Friday, April 29, 2011

The Royal Wedding - My Two Cents

Just about everyone in the blogging world has commented on the Royal Wedding so I thought I would give you my two cents. I did not get up to watch it. Here in California it was just to much the middle of the night. I had to come into work today and just couldn't do it. I do recall staying up all night to watch when Lady Di and Prince Charles got married but I was 11 then. Didn't have 3 kids to get to school and a job to come too. Any way, I thought she was beyond lovely. I saw a happy, confident young woman who knows just what she is doing. I wish her and Prince William all the best.

And then there are these two. Lady Beatice and Eugenia. They are the daughters of Andreew, Prince of York and Sarah Ferguson. I have to wonder if Lady Gaga had a hand in their outfits? And why their father (or the Queen?) didn't do someting about this earlier in the day. As I say to my daughter, "no, that's not going to work" I know that large and unusual hats are par of the course but these are just beyond words.

Public or Private?

While the world is consummed with royal wedding fever today, I am pondering an different question. Public or Private school? All three of my kids currently go to a perfectly good public school and the middle and high school are equally good. The high school is actually excellent. The teachers are fantastic and principle at our school is truely devoted. My oldest is in the 4th grade, my youngest in the 1st. So what's the issue you might ask? I just notice, more and more of my son's friends are disapearing from public school. Parents I respect and admire. I have to wonder sometimes, what am I missing? And yet, I also believe your child's education is only as good as you are involved and both my husband and I are very involved. My 4th grader has a learning disability related to dyslexia and I don't think he could cope in a class of 38 (the general size of the 4th grade class at the Cathholic school near me) without the help he gets in the public school. Also my sister, cousin, aunt and 2 sister in laws are public school teachers and I believe in the importance of neighborhood school community. I want my kids to know that there are all kinds of people and that not everyone is privleged. My sane, rational voice says to me, "the kids are doing fine. The school is fine." But my inner paranoid parent voice says "these other parents must know something you don't. Their kids are going to be somehow better and ahead of yours". Am I truely losing it? I also must confess that rigth now, private school tutition is not a feasible alternative. If I felt it was the only option, I could maybe work something out, but would rather continue to save to put these same three kids through college. Anyone have any thoughts?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

In desperate need of new bedding!

Hubby and I are in desperate need of new bedding. In our old house, our bedroom was upstairs and frankly no one but us went up there. So it didn't really matter. Now, however, it is our bedroom that connect the house to the backyard. It has become much more visible you might say. We are currently using a very, very elderly denim duvet cover with a blue and white ticking striped bed shirt and patchwok plaid shams. All made by Ralph Lauren and commendable for the fact they have graced our bed almost 10 years. The have served their time but now they are tired and in need of replacement. Hubby has firmly vetoed all the darling Lilly Pulitzer bedding I have tried to show him. Below are some of my favorites. Any suggestions? Favorites?

This one is Ralph Lauren again. I figure why mess with success and frankly we've more than gotten out moneys worth out of the old set.

I do like this set from Pottery barn too. Can you tell I like navy and white?

Leontine Linens, well a girl can dream can't she?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Happy Easter

I hope everyone had a Happy Easter! It was chilly and cloudy here in the SF Bay Area. When I saw that Easter was so late this year, I had visions of warm and sunny egg hunts. Well, not so much. At least we were able to hunt outside. Some past Easters have seen indoor egg hunts which just are not the same. Anyway, this year it was at my house. I love to host. It's a great way to use your special fancy things and make sure everything is fresh and sparkling. It was just my parents and my sister with her kids but a fun time was had!

Ready set go! CMO, AGB, CMB and MCO are ready to hunt those eggs!

My dad, the kids call him Abu, and OPB. Note the bow tie, his first.

MCO and CMB. Cousins are pretty in pink!

All the monkeys in their easter best. OPB, CMO, AGB, MCO and CMB

Just my three! This may be my Christmas card photo next year. It's so hard to get one of all three looking nice!

