Thursday, May 26, 2011

Birthday Party Work Zone

Two-year-old little boys love trucks, heavy equipment, well actually, any machine that goes vroom, vroom.  Oh, let's get real; twelve-year-old boys, twenty-two-year old young men, even sixty-two-year-old men like machines-on-wheels.  This fetish inspired my daughter to build her little boy's birthday party theme around construction equipment.

The invitations dug the foundation.
Yellow, black, and white balloons directed traffic to the site.
Front porch signs cautioned pedestrians to proceed with caution.

Once inside, young guests donned hard hats

to avoid construction hazards above

and below.
Each young construction worker found a bag of equipment with his or her name.

The guest of honor discovered a road running across the table....

and a truck driving across his cake.

For a little boy growing up in a yogurt-and-humus home,

 the Oreo-cookie dirt was an especially tasty treat!

Opening his gifts,

he uncovered new trucks--trash trucks, cement mixers, and dump trucks.

At nap time, little man went to sleep with heavy equipment surrounding him.

Sweet dreams and happy birthday, big boy.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Golden Friendships

When you were in girl scouts, did you say the motto:  "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other gold"?  Well, we spent our last few days panning gold.

On Friday, we flew to the windy city, Chicago.  It was breezy, of course, but a beautiful spring day. After checking into the hotel, we hopped the east bound Metra train for center city.  Disembarking at the last stop, we caught a cab which took us to some long-time friends' penthouse condo on North Lake Shore Drive.

From the top floor of the prewar building, the views of Lake Michigan are postcard perfect.

You might think a large penthouse in a doorman-building would be intimidating, but our down-to-earth friends immediately put us at ease.  Their tasteful and comfortable interiors humanize the grand coffered ceilings and old wood paneling.  Toys for grandchildren, family pictures, and religious art reflect their values.  Besides, their gracious hospitality spilled over us making us feel welcome.

After hors d'oeuvres, we drove to Chicago's Symphony Hall where we dined before attending the concert. Before we ate, my husband's best man and our long time friend thanked the Lord for his grace in all of our lives.

Then we were treated to a performance conducted by the world renowned Riccardo Muti. He directed the orchestra in a premiere performance of Pulitzer-prize-winning-composer Bertrand Rands' Danza petrificada, followed by Strauss' Death and Transfiguration and Prokofiev's Suite from Romeo and Juliet.
After the concert, we caught a west-bound Metra train back to our hotel.

Saturday morning we drove over to Wheaton College, my husband's alma mater.  Wheaton is a family tradition.  His father and three of his aunts attended, and one of our daughter's followed their footsteps. (If you aren't familiar with Wheaton, Google to read its rich history. The Reverend Billy Graham and Jim and Elizabeth Elliot are among alumni who have lived the college motto, "For Christ and His Kingdom.")

At the Saturday morning class-of-'71-breakfast, we chatted with some of Bill's nearly sixty classmates in attendance and listened as each shared snippets of God's grace in their life. Afterward, we went to the luncheon for the entire alumni contingent. Impressively, there must have been over 500 former students present.  The oldest two alumni were from the class of 1936!

From there, we drove to another suburb to attend the wedding of our friends' son.
What a joy to see Peter Connelly marry Krissy Peters.  The bride's infectious enthusiasm seems to match Peter's sterling qualities. The reception was in a warehouse-turned-gallery, the perfect place to celebrate young Christian love.

Mother's Day morning dawned bright and clear.  After brunch hosted by the groom's parents, we drove east to O'Hare and caught a flight back to Pennsylvania.

This morning as I was reviewing the delightful weekend I was reminded of the last lines of the hymn "Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken":

"Fading is the worldling's pleasure, all his boasted pomp and show; 
solid joys and lasting treasure none but Zion's children know."   

Lasting friendships grounded in Christ glittered this weekend. Such treasure is priceless.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Powder Room Gets Face Lift

Have you heard the expression, "The apple does not fall far from the tree"?  Well, there is truth to it.   Guess what our youngest daughter wanted for her thirtieth birthday?  Some accessories for her powder room!
We happily obliged. In a short weekend we were out to celebrate her milestone, the powder room got a face lift.  Originally, the small space was painted a pretty shade of blue/green, but had builder-grade accruements.
At Mission Road Antiques Mall, we found some wonderful accessories to upgrade the room.  Our first reclaimed treasure was an antique leaded-glass window.
The rich, dark gray lead provided a color scheme for accessories, while the pattern set a somewhat Gothic theme.  We found a miniature lead French "laver" for above the commode. The top portion has a detailed spigot and the bottom basin is clover-leaf shaped and decorated with the French fleur-de-lis perfect for French-milled soaps!

In the same mall, we spied a French wire basket to provide a home for magazines. Notice how the color and lines repeat the color and pattern of the glass?

Finally, the builder-grade mirror was replaced by a lovely antique gold-leafed mirror, and the light fixture was  upgraded with Circa lighting.

Without changing plumbing fixtures, the interesting accessories create a delightful place to powder one's nose.