it'll make me feel better.

This is a photo of my newly remodeled studio.  This is the last time any of us will see it tidy like this because it is not a spare bedroom, it's a studio and I create in here.  A lot.  And creating is messy.  Where I am usually a neat freak, I am a huge mess when I create, be it, with paint, crafts, sewing or refinishing furniture. Even blogging can get messy with my pretzels all over the floor or random things I may throw when I get frustrated with writers block.  (See, dementia...) Just kidding about refinishing furniture in the studio though.  I mostly do that in the garage ;)

First of all, no job is possible without Junior Mints.  I don't get paid by Junior Mints for saying that.  They are the staple of my diet and especially when I'm crafting, even if I'm not eating them, they must be by my side for moral support.  Don't judge.  Please.

These are the tools of the trade.  Yarn.  Yep, that and a little bit of tacky spray glue, a cheap lampshade from anywhere, or one you already have which for me,  was a cheap one from anywhere.

You spray the lampshade a little, about three inches at a time all around.  I started at the top because I usually start at the top when I do stuff.  That's not where I typically end up but I always have righteous desires and high hopes.  I believe = translation:  if I remember correctly, I started with creme colored yarn and started rolling it around the lampshade for about 5".  Then I used my blue/green shade and did about 1".  I think the white was 2" and then I used the cream to end up with about 5 more inches.  But you may do any pattern you want.  I mostly do everything in uneven numbers, except for that 2".  Because, what I'm really doing is just eyeballing it because I hate measuring, which I can get away with because II have a husband who always carries a tape measure and knows how to count.  When you're done you will have scads of yarn left over.  I'm going to knit a cover for my car but you can do anything you like with yours. 

I re-attached the shade to my bedroom fixture and wallah!  A shade which matches my duvet, and the pillows on my love seat.  Just so you understand, the love seat doesn't have any lovin' going on, it's just a phrase.  I mainly sit there and read my Nook, but mostly it's just a giant dog bead for the pups.  

Enough said.

See how the new shades tie everything together in the space?  (That's decorator talk for everything matches now.)

I of course did two of them because I'm ambitious that way.  And there were two of them so I didn't have a choice.  Now that I look at my side tables, could someone come and stage this place for me?  I know y'all are out there, I read your blogs and I'm obviously stage impaired.

Here's how the shade looks at night with the light on.  Pretty, huh?  If the yarn doesn't cooperate or go on perfectly, just give it a little extra spray and move it to where you want it.  Of course that didn't happen to me, I put it on perfectly the first time, but you know - I just like to throw out helpful hints like that.  Another tip is start and end each section at the seam in the back of the lamp.  It's not too ugly back there but it isn't the finest part in the end.  The glue is invisible so don't worry about a mess, just clean up your hands a bit as you go so you don't stick your fingers together, or your ring onto you hand.  I learned this the hard way.

Have a weekend full of all that you love.  I'm heading off to Montana for a family vacation.  Only 19 of us - should be very restful!

Here is our sunset last night.  Prepare to say, ahhhhh.   

Many blessing,


Last night was Concerts In The Park.  Gloriously our park overlooks the ocean and this.  There are only a few Thursday night concerts left this summer and I'd love it if you could come with us.  You pack up sandwiches and I'll bring the wine and we'll have a good ol time.  Love you more, and that's final!