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Day at the Amusement Park

As a treat this year we bought season passes to an amusement park about 30 minutes from our house. The idea being we could run down and just do a few rides now and then and totally get our money's worth without having to spend a whole day waiting in line. We went yesterday for the first time with our three kids and three older cousins from Hubby's side of the family. They are in the 111th, 9th and 8th grade and my kids just worship them. AGB especially worships this cousin J who is a sweet boy and so good with him. Well, he had a ball. CMB turns out to be a total adrenalin junkie and loves roller coasters. The faster they go the better and if they go upsidedown even better. OPB isn't tall enough to go on all of them but the ones he went on, he loved! AGB is like me at that age. Very, cautious. He got very nervous and almost tearly but when Josh got there he manned up and went for it. All the kids had a ball. It was very chilly and cloudy and there were virtually no lines which was great. This park also has a waterpark atached but we saved that for another day.

OPB and J get ready to ride the Grizzly

A and CMB, just rode the Demon

AGB and J, getting ready to ride the Demon. First time on a coaster that goes upsidedown!

AGB, CMB and OPB ready for some fun!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Setting the table

As we prepare for the Easter weekend, many of us will likely be hosting brunch this weekend. I know I am. That make this new post on Matchbook Magazine new blog, The Daily Spark, especially timely. I love this illustration called Cake with Giants. To visit the Daily Spark, follow the link. and remember, when in doubt as to what piece of silverware to use, work from the outside in!


Cousins are an amazing thing. As I posted yesterday, we spent last weekend in Fresno for my Nana's 95th birthday. I included some cute pics of my kids with their cousins. On my side of the family, AGB at 10, is the oldest. My twins are next and then come my sister's kids and my cousins as well. They are all pretty close in age. And despite the fact we see the cousins in Fresno less frequently, they love each other and have a blast together. This post, however, is about my cousins. The picture above from left to right is me, my sister, cousin B and cousin E in the chair. We were not very close growing up. I am 10 years older than both of my cousins and we didn't live in the same city. Once E got married and had kids though, it was different. B isn't married but she is a favorite with the kids and has a great dane which makes her very popular. Cousins, sort of like sisters? We certainly all look alike. It's a running joke. Nana insists I am the tallest cousin when actually I am the shortest. I was just tallest first because I am oldest. Do you have cousins?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Nana's Birthday Bash!

This past weekend we went to Fresno to celebrate my Nana's 95th birthday. I just love that my kids know their great grandmother and are all old enough now to remember her. She's a little forgetful and has a hard time remebering whose kids belong to who but for 95 she's amazing. The kids had a great time swiming with their cousins!

Helping Nana blow out her candles

The birthday girl!

All the cousins!

Just the girl cousins, smiling pretty!

Monday, April 18, 2011

I Won!

I am so excited! I won the Smathers and Branson give away that Kappa Prep was hosting on her fbaulous blog Mongrams and Manicures! Click the link to visit Smathers and Branson's fabulous web site!

I love the look of needle point belts, especially worn with my riding clothes. I made one for hubby when he was still riding and daughter, CMB, is wearing the one I made for myself back in my younger days. I've been working on another one for myself for ages but it's just not getting done. Now I will be treated to the lovely Fox and Hound belt. What a great way to start the week. Thanks so much to Kappa Prep and to Smathers and Branson!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Do you know the difference between a blazer and a sports coat?

So, how does a blazer differ from a sports coat? According to "Of Rouges and Gentlemen" the Brooks Brothers blog: "This one has a good story. There are a couple sides to the tale, but our favorite starts off in (or around) 1845 when the Captain of the H.M.S. Blazer was due to receive a visit from various heads of state and dignitaries. Not wanting to make a poor impression, he had his crew outfitted in blue jackets, with white stripes and metal buttons. This may have also been in response to another Captain’s recent outfitting of his crew in Harlequin suits for a similar visit. That aside, the visit went well, everyone was impressed (even the other Captain apparently) and the blazer began to find its way into the standard uniform of the Royal Navy. So, the first difference between a sport coat and a blazer is the good story. The second and most noticeable is that a blazer by tradition has metal buttons and is solid in color, typically navy blue. While sport coats can be solid in color, they are often found in various plaids and checks depending on the season. They will, however, not have the metal, military-inspired buttons you’ll find on a blazer." Interesting, I love a day when you learn something. Click the link to vist the whole blog and see what else might be new. Happy Friday to you all.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ok, redo

