28 September 2010

A nice distraction.

This past weekend, I got the amazing opportunity to shoot 2 GREAT families.  It was a much needed departure from packing, and purging the junk of this household of 6.  
I'll let those smiles speak for themselves!

25 September 2010

I and Love and Scott?

Last night, I hit "The Pageant" to see the amazing "Avett Brothers" , comprised in part by brothers, Seth and Scott Avett.  Duh.  There is magic in their familial tie that flows out the tips of their fingers, and croons out of their mouths in perfect harmonious union. 

Their albums are fantastic, but their live show is where they really cast their spell.  The show was nothing short of amazing.  Energy oozed out of every nook and cranny.  There were children, older folk, and everything in between in the crowd.

The little boy, all of 8, who sat next to me knew every word to every song in the set.  Awesome. 

They played the songs that most people know them for; "I and Love and You", "Laundry Room", "Swept Away".  And crowd favorites... "Tin Man", "Slight Figure of Speech",  "Kick Drum Heart".  Plus a few of my favs; "Paranoia In B Flat Major" , "When I Drink", & "Talk on Indolence" {so fun live}. 

But, I have to say..."Murder in the City" brought me to tears.  I think of my own boys, and that day that I wake up and they're suddenly grown men.  So bittersweet.  I hope the bond they have now continues throughout their, God willing, long, beautiful lives chock full of all kinds of brotherly love.

I have to give a special thanks to my friend, Ursa, for introducing them to me a whole year ago.  What a band!  I am so sorry you couldn't make it up for the show!

And, just so you know, my luck meeting musicians continues {Buddy Guy, Glen Hansard, Marketa Irglova}.

On our way to the car after having some late night apps, who did we see?  What?  What?  Who's that you say?  Oh, that's right, Scott Avett.  Here's the proof...

Apparently, we have the same haircut.  At least we part on different sides!

Do you need some more?

And, that my friends, is the perfect end to a perfect evening. Thank you, my Jilly-Bean, and Chelle.

Love you, girls.

24 September 2010

Movers & Shakers.

Carl and Ellie Fredricksen's home from Disney/Pixar's 'Up'

I don't understand these people that are perpetual movers.  {If your job dictates your moves, you are most certainly exempt from that grouping}.  The people that move just to move.  I suppose we moved for no better reason than more space for 4 little bodies that won't stop growing, darn them.  As far as benefits of this move, space, storage, an extra main floor bathroom, a HUGE basement that I have full plans to turn into a roller skating rink, 4 bedrooms, and a rockin' open floor plan {that does require ripping down a wall} are just a few.  In a nutshell, for us it was time, and all the chips fell in just the right spots.

However, I will NEVER do this again.  With the very small exception that I win the lottery and get to restore a monster of a house in Webster Groves or Kirkwood, where the property taxes are insane, but the charm overflows.  In that particular case, I will adopt at least 2 children in need of a good home so that it is busting at the seams with littles.

Let me lay this out in plain English...MOVING SUCKS!

Moving with 4 kids and a pack rat husband REALLY sucks!

Of course, I'm looking forward to a small rehab project, but the steps it's taking to get there are for the birds. I'm not sorry we did it, but man this is testing my limits.

I've read blogs where the families are DIYers like Jake and myself, and some of them have moved 5 times in the last 3 or so years.  Really?  Are there psychotropic drugs in your tap water, people?  Because, frankly, I don't get it.

Bottom line...they will be dragging my dead, lifeless body out of this house.  God willing it's 75 years from now, but either way, this is our 3rd and final home if I have anything to say about it.  And, if eminent domain rocks our world, I will be tying 1000s of balloons on the roof and taking off to Paradise Falls.

So, if you are wanting to move just for poops and giggles, DON'T DO IT!  DON'T!

There, I have told you so.

22 September 2010

Need to know.

If you don't put buttermilk in your mashed potatoes, 
you really need to.

Peace out.

21 September 2010

Bull, Cheese, & Babble.

{click to enlarge these, they look so much better}

I haven't been taking as many photos as I would like, lately.  Moving really suck it out of you.  

The other day and a little today, I made time to go through some photos I took at the park last Friday morning, as well as play around on Photoshop with existing images.

Let me say, that getting a black and white just the way you want it is a process.  I could play around for hours just on that edit alone.  I've even heard many professional photographers keep their black & white processing secrets under lock and key.  No doubt.  After all this time, mine still aren't exactly the way I want them to be.

The park images were all pretty amusing.  We have this great park nearby, Suson Park.  It's a traditional plain old park, but it also has lots of farm animals and fishing ponds to peruse.  See?  We do have good stuff, even in the middle of the country.

