My Grandpa Jack

One of the dearest men passed away last week, my precious grandfather Jack Allen Taylor. He was born on September 24th 1924 in Hollywood and grew up during the depression with the likes of the Little Rascals, getting into all sorts of mischief. He was resourceful though! Little Jack would go down to the pier and catch fish in the morning, stick them in his little red wagon and sell them in the afternoon to earn a few cents.

I remember one story he would love to tell about a time when he and his buddy "Boots" noticed that a local store had been boarded up. Curious as little boys are they decided to investigate, so they found a way in and discovered rows of slot machines (very much illegal at that time) and coins (even quarters!) scattered all over the ground! Back then a dime would buy you a pound of hamburger meat so a quarter was a big deal! So the boys filled their pockets as full as they would get, then they filled their caps, maybe they stuck a few coins in their shoes... and ran home as fast as their legs could carry them. Good, God-fearing children as they were, they were sure they would be struck dead if they were caught. This, however, did not stop them from going back to get whatever else they could! But, alas, by the time they got there the place was surrounded by police and blocked off with police tape. What an adventure!

As a teen he became quite the gymnast and used to work out and show off on Muscle Beach! Word on the street is he was quite the hunk... he could even do the iron cross!

When WWII broke out he enlisted as a conscientious objector and served as a medic. Among many major battles he was also in the Battle of the Bulge. A whiz with languages, after two weeks in France was made the lead translator for the battalion and later in Germany was placed in charge of an entire hospital because of his fluency in German!

After the war was over Grandpa settled down and married my Grandma Dorothy Elliott (whom he called Dotty). They had met at a church gathering during a game of "squeak bunny squeak"... and if I want to make Grandma blush I'll tell you about it. They were married less than six months later.

They had five children Lynne, Brian, Debra, John and Susan and if Grandpa was a rascal of a child he had nothing on his kids.

He became a dentist and soon had his own practice. His patients loved (still love) him and many of them came to his memorial last week. He was my dentist too, until he retired after his 80th birthday. He took away any fear of going to the dentist, he was warm and gentle. Always remembered everyone and asked after their families. Everyone loved him.

Jack's great love was his grandchildren. Nothing made him quite as happy as holding a new little grandbaby, admiring their tiny little hands, kissing their squishy cheeks, bouncing them on his knee, smelling that baby smell... heaven.

He was constantly quizzing us grandkids. Making sure we were getting a proper education and filling in wherever he thought we might be lacking. Any visit to Grandpa's was not complete with out a language or science lesson and of course a great story from the war or his childhood. I think I owe my own love of languages to him. He was also an amazing artist, I remember sitting with him at the kitchen table and having him show me the proper way to draw a face - "No no no, Julie, your eyes are way up by the hairline... bring them down... yes, there, right in the middle of the face, halfway up... that's right... much better..." He was never too busy to spend time with us, or with anyone. He was the best of men and he will be greatly missed.

Love you Grandpa.


Our New Roommate

This is Jaden. She is my darling sister-in-law's kitty and Brad and I have offered to take care of her for just a little while...

Jaden has been here for about six weeks already and she and I have gotten to know and understand each other a bit now. She is a unique little cat. Apparently the story goes that one of Darah's coworkers was in downtown San Diego and was approached by a homeless woman with a teeny tiny kitten in her hand. This woman handed the kitten to Darah's friend and simply walked away. Back at the office, she asked if Darah would watch the kitten for awhile, since Darah had a closed office rather than a cubicle. And that is how a little tiny Jaden wound up asleep on Darah's lap for the rest of the day... and stayed with her for the next three years.

Let me take a moment to describe this cat. First, she has a pretty serious underbite so her lower jaw kind of juts out giving her a funny little grimace. Second, her tail is broken, this causes all kinds of fun! It just hangs behind her, offering none of the benefits cat's tails are famous for. She lacks all balance and grace, poor thing. Third, she is a little bit dog-like in her attachment to her humans. She will happily follow me around the house and curl up with me for a nap... when I wake up and stretch she stretches too. :)

She has decided that water bowls are completely passe´ and will only drink from a bathtub tap that is dribbling at just the right volume. One fateful afternoon I decided to give her a taste of my chicken noodle soup broth (keep in mind that this is a cat that is uninterested in anything other than her kibble) well, she loved it. She loved it so much in fact that now she stares me down in the kitchen and jumps when she sees the bowl I gave her the broth in. Oh boy. When she wants to be cuddled she flips around on the floor like a fish. When she scratches something she shouldn't all I have to is calmly tell her not scratch there - to go to her scratching post. And she does!

All this to say, thanks for letting us borrow her Darah, we're having fun. And if we come up with a good video we will post it for you!



Our Happy Place

A few months ago I posted this picture of Brad and me just putting the first few possessions in what would soon be our new home. We even had a picnic on our rug! We were SO excited.

Then, after the honeymoon, the real moving in began and our excitement grew... finding the perfect place for each little thing. Arranging and rearranging...

Brad did a brilliant job of making our itty bitty kitchen incredibly functional. He's a born organizer!

We worked hard, painting, sewing, hammering... the list goes on... but it was so worth it. Now that everything is pretty done and we have settled in - I can't even explain how much I love this place.

It is so warm and cozy and peaceful... I love decorating with Brad. I tend to be more antiquey/ vintage, with a peppering of tchotchkys and Brad is more modern and clean with very little around him that doesn't serve a specific purpose.

