Thursday, October 31, 2013

October in Orange County

I have an hour and a half left to say, Happy Halloween! I hope everyone had a delightfully spooktacular day. I've been meaning to share some great pumpkin patch photos for a couple weeks, and thought I'd sneak them in here before the calendar flips to November.

Derek and I discovered one of the coolest pumpkin patches I've ever experienced at Irvine Regional Park. In fact, it was also just an amazing park in general, and the weather was warm yet still felt very autumny...It was, in a word, perfect. 

The theme was gold rush, and they really got the ambience right. They even had a little "haunted house" inside one of the buildings...I was too scared to go in until I saw a three year old come out of it, at which point I sent in Derek to scout...then I went in. I don't do well with haunted houses, but this one was neat and had the appropriate amount of spook. 

Tractor boy. 

The train running through the park was magical.

Panning for gold.

The park is complete with a lake-- you can even rent paddle boats to take time!

We then wandered into the Orange County Zoo, which is also located inside the park. It was small and had mostly regional animals, but there was something really neat and beautiful about it! I loved the bald eagles.

Derek found himself a mountain lion!

Ah, what a day! Goodbye October, I will miss you.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Final Days of Spring

The beginning of June always feels like the beginning of summer. But we still technically have a week of spring left! This thought prompted me to make a long overdue post on some of the things that have been happening in the last couple months, and the above video from our childhood favorite movie Seven Brides for Seven Brothers perfectly captures what this season has been to our family. Greer and Austin got married and are embarking on their new life together (see the below post), Hannah is now eight months pregnant and we celebrated with a baby shower, and of course, last but not least, our baby birds hatched and flew the coop!

Greer and Austin's wedding could not have been more beautiful, and it was truly a great and emotional weekend for all involved. And then about two weeks later, we got to get all emotional again for Hannah's baby shower! Her friends Casey and Kelly threw an awesome party at Casey's house, and it was a gorgeous day with fun company, and Hannah seemed to get all the things she will need for her little one. Here are a few snapshots of the day:

Now, as for them baby birds!

The day before Derek and I were to head up north for Greer and Austin's wedding, I came home from work to see that one of the baby birds had descended from the birdhouse, onto to the platform I (thankfully) erected below its house--otherwise, he would have had a 3 story fall! I was both excited and nervous for him as I photographed him perched on the edge of this strung up fabric box.

After staring at him for about 15 minutes, I decided I needed to shoo him onto the porch before he fell off (apparently I'm not much for letting mother nature do her thing). So I managed to guide him onto the railing where he promptly fell to the balcony floor (3 foot fall seemed preferable to that 3 story one). He then proceeded to hip and hop around the balcony (which thankfully has full wood sides rather than open bars), until he reached the opposite end of the balcony, where he decided it would be a grand adventure to slip under the wood partition that divides us from our neighbor's balcony.

Of course this freaked me out as I couldn't see him anymore. Just then I heard the neighbor's slider door open and I decided to peek my head around the partition (I've never introduced myself to this person, by the way), and say "Hi, not to be creepy, but there might be a baby bird on your porch." I think this guy jumped about 2 feet at the mention of a small feral creature roaming his turf. But then he politely said, "thanks for the heads up," and quickly darted back inside.

After a minute or so, little hoppy found his way back to our side of the balcony. Right about then Derek came home and I updated him on our big bird news. I had barely spit the story out when baby #2 decided it was time to pop out of the birdhouse, and also landed kaput onto the platform. Perhaps led by his sibling's actions, he almost immediately jumped down onto the balcony floor all on his own. The two babies quickly huddled in the corner chirp chirping away. At this point I realized the parents must have decided it was the perfect day to make them jump from the nest, as they kept going in and out of the birdhouse making a racket and subsequently baby #3 made his little pop down. He followed #2's example and jumped down to the floor, where the 3 sibs bundled up in the corner and chirped some more. The parents kept going in and out of the birdhouse so we weren't sure if there were going to be any more babies, but this was apparently it.

 By this point the sun had totally gone down and it was getting cold. After showing interest in their offspring for awhile, parents took off for the night and babies quieted down. At Peter's suggestion I loosely wrapped a towel around where they were huddled to protect them from the cold, and we called it a night.

In the morning I woke to find two of the babies sitting on the towel tweeting away. The third baby was nowhere to be found, so hopefully he was the most developed and already flew away. The other two spent the rest of the day bouncing around the balcony, being fed by their parents, and trying to hop onto flower pots and stretch out their wings. Finally they found a nice little hiding place in an empty tipped over flower pot.

When we returned from the wedding, there was no sign left of the babies save all their little white droppings. I miss the little cuties! Every now and then one of the parents comes back and lands on the perch of the birdhouse; I'm not sure if it is doing this out of habit or if it is considering building another nest there again already, but it is always good to see our bird was such a neat process to experience! 


Monday, June 10, 2013

Greer and Austin's Wedding

This is a post loaded with pictures from our wedding. I had such a great time planning our wedding. I made most all of the decorations (Kerry helped me with some! Thanks Kerry) and planned almost all of it myself (no planner!) but it couldn't have happened without our family and friends.

We were so fortunate to have friends who provided important things for our day...drinks, flowers, you name it! My amazing and pregnant sister Hannah made our cake (with my vintage cake topper!) and her amazing chef boyfriend Kyle made the food for our lunchtime wedding. We cannot thank everyone enough!!!

