22 August 2011

Siblings Visit


One nice thing about growing up is that your relationship with your siblings move from, "Moooooooooooooooooom!!! JILLIAN'S touching me!!! Make her GET OFF OF ME!!!" to, "Mom can I borrow the car to visit Jillian this summer?"

Ah, maturity.

My brother Wes, future sister-in-law Kaitin, and sister Jenna all piled into my mom's Sebring and drove the 6 hour treck to visit me (and John) this weekend.

They arrived on Friday afternoon while I was working in the garden. Wes walked into the backyard first with a typically understated "hey" and a stiff but genuine hug hello. Kaitlin followed with a big smile, a warm embrace and a warning: Jenna's a little bit grumpy.

Sure enough Jenna, who was within earshot of Kaitlin's teasing comment exclaimed, "Uuughhh. I HATE sitting in the back seat." Welcome, sister.

That backseat hatred was really unfortunate for Jenna because she had to take a backseat in the car for the rest of the weekend as the 5 of us traveled from store to beach to restaurant and home again. And this time she had to share with me and Kaitlin. Apparently the worst part about sitting in the backseat, according to Jenna anyway, is the boredom.

Pretty sure that's how this happened:


Although she wasn't in the backseat for this one:


... so maybe that's just how her face is.


As you can see, we went to the beach to watch the sunset.


And it was beautiful.


We started off day 2 with a trip to the farmer's market.


I bought normal farmer's market things like bright, fresh, vegetables to make shish kabobs that evening. Jenna bought a fun farmer's market treat: a delicious homemade baked cookie.


And Wes found the one booth in the entire market with the most unnatural, unorganic, processed thing: strange animal jerky. I mean, I'm all for beef jerky, but this was made with things you don't want to think about eating like alligator and ostrich. Or maybe I'm just weird about that.



After a stroll through downtown and a quick stop for coffee, we ate lunch at home and headed back out for some shopping. Places like Target and Meijer are sheer delight for my Canadian family members who love to push around big red or blue shopping carts and oggle with delight at all the cheap goods. Every trip includes at least 5 exclamations like, "Jill they have a whole bin of cheese for only a BUCK over here!!!" (Wes owns that one). Checking out is also fun when they realize how little 6% sales tax is compared to 14% at home.

This particular Target visit was soured a little, though, when Wes was injured.

It was Kaitlin's fault, really. She had to use the washroom (ahem: restroom) and left Wes alone in the Kitchen and Home section. That was the first mistake.

The second was that Wes touched something breakable- specifically a novelty size glass canning jar.

As he tells it, whoever handled the jar before him failed to properly secure the lid back on. To Wes, the lid looked like a perfectly reasonable area of the jar to grasp. Calamity ensued. Jar dropped, jar shattered, foot sliced, blood flowed.

Kaitlin returned at this point to see poor Wes bleeding in the middle of a sharded glass mess. Thankfully a sales associate nearby arrived to clean up the glass and suggested that Wes go to the pharmacy to get a bandage.

How nice, they thought: not a mean word about breaking the glass and even an offer to help clean up his foot!

Well, unfortunately the niceness of Target has a limit. When I saw Wes after this whole thing was over the version of the story I got was Wes pointing at this bandaged foot exclaming, "I cut my foot open on a glass jar and THEY MADE ME PAY FOR THE BANDAGE!!!" And not just one, either, he had to buy a whole box of bandages. The pharmacist recommended "the large ones." So after getting the box, limping through the checkout (with the slowest checkout girl, to be sure), and leaving a trail of blood behind him, Wes had to clean out his wound and scrub his bloody sandal in the target bathroom sink.

Pretty sure that is NOT standard first aid protocol, especially for a pharmacist.

Wes' bandaged foot:

And to top it all off poor Kaitlin didn't even get to buy anything because she was busy helping the injured. I guess it came full circle though because she really shouldn't have left him alone to begin with. ;)

The rest of our weekend was fairly uneventful. We enjoyed our shish-kabob dinner:


(minus the grumps who didn't want to help with the shishing. Or the kabobing.)


We played with the cat.



