Yesterday was a pretty perfect day that embodied all that my dad loved about life. We began the day slowly and then meandered into the “sport” for the day: badminton played whole heartedly and foolishly – dad style. We were there to play but also to giggle and to make fun of ourselves and our opponents.
The badminton games overlapped with the beginning of the party. In true dad form, we didn’t run around stressing ourselves out before guests arrived, we didn’t primp and prim ourselves; we relaxed, we played and we waited for our guests to join us in the festivities.
And what guests they were; we put together a list of my dad’s favorites. The people who he grew from a boy to a man with but always made sure they remained boys at heart. They were my dad’s best friends from college and their children and their children’s children. The USFers.
The USFers are a privileged group of people. A group that can’t hit a note for the life of them but will die singing. A group that makes fun of each other just about as much as they make fun of themselves. A group that comes early and stays late for a party. A group that respects a good-bye and lets it linger well after the sun has gone down. A group that may moan about an “all down hill hike” but ends up rolling down the hill in fits of laughter. A group that hugs. A group that sees each other and lights up. A group that feels like family.
So many of these wondrous, spectacular elements of the USFers are thanks to my dad and the yearly reunions he would throw with his college friends and families at our ranch. Dad had such charm that he could rally up his troops with a simple phone call; no one ever missed a weekend at Camp Cirrhosis. We sat around the camp fire singing songs, telling stories and acting out jokes until the wee hours of the night. We hiked long, at times steep, hikes to reach breathtaking vistas and jump down shale fields with childlike joy. We ate at one giant picnic table amongst the redwood trees letting the wine flow and the memories take over. Dad, ever leading the charge.
Today, my dad would have turned 70. It had been six years since we had a USFers reunion and six years since he passed away. The past few months, I felt in my soul dad was looking down begging for a USF party. I knew it was up to me to get the invite around, up to my dad to provide the good weather and up to everyone to bring back that old USF charm.
It was everything dad wanted it to be. A beautiful day with beautiful people catching up and reminiscing. And at the end of the day, always singing as we do, we joined in one last song – Happy Birthday.
Dad, thanks for teaching us what true, long lasting, deep, deep friendships are all about. We love and we miss you every day. Happiest of birthdays!!
Phew! Life has been a doozy lately. All is good around here but I am exhausted. The kids are each battling out one little sickness after another and than gently passing it on to one another so that we can stay trapped inside until kingdom come. Oh and I seem to get drips and drabs of the colds as they pass it along to each other ever so sweetly.
Our sitter who I would do pretty much anything for and who made my world go round (she would Mary Poppin’s my kids twice a week since Grace was born) quit without any notice the day we arrived home from Hawaii. Quitting with no notice. Now, that wasn’t very Mary Poppins, was it?
Ever since I’ve been scrambling to try to find help and nobody can compare to le quitter.
As a result it’s been me and the girls with zero breaks for going on a long time now. Yes, I realize my main job is a stay at home mom but those eight hours a week were my lifeline. Let alone a time when I could work on my small decorating business without interruption.
Also, things be busy around here. In addition to throwing birthday parties for Josie and Graham, I am co-hosting a party at my moms this Sunday for 50 people. Luckily, my mom’s home is beautiful, the guests are some of my all time favorite people and nobody will be looking for any “Kate Collins Interiors” designed tablescapes.
I fell down the pinhole a couple of days ago thinking that I would pull a last minute hat out of the bag and throw together a fun fiesta tablescape. But, then Grace came down with a fever and has reverted back to infant type sleep at night and no sleep during the day.
So, I passed the baton back to my mom who is wonderful at tablescapes and who I learned how to decorate from in the first place. Sometimes, you just got to throw in the towel, share the images that you pinned and didn’t create and have yourself a cerveza. Am I right?
Here’s what inspired me to do nothing but let my mom do something beautiful…
Happy Friday, friends!
Tablescaping sounds kind of dirty to me – like, manscaping. Speaking of man, I attempted to go masculine for my table for Graham’s birthday dinner party.
If you read this post, you know I wanted to go as manly as possible. However, when it came down to it, we don’t own a bunch of black linens or plaid or beer label embroidered napkins. I knew one way to my man’s heart is to not go over board buying all new linens. So I went as manly as I could with what we have and went for the colors blue, green, yellow.
I thought about Graham’s favorite hobbies and how I could make a table around that. A. Sports – ugh…how could I make a pretty sports table? B. Flyfishing – all I could imagine was people stabbing themselves with hooks from flies. C. Gardening – now, that I could handle.
Inspired by a table my mom did about ten years ago where she covered our dining table with grass sod, I got moss planter liner off of Amazon and used it as a table runner.
Thinking of the first tree we were given as a new home gift and the first tree Graham planted in our backyard – a meyer lemon tree – I got lemons and used them for the name cards. I simply cut a slit down the center and stuck the card stock in there. The lady at the paper store thought I was crazy which got me to question my idea but it worked. yippee!