I wanted our wedding to feel like we were all stepping into a different time. I searched and searched for a venue that would feel authentically old fashioned. (I say "I" and not "we" because Austin wanted me to have my dream wedding and since I don't work full time like he does it was my job to plan our wedding...which makes sense since I am unable to let other people plan my things because I am picky and want things to be a VERY specific way!) I found countless venues online that tried to feel "vintage" and I just wasn't feeling them. Then one day I came across a place called Joyful Ranch in the valley behind Vacaville. Austin and I visited the property and found that it belongs to a woman named Ethel Hoskins who is the granddaughter of William James Pleasants, the man who built it in 1891. Ethel was so helpful and kind and told us that because there are no heirs to follow in her footsteps of living and taking care of the property she created a foundation meant to preserve and educate people about it for years to come. We loved this. We felt no pressure to spend thousands of dollars to have our wedding there as they do at other venues. It felt like Joyful Ranch was a hidden gem.

 We had our ceremony in the almond (walnut?) orchard on the property. I had always wanted to be married in an orchard and when we saw that she had one I was thrilled. Ethel has so many neat places on her property and lets you pick anything spot you want for your wedding. She really was so great to work with!

Anne of Green Gables was my general inspiration for our special day. I wanted it to feel simple, sweet, and authentic. Austin's friend (and groomsman) Jon is a DJ so I was able to make a playlist with songs I handpicked that would help set the scene. I believe that music is SO important in creating special moments. For example, when we are driving through fields of farming we could easily turn on the radio and listen to the latest pop song on the radio but that wouldn't enhance the scenery. Instead, if we play soft bluegrass you can look out the window and let your imagination soar! You're taken to a different place.
Ok where was I?
Oh yes! So I put Billie Holliday, Sidney Bechet, Louis Armstrong, and other jazz musicians on my playlist and I was so happy with the mood it created. It was almost like living in my own personal dream land.

As you will see there was quite a bit of crying throughout the day. Austin and I truly grew up together (we began dating when I was 15 and he was 17, nine years ago) so it felt like our wedding was what all of those years were leading up to. Austin is not the type to show a lot of emotion so when I saw him crying as I walked toward him down the aisle I just lost it. We have been together through all of the wonderful times in our lives as well as the very sad and it just felt really great to marry my best friend who I had experienced it all with. We have a bond that is deeper than I realize sometimes!

Below are the photos of our special day. My close friend Michael Thurin was our photographer and it was really nice having him capture it all.

I walked down the aisle to "Love Theme" from the film Picnic, one of my favorite movies.

After we kissed and were announced as husband and wife Ethel rang the bells from the bell tower she has behind her home. It was magical!
My Bridesmaids

The Three (Mainstreet!) Sisters
My Austin
Our beautiful cake made by Hannah
Our food table before the food was actually put on it! Kyle prepared "upscale picnic" food for our guests. Think... dill red potato salad, a cucumber salad, ham and cheese for guests to make sandwiches...
Our reception was held in front of the white Victorian surrounded by olive trees.
Our close family friend Rosie did all of the flower arrangements. They were perfect!!
Our guestbook.

Thank you for looking through moments of our special day!

- Greer

Friday, May 31, 2013

My Little House

Hello! I'm writing to you as a married woman! Austin and I got married May 18, 2013 at Joyful Ranch in the valleys of Vacaville. We had the most lovely wedding (post with pictures to come soon!) and are so excited to be married. We had been dating for nearly nine years (since my sophomore year of high school) and our wedding was a very emotional day. We waited to live together until we were married so this last week has been very new and exciting for us. We're loving it! I wake up early with him before he goes to work and for breakfast and coffee together and when he comes home from work I have a home cooked meal ready for us. These things truly make me feel good. I love baking blueberry muffins and squeezing fresh orange juice for us to enjoy together. If I have the time to make something from scratch I will try to. I do these things for him of course but its also for me. It just makes me feel really good!

Over the last year of Austin living in his, now our, home I did some decorating. I couldn't help myself! So moving in isn't a totally shock to the system. It already had my touches all over it. Since moving in I have really focused on those finishing touches that make the space feel like home. If I could describe my decorating style I would say its...Americana mixed with whimsy. I'm inspired by farm houses...and the early 1960's. I go between listening to Billie Holliday and Sidney Bechet to Annette Funnicello and Astrud Gilberto. Sometimes I feel so inspired by all these things that I have a hard time falling asleep at night!

Our home (which is small-I'm talking under 600 sq feet!) is a work in progress. I thought that I would feel cramped in such a small space but I actually love the feeling of a small home. It feels cozy. I also love that it's down town and just a few blocks from First Street.

I'm really happy with it right now...but I will probably find something that I want to change in the near future. Too many inspirations! Because the house is so small we really have to focus on the size of our furniture and the functionality of pieces. Austin had an old couch in the "living room" that he had in college and it was big and bulky. We decided about a month ago to get rid of it and purchase two chairs. We found these wing back chairs at Ikea and footstools at Target. They are so comfortable and I love the way they create a little seating area with my vintage painted table in between. Hi Kota!

My amazing bosses, Tirzah and Jonathan, gave us this beautiful dining table for our wedding gift. I had mentioned to Tirzah when she brought the table into the shop a while ago that I loved it and that it was my "dream table" and she remembered and now it's ours! She's awesome. : ) 

My grandma gave us the green chairs last year and I love how they look with the rustic table. Because we have to push it up against the wall (small space!!) we were trying to think of ways we could seat more guests if we ever need to. A bench seemed like the best option so we could tuck it under the table when we needed more space in the room. As I was taking a walk on first street today I noticed a white bench in the thrift store...$30! I did some measuring and boom! It was a perfect fit. When I got it back to the house I decided white was way too much of a contrast against the dark table so I chose a soft green paint and an hour or two later it was done! I love this green with the table and the other green chairs. Fun fun fun.  
That's it for the living room...I'll show more later!

- Greer