(Wow her face really does just look like that, doesn't it?)

Just kidding Jenna. You're beautiful!


Oh good grief. It's spreading. ;)

And we capped off our last night with a beer.


All good things must come to an end.

Until next time, siblings. Love to you all.

14 August 2011

Playroom Progress

As of early this week (well, last week since today is Sunday), my daycare licensing application is in the mail! I'm eagerly awaiting a response so I can sign up for the state mandated class and begin interviews for the spaces I have open.

I don't think I've said it in this blog yet, but I love working with kids. Love it. And I have a very strong sense of calling to invest my life into the lives of God's littlest children. Right now, that calling is taking on the form of an in-home daycare. Because I have a seminary degree I often have people make discouraging comments like, "Well that's not what you went to school for" or "Aren't you going to use your degree?" True, you don't need a seminary degree to run a daycare, but this is where God has called me and I will absolutely be using my degree. In the past two years I've learned more about teaching, education, and faith development than I knew there was to know. And I'm going to put that knowledge to use by loving on and helping raise some little kids with the strong and steadfast love of Jesus. Years from now I'll probably "put my degree to use" in a more typical way, but for now I know that this is where I'm called; and where I'm called is where I want to be.

So- in anticipation of this calling, I've been busy ordering baby gear, buying toys off craiglist, and getting our playroom kid-ready. When we were house hunting we looked for a house that had a den or bedroom on the main floor that I could turn into a playroom. This house had just the thing and it was basically a blank canvas:

Master Bed
Weird angle due to trying to get asmuchoftheroomaspossible into the photo.

When we moved in, the only piece of furniture I had to use in this room was a futon from our apartment. Before John and I were married, I purchased this unfinished pine futon from someone on craigslist to use as a bed for guests. It came with navy blue cover of which I was not very fond. So I lovingly and laboriously stained the pine with a dark stain, removed the cover, and beautified it (as much as a futon can be beautified) with throws and neutral pillows.


The futon got a lot of use in our apartment, mostly as a space to read or go online with a laptop.

Sorry about the poor quality photo. This was before I got a fancy pants camera.

In a playroom, however, I knew the white throw wouldn't exactly cut it in terms of keeping clean and safe from little syrup-and-maker-covered hands. So back on went the blue cover. Ugh.

If I had to stick with a blue cover, I knew I had to walk away from my go-to earthy and neutral palate and play with some real color. And not just a pop of color in a pillow or decorative item kind of color. Color on the walls kind of color.

So after weeks of starting at swatches of various greens, oranges, and yellows, I settled on Valspar's "New England Yellow." It just the right intensity for me- not "school bus" or "lines on the road" bright, but not to be described as "pale" or "understated" either. This is a kid's space, after all.

View from the living room couch:

Sorry again about the poor quality. This was taken with my fancy pants camera, but I haven't yet mastered the art of good lighting.

Inside the room:

I picked up the long pillow on clearance at Pier One and went back the next day to get the red ones. They are made of felt and down filled, which I love. The color was again, a bit bold for me, (hence not purchasing them on the first Pier One trip), but I think they work. Can I call them "whimsical?" That's what I'm going for.


These three frames are just cheapies from IKEA filled with scrapbook paper. I love the way they turned out!

Another IKEA find: kids table and chairs.


I am still deciding on what art to put on the wall above the table. I'm leaning toward an owl decal from etsy like this:


What do you think?

And of course, no playroom is complete without toys! My mom found this shelf/organizer unit at a garage sale for me, covered in marker which she patiently sanded off until it looked new (thanks Mom!). I found the baskets (still need one more- $6 each) and wire bins ($1.50 each!) at Target.


So far only Jasper has played in here, but he seems to like it! He actually stole a plush toy mushroom from a play vegetable set I have, and refuses to give it back. Jokes on him though 'cause I'm pretty sure kids don't like mushrooms, anyway.


Still to do in the playroom:
  • 2-3 more art pieces on the wall
  • window treatment
  • add baby gear when it arrives
  • more toys!
If you have any super cool or just plain whimsical playroom decor or storage ideas leave me a comment! I'm always up for inspiration.