Friday, April 29, 2011

The Royals and Their Wedding

flickr*

I have been finding the comments on the Royal Wedding a very interesting phenomenon as they have streamed in from all over the world via the social media. I for one, stand in favor of everything I saw today and this is why. For the record, Jim agrees.

We had no particular plan to watch it live since we are usually sleeping at 3:00 am. And since we don't watch TV, to be honest, I didn't even know for sure it was this week until I saw it on the Internet. But I have enjoyed the few articles I had glanced through as the big day approached.

So we are quite unusual in that we have not been inundated with media hype about it for months on end. Perhaps this is the crux of the negative comments I have read. People may be misplacing angst regarding just wanting it over with on the couple, instead of on the media where it squarely belongs. Both William and Kate have gone out of their way to keep quiet about most aspects of the day. The satiation people have apparently felt over this day, is not of the bride and groom's doing. So we didn't get much of that and I am grateful for it. Anything overdone ad infinitum can get nauseating.

I personally have enjoyed watching Prince William grow up over the years and we even went to St. Andrews when he was a student there. I must admit as we walked by the stone walls of the University at St. Andrews I did wonder what it must be like to be the first born son of the heir to the throne of England. And although I would not say I am an avid follower of the Royal Family, I have enjoyed their history and station over the years.

So last night Jim and I awakened around 2:00 am. Not sure why, but we were both wide awake and after chatting for about an hour, I decided to get up and work on my blog as I had a busy day ahead. I wanted to finish the last of the Spring break posts for Jen and the girls.

I went on my computer and saw that the Wedding was being broadcast live on the Internet. Double clicked on the link just in time to see Kate step into the Abbey on her Dad's arm. The peeling bells of Westminster caught my attention, as did this simply beautiful young bride. It was 3:00 am. OK then, the post I was planning on working on could wait, right? This was an historic moment not to be missed.

For the next hour both Jim and I watched and I must admit I was spellbound by what I saw. The first thing that came to my mind was that for all their fame and good fortune, this was a beautifully understated, elegant, spiritual wedding ceremony. Aside from the setting and the crowds and the TV cameras (and the crazy hats), it was not unlike many wedding we have attended. In spite of the media it was an intimate glance into the lives of two rather ordinary people. They appeared to have worked very hard to keep it as normal as possible.

I felt a sense of them being good people. They seemed like they would be easy to talk with and I felt no sense of them thinking they were better that the rest of us. They were a down to earth, happy couple, not unlike the thousands of others married this year. They looked happy, eager, and a little nervous as well. However, their poise and decorum were unparalleled. The whole wedding came off flawlessly.

I noticed particularly how elegant and modest Kate, her sister and her mother were dressed. No cleavage, no gaudiness, no unusual fanfare. I loved their white dresses. How often do you think we will see this in the future? I loved that she has one bridesmaid, her sister and the two little girls, also bridesmaids. Can you imagine the throng of her friends and acquaintances that wanted to stroll down that aisle with her? It took courage to keep it simple. Did you notice how simple her wedding band was? Or how tiny her bouquet was? Honestly, I have seen far more elaborate at weddings here in our hometown. The music was beautiful and traditional and Christian.

Catherine's Bouquet...
The size of the bouquets tossed
to the eager prospective brides
at many weddings!


Both Jim and I felt that perhaps one of the main purposes of the royal family is, in fact, to act as a compass and guide and to set an example of British tradition. To show how civility should be, how modesty should be, how adults should behave with class and good taste. It is a wonderful thing to preserve a culture and the past. You can do this and still be a progressive thinking people. But do not throw everything out with the bathwater in the name of progress.

I don't think we have such public role models here where anything goes. In fact, if anything a large number of them are an embarrassment. Just do your own thing and the heck with everything and everyone else. I cannot imagine anything so appropriate coming out of Washington D.C. It would be so embroiled in political correctness it would be comical. I loved how the Royal Family has their traditions and protocols and they did not apologize for or gloss over them. Seriously, how refreshing.

I felt hope that this lovely couple might somehow be role models for the millions of people that may hopefully pattern their dress and maturity on the example being set in England today. Heaven knows the world needs it. We have run a muck with outrageous disregard for others, lack of respect for our history and traditions, etc. and dressing in a decent, modest way.

So this morning we took heart. We saw hope. We felt something that we haven't felt in a long time. A bit of the return to the way things use to be before we got to the haphazard way things are now. The slippery slope of mediocrity has taken its toll on the world.

If this means we are just getting old, then so be it. Sometimes you don't realize how far we have digressed until you see it done right once again. Three cheers to Prince William and His Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Catherine. May they live happily ever after and take some of the young people of this world in the same direction...oh, and their parents and grandparents as well!