The bull above was majestic.  It's almost as if he knew I was photographing him.  I love the hard light.

So, the moral of my stupid story is this...
when you move, don't plan on having any time to do the things you enjoy, unless, of course, you enjoy filling boxes.

The end.

20 September 2010


"But the Hebrew word, the word timshel—‘Thou mayest’— that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open. That throws it right back on a man. For if ‘Thou mayest’—it is also true that ‘Thou mayest not." 
 John Steinbeck (East of Eden)

Okay, so I hate to beat a dead horse, buuuuuut...

as you know, I've been listening to the Mumford & Sons album on heavy rotation, and their song 'Timshel' really struck a chord with me.  On a very personal level.

First off, let me say that I did not know what timshel meant.  So, like any big dumb, dumb, I had to google it.  A quick synapses: it is a Hebrew word that means 'thou mayest', or, basically, that you have a choice.  In just about everything.  Even in tragedy.

You can choose to be happy or not.  Choose to take your load of crap and push it all aside or not.  Choose to sink in a hole, or fill it and stand proudly upon the dirt.

See?  Timshel.

I struggle with choosing goodness in my own life.  I often seem to unconsciously choose the dark over the light.  I decide I'm alone.  That somehow my circumstances are different than anyone else that has ever walked this Earth.  No one knows what I feel, how I cope, how I wake up to face every day.

Guess what?

Everyone feels that at some point.  A teenager who doesn't have designer clothing like the other girls, a man who has yet to fall in love, a mother who has lost a child.  From trivial to heavy.

In our pain, we have a choice.  Good vs. evil.

None of us are alone.  Ever.  We have kindred spirits everywhere.  But, sadly, most of us withdraw into our own pain.  Convincing ourselves it's unique.  Unlike any other pain anyone has ever felt.

It's not.

I will be reminding myself of that.  Often.

Second, if you dive even further into the timshel theme, I've discovered that John Steinbeck based his novel, "East of Eden" on this very theme.  The power to choose.

I've read several of Steinbeck's novels, but oddly enough, I've never read "East of Eden".

As soon as we're settled, meaning all of our boxes and furniture make it to the new house in about 10 days, I am going to read "East of Eden".  Then, lucky for you all, I will be giving you a 'book report'.  I would love it if you joined me.

Thou mayest...

"I believe that there is one story in the world, and only one. . . . Humans are caught—in their lives, in their thoughts, in their hungers and ambitions, in their avarice and cruelty, and in their kindness and generosity too—in a net of good and evil. . . . There is no other story. A man, after he has brushed off the dust and chips of his life, will have left only the hard, clean questions: Was it good or was it evil? Have I done well—or ill?" 
 John Steinbeck (East of Eden)

Post Edit:
Let me add, that I in no way was talking about feeling alienated by God.  My faith reassures me everyday He is by my side.  Always.  ALWAYS.  WIthout that companionship, I would really feel lost at times. Something I don't even want to imagine.  
When writing this I was thinking more in the human camaraderie sense.  Alone in that way is never a good place to be.  Ever, ever.  

19 September 2010

New music this fine Sunday.

I suck.

Because, apparently, I cannot hack a life changing move AND blogging regularly.

So, today, I will share with you a 'new to me' band that I love, love, love.  Their songs are beautiful lyrically, and the music itself is so different and fresh.  It reminds me of folk/blue grass reinvented for a newer generation.  Once again, they're from across the pond which only adds to my anglophilia or anglophilism or whatever the proper term would be.

Darn those English.  Why do they have to be so fascinating?

Anywho, enjoy the music.  {Warning: the first song has the F-bomb in it.  So, I suggest ear buds or listening without littles running around.  But, it's sooo good.  Really.}

14 September 2010

Thinking clearly.

Not sure if it's a financially wise home purchase
{with 439.2 other projects that need to be immediately tackled at the new pad}, 
BUT I am loving lucite lately.  
It's there, but it's not.  
You know what I mean?
I am going to make a wild guess, and say that I am sure it sucks when there are 73,203
fingerprints all over it from littles.
Needless to say, it is a pipe dream.
At least, for the next 15 years.

via decorpad.com

via decorpad.com

via Domino Magazine

via decorpad.com

13 September 2010

If only all 'field trips' were this pretty.

Hello, Bloggy Friends...

I will be having a virtual 'Matilda Jane Clothing' show beginning Thursday, September 16th and closing on Friday, September 17th.
Personally, I cannot say enough great things about Matilda Jane's pieces.  They are solidly constructed, utterly unique, super comfy, and so darn cute.  Bonus: when your littles outgrow them, resale shops pay top dollar!  Don't forget, they make incredible women's clothing, too!