Ok, I have no idea what just happened. Blogger published my post when I hit enter and somehow erased all my text so this is a do-over of what was intended to be the previous post about premium denim. I just wonder if it is worth it. I have an extremely hard time spending more than $50 or $60 dollars on pants, that face it, I am supposed to wear to wash my car or to the stables. Now I don't work in an industry that allows me to wear them to work, except on Fridays and I don't have trouble shelling out for good quality work pants so maybe that's the difference. I grew up in Levis 501's and until recently, I bought my jeans at Target or wore Old Navy Flirt jeans. I also had one pair of fabulous J Crew downtown trouser jeans. Ultimately all eventually became to worn to continue so I went out looking. Ulimately I ended up with the jeans below, Gap 1969 Curvey Boot which I love. They cost 59.99. I also have a pair of J Crew matchsticks bought on sale for $29.99 and a pair of Banana Republic Urban boot cuts that I also love. See a theme? But then I began to wonder, would these Paige Premium Denim Hidden Hills Boot Cut McKinley Jeans be better? Would they somehow elevate my booty where it as never gone before? Sure they cost $189 at Neiman Marcus. Put in perspective, that's what it costs me to send AGB to a full week of full day baseball camp. Maybe he won't want to go this summer? Silly question, of course he does. But serriously, are they really that much better? I know jeans are a totally personal thing and some jeans just are perfect for some people. I promise I won't judge. I'm just currious.

Is Premium Denim Really Better?

Is Premium Denim Really Better?

Is Premium Denim Really Better?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tea and Champange, two of my favorite things!

Time for a more uplifting post. I've been bogged down with the sad events of the last week or so and feeling overwhelmed with all I am trying to get down, committments at the kids school, little league, the non-profit fundraiser I working on, etc. However, I am going to rise above, float there on a champange bubble so to speak. I love champange. I really love pink champange. Not that nasty stuff you drink at high school and college new Years Eve parties. That is the stuff that gives champange a bad name. I am partial to Domaine Chandon's pink champange. Not that I drink it often, but I know when I do the evening is special. And then there is tea. In my mind, tea is like champange for daytime. Good tea mind you. I am partial to a blend a company calls Murchies makes that they serve at The Empress Hotel in Victoria British Columbia. Hubby and I stayed there on our honeymoon, almost 16 years ago now. He gives me a box every year on our anniverary. On a more routine basis I drink Earl Gray with lemon. I have a huge lemon tree in my back yard so I never run out. I also like Twinings mint tea. Tea is somehow comforting, give me a steaming cup and a good book and I am in heaven. There is nothing I adore more than going to tea at a hotel. I also love mismatched tea cups. When I got engaged all my mothers and grandmothers friends gave a tea cups. Not the tea cups in my china pattern (although I have those too) but charming, pretty tea cups. I have 18. Tea Parties for birthdays are somehow very popular among the girls who are CMB's friends right now. We are planning a "Perfect Pink Tea Party" for her 8th birthday this summer already. I can't wait. So, are you a tea and champange person? Or is there something else you prefer?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Remembering Our History - The Civil War

I've always been a history buff. It was my favorite subject in high school and my major in college. I read historical biographies for fun and adore historical based fiction. This week commemorates the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. I found this interesting article on the web site of a magazine called Garden and Guns. Click on the link to see the whole article. Fallen Homes of the Civil War Lives were not all that was lost during the Civil War. Many of the South’s grand antebellum homes that weren’t burned by Union troops were left to fall into decay. But Nell Dickerson’s new book, Gone: A Photographic Plea for Preservation, manages to capture some of these culturally important structures—and the history held in their eaves. Dickerson’s haunting photos depict trees growing through grand parlors, crumbling mantles, and ghostly columns standing silent. The images are accompanied by Shelby Foote’s “Pillar of Fire” (a fictional account of Union troops burning down a family home in front of its owners), and an introduction by best-selling author Robert Hicks. The book ends with a plea from Dickerson: “Do whatever it takes to keep the stories alive. Our personal history is part of our national history, and we should pass it to our children with great reverence, because it is not just who we were, but who we are.” I am not from the South, although I often wish I was and think o fmyself as somewhat Southern, in that I believe in dress properly, good manners and the importance of a tall glass of sweet tea. I make my own. But I also believe in the importance of preservation. I think I am going to run down a copy of this book. What remained of a house, circa 1845-1850, in Hancock County, Mississippi in 2004, a year before Hurricane Katrina dealt the final blow. (Photo by Nell Dickerson)