After the wedding I read one article that put me very squarely in their camp and sealed it. You can find it here. What a loving and heartfelt tribute from the future King William to his beloved mother.


**The collage of the wedding day is courtesy of flickr photos. Bravo to the photographer who complied it. Attribution to be found in the link under the photo.

Good Night San Francisco!

When the girls came to visit over Easter break, one of the fun things we did was to find this book about San Francisco. Then we used it to find places to visit and take pictures of them there. We felt that that would make it more fun for the kids to remember their trip while reading the book. I just fell in love with this little board book. It is so simple and yet so comprehensive. It includes many of the wonderful sights in The City. And it can be enjoyed by any age.

You can order it online if you are interested in one for your grandkids, kids, or even for yourselves. One went home with the kids and then I ordered one for our guest room. Here are a few pages from it and our corresponding photos.


The Cliff House and Ocean Beach

Chloe and the Sea

Sisters and the Sea



The Golden Gate

Piper resting on the ferry with
The Bridge out the window
in the background.



Historic Ship~The Balcutha

Julia and Piper at the helm of the Balcutha!

The crookedest street in the world!

Piper squinting into the sun while having
her photo taken like the kids in the book.


Driving down it!
Driver: Eyes on the road
Passengers: Enjoying the view
and tickley feeling in their tummies.



Chlo-Jo @ The Giant Windmill near the beach.


Julia @ The Conservatory of Flowers
in Golden Gate Park


The Palace of Fine Arts

Family in the Rotunda



Muir Woods

Hazie with the Baby Bear

Gramma and her Jewel!


Good Night and Good-Bye
Jen, Piper, Julia, Chloe, Hazie and Molly!

Flickr

This last photo was not taken by us but is so beautiful and I wanted the girls to see what it looks like at night. This little book, Good Night San Francisco has become a new instant treasure and a constant reminder of fun times with our little grandgirls and Jen. I want us to do the same things with all of the other grandkids when they come to visit.

We sure hated to wave good-bye to the family. But the nice thing is, every single time they come it is really a special time. Thanks Jen and Lowell, for making it happen. And thanks for the heartwarming memories!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Spring Break~Girls' Day


I have already posted several of the fun things we did when the girls came to visit for 8 days over their spring break. I still have a few more posts to do. I love that by going to the edit page and selecting options on the bottom you and change the date and put them in correct order when the entire week long event is finished. I just somehow ran out of time before the whole vacation was finished but eventually it will all run in a sequence on the blog. Magic! I also did the same thing on a few days of our New England vacation but I may never get to those. It is really hard to go back but having an accurate and complete record is the motivator.

The first full weekday they were here Jim designated as "Girls' Day!" He wanted to go to work at the Temple so he micro managed "highly suggested" this should be our craft, baking and shopping day! Isn't he clever in having us do the things he wanted to pass on, while he was gone? Of course we had to schedule out each day so we could fit everything in and keep the girls from getting bored.

These look a lot better and
smoother when they are done.


So we did crafts first thing on Monday morning. We made the tissue eggs and that was a lot of fun and took a few hours. Jen brought all the crafty stuff then Grampa boiled the eggs the night before and had them all ready to work on. He wanted to be sure his agenda items happened while he was away! By the end of the day he had over booked us and we were exhausted! Haha!

Back to the eggs...No cracks in the hard boiled egg is the key to making them last a long time. I have some I made many years ago. The yoke and white dry up something like the inside of a gourd.

Jen also brought fun things for the little girls to work on that were not as time consuming. This is the foam egg Hazie decorated with foam stickers. Chloe made one too but Hazie is the one I can always find sitting quietly when it is time to take a picture. Chloe is a moving target! LOL! It is funny how little kids run everywhere they go until one day they don't. Chloe can still be heard running around the house from room to room. I find that so interesting that one day they just stop doing that. She will be six in May but she still does it.

These eggs you are seeing above and this Mr. and Mrs. egg are in process. Since you are putting something flat on a curved surface you have to finesse the paper with gluing and drying and pressing it down and gluing some more. The girls did some and Jen and I did too. They were pretty cute when all finished. We meant to spray glitter them but ran out of time and energy by the end of the week.

The big girls made Easter cupcakes and cleaned up their mess! Yay! Jen and I finished up the egg and craft projects and cleaned up that mess! We were busy little beavers that morning.

This is what Hazie did!

Doing the decorating later in the afternoon!

So cute! Dessert for dinner!

Well maybe the big sisters let
Hazie try one before dinner!