All orders must be placed by 4pm on Friday Sept 17th.  The website will now offer a "Wish List" feature for you to print and email to Ashlee (who is super nice and helpful, even though she's far, far away in Utah), my Matilda Jane Clothing Trunk Keeper. You can simply shop the site and instead of adding your goods to a shopping cart, you add them to a wish list. 

Please call or email your order to Ashlee.  If you email me or comment below leaving me your email address, I can send you her number or email address.

She will also be available to answer any questions you may have.  Please let her know that it is for  Beth Grebe's show so you can save on shipping!

The new 'Field Trip' line is dreamy.

Remember:  I don't usually do these types of things, but their clothes are phenomenal!  You will NOT be disappointed!

11 September 2010


Because I feel like my house is all topsy-turvy {oh, wait...it IS}, I decided to treat myself to some sunflowers.

Since all of my vases are packed, I threw them in this old milk bottle from the dairy that Jake's great-grandparents owned or something.

I love that milk bottle.

I love red.  The irony is that there is no red in our current house.

I love that sometimes, something so simple can be so inspiring.

So, I've decided this is my inspiration for the new-to-us house.  My go-to when I'm stuck.

I love the colors represented...yellow, blue, green, red, and plenty of light.

My intention is to bring a bit of each color into every room.

Color is happiness.

Now, let's see if I can pull it off.

UPDATE:  I did NOT forget 9/11.  It's just my head has been up my arse, lately, and I didn't blog about it.  Normally, I would have.  I apologize.  

Just know, I haven't forgotten.  

I will never forget.  

I could tell you exactly what I was doing that morning.  I was in the bathroom getting ready to go to work, Jake and Baby Jake had already left for work/babysitter; aka Grandma.  I heard the anchor woman say there was an plane crash in NYC, and went into the living room.

I witnessed the second plane hit.  Live.  Right in front of my eyes.  It was unbelievable.  I honestly thought something must be wrong with JFK's control tower or something.  

I will never forget.

07 September 2010


For as long as I can remember, I can assuredly say that things came fairly easy to me.  I always had a lot of friends and acquaintances, I was athletically inclined and even excelled at many sports, I was smart, I rarely encountered grief or tragedy of any kind, I received a top rate college education and graduated with a 3.8 without much effort, I married the love of my life straight away, bought a house, got a great job, started grad school, started having babies.  I can safely assume many people could find a fault in that.  Heck, from an observers perspective, I would be a bit envious myself.

Along with the ease that I seemed to float through life, also came strong opinions, great confidence, a 'no room for bull' attitude, and a toughness that can only be acquired by one who decided what she wanted and went after it with no excuses.  Ironically, I was compassionate, giving, and generous with my time.  I didn't need people helping me with anything, but I always loved to help others out with things.  If there was something I needed taken care of, by golly, I did it myself.  I never whined.  There just never seemed to be a reason to.

If you've read this blog for any amount of time, you would know that after the arrival of Betsy, some of the above changed.  Oh, I was still tough as nails, still impenetrable, still tried to figure things out myself or with the help of my husband or parents.  But, NEVER...NEVER would I reach out to anyone else.  My friends, even my own sister, didn't need to be burden with my junk.  Especially, when there was no magic answer.

What did change was the fact that I found myself needing people.  Needing an "are you okay?" phone call, an "I stopped by just because" visit, a "Come one over for a glass of wine" text.  And you know what?  I rarely got any of those things.

Do I blame my family and friends?  Of course not.  I know it's my stuff that I carry.  How can you blame someone for not coming to your aid when they don't even know they're needed?

In life, EVERYONE has crosses to bear.  People who always seem to have a rough go of it, and even the people who seem to come by everything easy.  EVERYONE.  The thing is, we all have a different way of carrying our cross. Some shout and cry out for help every step of the way, some complain it's too awkward to hold and insist on help, some just look ahead and continue on knowing it's insanely heavy but since there's nothing to be done but move forward, they keep there mouths shut moving one foot in front of the other no matter how slow the pace.  {Can I get a 'holla' for run on sentences?}

For the most part, I'm the latter.  But every now and again, I break.  I feel sad.  I feel defeated.  I feel like if no one steps in I might not make it.  Even in these times, I find it so difficult to reach out.  To tell a friend that I need them.

When Betsy came to us, I know that many of my friends and family thought that if anyone could handle it, I could.  I'm thick skinned.  It is what it is.  Beth is tough.  If anyone can figure out a good defense to this game changer, she can.  I suppose that in many ways that's true.  After all, I've spent a lifetime perfecting the 'nothing gets me down' attitude.  Only show your strengths, not your weaknesses.