The beautiful copper moscow mule cups were a birthday gift from Graham’s parents and so I put them to use.
The napkins are actually meant to be kitchen dish towels that I got off of amazon (they felt manly to me). And to up the man factor, I wrapped the silverware with twine.
The tablecloth I got years ago from an antique fair. The seller told me he also sells to John Darian, which I believe like 50%. Let’s just pretend that John Darian and I share the same linens and lets say it in a high falutin voice, shall we? Also, the awesome horn vase came from Ashley of Meet Me in Philadelphia’s gorgeous ETSY shop and I was honored to have “her” at the table!
Also, for those of you who were curious, Kitchit was amazing! I’d do it again in a heartbeat. We used Chef Nash of Parc Catering and he was phenomenal. Local people, hire him!
Finally, to Graham – happy happy birthday!! You continue to inspire me to squeeze the most out of life daily. I’m so blessed to share a life with you.
Yes, yes, I know that Valentine’s Day has come and gone. I’m sure you’re all sick of it. But, I couldn’t let the best color combo day of the year pass swiftly by without some sort of post.
Patrick Cline, Lonny
Our fifth house
No cheesy cupid’s love arrow, no over the top love poems (I’ll spare you there) just a whole lotta lovely. Happy belated Valentine’s Day! And a big, fat, sloppy smoocheroo to all you wonderful readers; thanks for reading!!
For Graham’s birthday in a couple weeks, we are going to have a small dinner party. We’re going to try out KitchIt and have a chef come do the cooking and cleaning. Which means all I have to do is the fun part – the table setting.
I want the table to exude manliness. I want you to walk in our front door and get smacked in the face with the smell of musk. I want antlers and beer and wood chips spattered across the table. I want people to yearn for the Tim the Toolman call of Home Improvement. You know the one. I want plaid upon buffalo check upon camouflage. Testosterone!
If the men leave with more hair on their chest, a hoarse voice and some dirt under their fingernails then I’ve done my job.
If the night does not end with all of us chucking all pink decor items off our roof, well then, Houston, we have a problem.
On Josie’s second birthday, her little sister was celebrating a big milestone as well. Grace turned six months old!
So, please forgive me while I indulge in one more child post and then we’ll be back to decor.
Our adorable Grace is an observer. In fact as I type this, she is sitting on my lap and she can’t take her eyes off of my fingers dancing across the keyboard.
Grace loves to be a part of whatever is going on. I think she is eager to grow up so that she can run right along Josie.
Josie is her superstar. She thinks she is the bees knees. When I am cooking dinner, it is the most frantic time of the day for me. I put Grace in her bouncer and at some point she inevitably begins to cry. So, I tell Josie who is either running circles around the kitchen or playing with her dolls, to go check on Grace. (Yep, that’s my system; I have my two year old take care of my six month old so I can cook). Almost guaranteed, that as Josie sets her eyes on her sister, Grace goes from crying to laughing. She only does the cry to laugh switch for her beloved sister’s attention.
Grace, at the moment, is a momma’s girl. Yes, I know this can change. But, I’ll bask in the attention while I get it. When I walk into the room and she sees me she’ll smile and give me a look that reads, “hold me please” You know I eat that move up!
She can go with the flow like no other baby ever. Seriously. She’s been putting up with it since she was born.
She is a happy go lucky, sweet baby girl. And our lives are all the richer with her in it.
She has brought a whole new element of joy, discovery and wonder to our home. Graham and I still very much can’t believe that we got surprised with the most wonderful gift of all. There isn’t a day that goes by where we don’t sneak into her room, give her a kiss while she sleeps and thank the Lord she is here.
Our sweet little angel is two! I can hardly believe it. It seems like yesterday that I was holding her in my arms on the day she was born in complete awe.
She has grown in leaps and bounds from that special day.
She is now a rambunctious, curious, happy toddler. She is very quick to laugh and she is easily entertained by our goofy shenanigans.
While she loves to assert herself, exclaiming, “Josie do it,” she is very concerned that all her people surround her while she is exerting her independence.
Josie is so sweet with Grace it absolutely breaks my heart. She will coo with her, high five her and even offer her favorite toys for a few seconds before snatching them away.
Her full belly laugh that she’s had since a baby is still going strong; may she always keep that laugh. Her entire body seems to laugh as she giggles and giggles and giggles away.
Josie’s vocabulary is rapidly increasing as she begins to string words together. I love to watch her mind absorb new experiences and take in the world with such wonder.
Her first word was “books” and that has remained her favorite word and activity. Josie’s perfect day would be eating snacks while she “reads” books to all of us.
With that in mind, we threw her a small birthday party with just family and I set the table with foods that correlate to her favorite books.
She loved the table and had a big blast at the party.
Two years in and there isn’t a day that has gone by (even those tricky temper tantrum laden days) when we don’t absolutely, genuinely thank our lucky stars that she is here and our girl.
Happy second birthday sweet, sweet Josephine!