We were expecting Great Grandma Gloria over for a taco dinner and a bonfire to roast marshmallows and tell ghost stories outside. It was a plan devised by Grampa and Piper.

In the afternoon we went to Stoneridge Mall in Pleasanton and looked around, did girl things and saw their Easter displays.

We took these photos because the store front window
was so pretty as a background.

Some of the mall displays.

So Sweet!



The girls had a little bit of money to spend and this Beauty Mask is what Chloe bought with hers. Love the hair's new arrangement! She wore it all day long! She had this one front tooth on the top hanging by a thread all week. Look what happened on their way home!

After dinner we went outside for the bonfire. Somehow I missed getting any pictures of Grandma Gloria with the kids. I think it was because she wasn't feeling too well at all and didn't stay too long after dinner.

Toasty warm and ready for the spooky stories.
I thought those were for Halloween but what do I know?
I found it interesting that one of the spooky stores involved
someone receiving scary texting on their cell phone.
Times have changed, huh?

What happened to the one where the girl's
head fell off and rolled down the stairs
when she took off her neck scarf?
Remember that one?

The yummy part!

We had a fun night outside. The spookiest thing was the frogs that serenaded us with such loud croaking it was overwhelming you could barely talk over them. And several times I tried to record it and they would immediately stop croaking when I would start. There were so many and they were so loud and we have never seen a frog in this yard. Where they were hiding is a mystery all together because they sounded like they were right beside us. I felt like all their eyes were on me when I would silently touch my camera to record! Spooky for sure.

This was the best I could catch on video!

Cacophony of Frogs and Humans...


video

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Chandeliers For Sale

And I'm having one of them! I have been wanting one ever since I helped my friend redesign her bedroom (featured in this article I wrote for Blissfully Domestic at the time.)

If you just clicked on the link, you know why I have been coveting. Well, not really coveting, just borrowing her idea and fabulous vision! Thanks, to you my good friend! I have been searching and searching for just the right chandelier for our bedroom so we can take down the OUTDATED ceiling fan.

The ceiling fan has never been a good idea, as Jim does not like it on while we are sleeping and we are never in the bedroom any other time really. So in a word, it's not only outdated but...pointless. So it will be going on craigslist for sale soon. I have looked and looked and this week I found the perfect chandelier!

Here it is without its lamp shades,
and here it is with them..

{{All Prim and Proper}}


I think it will be awesome with our winter white and brass wrought iron bed and I am so excited about it. I love it because it is not stuffy or too formal, it is whimsical and airy and only 18 inches wide and long~ perfecto for over a bed. It will go great with our sparkly cottage decor! Yay!

I have looked at many, many chandeliers over the past months and they do not have to cost an arm and a leg. You can find very pretty ones for the cost of a ceiling fan if you look and do your research. Decorating has far less to do with spending money than using your creativity.

Cannot wait to get it. It should arrive around Mother's Day so I am designating it my official gift from Jim! LOL! Lucky guy, now he doesn't have to even think about it! ( He did the same thing with something he just bought for the yard and Father's Day!) Do you and your spouse do this? Sure makes life easier and the bonus...you get what you actually want.

This lamp will add just the element of surprise and romance to the master and will be the first thing I see each morning when I open my eyes and look up! We need to make our bedrooms special....a quiet and pretty place, a place of refuge, just for you or you and your spouse to begin and end your days.

So if you don't have a spouse, do it for yourself, you deserve a pretty place too because it can sometimes get pretty ugly out there in the world. Being married or single has absolutely nothing to do with it.

Beauty, order, cleanliness and a bit of ambiance can bring comfort and peace into your life. Who does not need, want and seek that? This is just one way to shape your environment to achieve it. How do you create a special bedroom and oasis for yourself or you and your beloved? I would love to hear your ideas.

The number one thing I would tell my clients...your bedroom should not be a storage area. Removing the gun cabinets, piles of this and that, etc...will make all the difference. Be conscious of what cues in your environment produce a restful, tranquil feeling.

Then add the elements of color, accessories, fabric and lighting...that you enjoy. Next personalize it. A perfect example is family photos. It is the perfect place to display them. Who else loves those darling kids and grandkids like the two of you?

Or how about some photos of some romantic vacations you have taken? Or perhaps something that displays your fun hobbies or a portrait of you and your pet? I like a beautiful picture of the Savior in our room, or perhaps a photo of the Temple or the church you attend or a wedding picture? The sky is the limit on what you can do to make it inviting, special and uniquely yours. Your dreams, your aspirations, your life, you...that is what your bedroom should be all about. Is it?