I've even heard the famous line, "God couldn't have picked a better set of people to be the parents of a child like Betsy."  Of which, I completely disagree, and could argue the point quite well, but I have to trust His divine plan for me, and am secure in the knowledge that it isn't about to be altered because of my humble ideas.  Of course, I try to be the best parent I can be to all of my kids, but trying to be the best and being the best are two completely different things.

Now, at 32, I'm stuck.  My I-can-figure-it-out-myself attitude that has worked brilliantly for me in the past, is starting to steer me wrong.  The older I get the more I feel like I want to let people in a bit more.  The problem is I'm not sure how, and I'm scared to need people like that.  I don't want to put people out or be whiny.

Here I sit, isolated and stewing in my own junk.  Wanting a hug.  And, I know my man or my momma would happily oblige, but sometimes a hug from your husband or your mom isn't the same as from someone else.

So, that's my poor me fest.

Did you loathe it as much as I did?

I swear there won't be another one of these for a looooooong time.   Just since typing all of  it, I feel like a big, fat baby who is crying over stupid crap.  A few paragraphs later, and I'm already thinking of everything I am so grateful for.  One of which are my family and friends.  And those littles of mine. Man, oh man.  They're the greatest blessing of all.  Maybe God does know what He's doing, after all.


05 September 2010

The Great Sink Debate.

Sometimes things don't go as you plan.

For instance, I knew I wanted a great looking apron front sink or vintage-look farm sink for our kitchen-to-be.

After about 30 minutes of on-line scouring, I came to the realization that they are both VERY pricey.  Even salvaged ones.  Particulary in white, which is what I wanted over stainless.  I would've done a stainless one, but white had my heart.

I decided to look on Craigslist, only to be terribly disappointed that the first couple were between $400-$700.


I scrolled down to an entry that was added at the beginning of August.  It was a whopper.  One I never thought would be financially feasible, but much to my emmense happiness, it was half the price of every other salvage one I found.

I was very excited, but there were measurements to get and faucets to find.  It may need to be reglazed, blah, blah, blah.

Once we realized all of the measurements would mesh with the existing kitchen footprint and our biggest pots, we decided to throw the guy an offer.  He accepted.

We drove the 45 minutes out to Park Hills, MO and it was ours.  He had the faucet, as well {which we weren't even aware of}, but it's a bit rough.  Luckily, I found two new ones I really like, with one being $67 and the other $150.

So far, it's cleaned up pretty good, but if it needs to be reglazed, you can buy DIY kits for $47.50 online or have it done for about $80.

Long story short...Jake and I couldn't be happier.

My mom, well....that's another story.  She hates it!  Hates that we bought it, hates that it's old, hates that she'll have to look at it every time she comes over.  HATES.  IT.

Even at the ripe old age of 32, I feel as though her approval is needed.  But, in this particular case, I'm going to have to live with her being angry.  I feel strongly about the sink, and it was a waaaaaaay cheaper alternative  to my other options.  Even a conventional undermount sink.

The good news for all parties involved is this: if I end up hating it, we will take it out and drop in another sink.  My husband assures me it will be that easy.  Oh, and add some more $.23 subway tiles to the newly exposed backsplash.  Bonus: based on what I've seen, we can always sell it for twice or more what we payed.

So, I am sure the debate will continue between my mum and me.  To farm sink or not.  Tomato, tomahto.
There will never be a winner.

I guess I will learn all too soon that it is hard to let go.  Even when my littles are 32 or 52.  We're still somebody's children at any age.  

I suppose I needed to buy a sink to learn that.

03 September 2010

Keep the green-eyed monster at bay.

I've been absent lately, and a bit vague on the house sale progress.  However, it looks like we'll be 'movin' on up' in a few short weeks.

So, because my life is revolving around the big move, I thought I'd tickle you taste buds with a peek at what Jake and I are getting ourselves into.

Now, I'm warning you...after seeing these photos, you may be VERY jealous.  And, that's okay, but keep in my mind, we're redoing just about everything.  So, don't get too attached.

You have been warned!

Nice, huh? {wink, wink}

I love a good reno project.

I do.

The bones of this house are great, the floor plan to die for, the extra space is dreamy.

But, admittedly I'm getting a bit anxious, and overwhelmed.

It will be quite a challenge with 4 littles underfoot.  Although, I am confident we can handle it.

I am so excited that all of you get to be a part of this life changer with us.  It looks to be an interesting ride.

02 September 2010

Things I'm dreaming about...

With moving in our near future, these are things I can't get out of my mind...

via Apartment Therapy

via Holly Doodle Designs

via Apartment Therapy

via Old House Online

via Country Living

via Graham and Green

via Serena and Lily

via Kara Paslay Designs

via Urban Grace Interiors

But, first, I should be focusing on this...