You would think that might be a difficult match to make but somehow I think it improves both of our styles! His clean lines mixed with my weathered pieces have really created a fun vibe...we balance each other out! I really love being in our little apartment.

We put sand from our honeymoon in that cut glass container on the steamer-trunk-turned-coffee-table that I bought a few years ago - it turned out really neat! And as a side-note, in a 500sf apartment, any piece of furniture that can also double as storage - is a winner.

Another tip for small-space living: use the space available to you, no matter how unconventional. Can you find our microwave in this picture??

I have become as dependent on fresh flowers in the apartment as I am on coffee... It's a problem. But Trader Joe's generally has some pretty good deals on their flowers. Six bucks every couple weeks is a small price to pay for the joy it brings, right?

I am soo in love with this pillow our friend Johnny made for us. So fantastic.

There's our little kitchen all put together. I even made a miniature curtain for the window! You can't see it very well but Brad and I brought home a coffee bag from Hawaii and mounted it on the wall - love it! It has pretty much set the tone for the rest of our kitchen. :)

Brad and I both love to cook. I took this picture of Brad after my first day at Anthropologie... when I came home he had made me Chicken Marsala and a latte! What a guy.

We love having people over! Scott and Heidi were our first dinner guests and we had SO much fun! I made my Mom's Honey Mustard Chicken and asparagus. Yum!

After dinner Brad put his skills to work and made a round of yummy drinks for our guests. I believe Scott is enjoying a Carmel Apple Cider here and Heidi has a Cinnamon Dolce Latte. So much fun.

Nothing makes a place your home like filling it with family and friends. Just because your home is small doesn't mean you can't have people over! This was the biggest crowd by far - Mom, Dad, Scott, Heidi and Kirstie - and it was great!! I might have underestimated how much food I would need but other than that... perfect!

I'll try to start doing shorter, more frequent blogs from now on. I love sharing with everyone! Life is good. :)


Happily Ever After... Part Four (The End)

Here is the final installment of the wedding blogs!! I hope it hasn't been too monotonous! This post covers the reception and getaway... so much fun.

Here's Brad and me arriving at the reception!

We were so excited to be back in the action after all the photoshooting!

Being announced.

Our first dance... we danced to Phil Wickam's "Holy, Holy, Holy" since it was worshipful and a waltz but in retrospect we probably should have cut it down a little and maybe taken some dance classes... I hope it wasn't TOO painful for our guests!

We, though, were having he time of our life.

Kirsten sent me this picture... I love how it puts you right into the eyes of a guest sitting and watching... such a fun perspective!

Dinner was great! We had The French Gourmet cater and they were so professional and helpful and reasonable... what a blessing! We had Chicken Marsala and Roast Beef and veggies and scalloped potatoes... yum!!

It felt pretty good to sit down for a while!

Thanks hubby! Can I just point out the enormous pile of bread on our table?? How could we possibly eat all that?! Ha! I love it.

Hanging out with Tausha...

Here we are getting ready to cut the cake! We decided to use a grouping of Nothing Bundt Cakes for our dessert instead of one big, and expensive, wedding cake. Besides, we both LOVE Nothing Bundt Cakes!!

I put them all on vintage cake stands and made little signs to let people know which cake was which!

There we go!


Posing with the cake topper I made - pretty good likeness, eh?


Now we're just being silly...

Giving a toast and thanking our guests.

My lovely cousins Brittany and Anne were so helpful cutting the cake for us!

By the way... Anne has her own catering business! Anne Taylor Catering - you should check her out. :)

Toast time! My Maid of Honor and precious sister Kirstie started...

Then Brad's Best Man and my little brother, Scott took his turn...

You can always count on Scotto to get all misty-eyed. :)

Daddy's turn!

Finally we ended with Brad's Step-Dad Mike. So sweet. I kinda wish we had had more people speak but... what can you do? But to those planning now, really take time and think through stuff like that because you can't go back! Still, it was so amazing having them say a few words.

The father-daughter dance was a real highlight (heck, the whole night was a highlight).

Spending those moments with my dad was such a treat. I loved it.

Then Brad and Rudy joined us - so cute!!


Let the dancing begin! Here is my Uncle John and his daughter Meghan - so sweet!

And Ezekiel decided to break dance!! Haha!

Family enjoying a chance to catch up...

Kirsten's wedding still life. Love it.

Also splendid.

Time to toss the bouquet!! Gosh the time flew by...




Frenzy ensues!!

We have a winner!! Good job Kirsten!!

She took a break from celebrating her victory to help me change in to my getaway dress...

We are ready to go!!

The whole party met us outside with sparklers to send us off!

It was so amazing. How cute are Rory and Amy?! They are getting married SO soon!! Speaking of which I have some projects to work on for their big day!

Yay!! I love this picture... completely captures how we were feeling!

Goodbye everyone!!!

Dad doing a little shout-out to the Father of the Bride... I love my dad.

Soo... thank you to everyone that made our wedding so incredible. I couldn't have pulled it off without all of your help. It was an amazing day, but I have to say, it cannot compare to the joy of living everyday with my amazing husband. The magic of that one day honestly pales in comparison to the magic of being married to the man God has designed just for you. Marriage is such a gift and a blessing. I am so thankful for Brad.