Monday, April 11, 2011

A totally new experience

Wow, I think maybe the world stoped or something. For once I am actaully glad it's Monday. Crazy but last week and the weekend were just something I'd like to forget. First of all, I had to put Jasmine down. Thanks to everyone for the nice comments. It was very peaceful. She just shut her eyes and went down without a struggle. She was tired and in pain and now she is at peace. I also pulled a muscle where my shoulder joins my back on Wednesday afternoon and was in quite a lot of pain until late yesterday. Today I finally feel back to normal. Let's not even discuss the hours spent at the little league ball park in the freezing cold wind we have been enjoying here in Norther California. All in all, I am glad it's Monday and that's all behind me. Totally a new expereince for me. Who knows what's next?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Good Night Sweetheat

This is a very sad post for me to write. At about this time tomorrow I will have to put my big mare Jasmine down. I got Jasmine on a wonderful trip to Kentucky where she was hunting with the Iroqouis Hunt in Lexington. She was 4. I brought her west to California and have had her ever since. She's 21 one. I've hunted all kinds of country on her, swum rivers, jumped wire, galloped down highways after rioting hounds, you name it. She taught my hubby to ride and then my kids. During the fall she was sore behind, we gave her several months off and she seemed better. The last weekend CMB rode her in a slow pace meet and she totally broke down behind. The X-rays show a fractured bone in her fetlock (that's her ankle). She had a wonderful life and I've loved her every minute. Now I have to let her go and give her a nice end. It is the hardest part of owning and loving an animal. Goodnight sweetheart, and thank you. CMB and Jasmine, hunter pace, 4/2/11

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Racing Silks

I love horse racing so it no surprise that I was excited to see the new Kentucky Derby collection at Vineyard Vines. The racing silk pattern is my favorite. I am not sure I could do the shift dress but adore the belt and scarf and am leaning towards the matching tie for hubby. This year my twins are making their First Communion at a 9 am mass the first Saturday in May, ir derby Day. Hopefully the post mass brunch will be done by post time (kidding). I think that I may just turn the second half of the brunch into a Derby party. After all, everything will be set and ready to party! Actually going to Kentucky for the Derby is on my bucket list. How you ever been to the Derby? If so I'm jealous but I'd love to hear about it! if not, will you celebrate?

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Season Ends

Many of you have seen my hunting season posts before. Yesterday was our closing meet. It was supposed to have been the weekend before at our favorite spot but all the wet weather we have had here has pushed it out and made that spot not ridable. It was a little sad because it is clearly CMB's last hunt on her cute spoted pony, Baxter. As you can see below she has totally outgrown him. Besides, her cousin EKO is 3 now and needs him. A new horse search is on this summer. If anyone knows of a sound, gentle gelding about 15.3 who has hunted before, let me know! Anyway, the day was rather blank (no good scent) because of the sun and strong winds but a good time was had by all. CMB on her pony and her grandfather (we call him Abu) on his horse. Abu is the field master here. The black ears are the ones on the horse I am riding.
CMB on Baxter and me on Katy
MMB (me), my sister JAO, Abu and CMB
Nothing cuter than the hounds! This one wants out!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Playgroup, 10 years!

Hi there and Happy Friday! This is totally late but I wanted to post some pictures from a great party we went to last Sunday, a 10 year reunion for our playgroup. It all started when my oldest, AGB, was about 4 months old. I was a new stay at home mom. I was pushing him through the park in his stroller and I saw to gals sitting on a blanket. I didn't know them but they had babies too! I went up to them and said "your babies look the same age as mine, can I sit down?" And Playgroup was born. We started out meeting on Thursday mornings. We drank coffee and ate bagles and compared stories about learning to walk, babyproofing etc. Slowly the kids got bigger and we all became great friends. We met at the park in the afternoons, we babysat for each other. Then the kids got older, we all had second babies about the same time and the older kids started pre-school. We switched to Thursday afternoons and now we ordered pizza and drank wine. Some folks had thrid babies. Now we numbered 8 moms, 9 first babies, 9 second babies and 3 third babies. When the first group of kids were in second grade it just got to hard to get together weekly. Many of us went back to work and there were some many kids the scene was kind of nuts. But we still get together every couple of months for drinks or a playdate in the park. This winter, all those first babies turned 10 so in true playgroup fashion, we had a party! P, AGB, J and R - the boys ar ein the hosue!
The dads, this is their normal posture when attending playgroup!
P, CMB and B, some of the second group girls
AGB, P and J - big boys and their pizza
MMB, T, K, S and A - We love Playgroup! Long may it wave!