July 31, 2011

Confessions of a Breastfeeding Mother

I just added it up in my head- I've nursed my children a combined time of 5 1/2 years*. And of course I don't plan on Ivy weaning any time soon so I could make it into the seven year mark. I only took a very short break between nursing Gray (he breastfed 2 1/2 years) and having Ivy. He weaned a few months before I had her. (He even stopped for a while when I had really bad morning sickness and then started up again.) I admit that I know he would have nursed longer, but I found it to be difficult and too uncomfortable for me late in pregnancy. And as wonderful as I've heard tandem nursing can be, I also confess that I was ready to only nurse a newborn by that time. (And I also confess we did try it tandem once or twice and that's it.)

One thing that I've always felt cheated about with breastfeeding is the "promise" that it uses up extra calories and the baby weight falls right off. I always keep on extra padding all over when I'm still breastfeeding. Especially in my arms and face. And then it's like right when they wean I finally lose those final clinging pounds. But I'm not really complaining because it is so so worth it.

I have never used a breast pump. I have never left my nursing child long enough that they needed a bottle. The thought of it makes my heart race and my knees shake. This is just me.

While I'm confessing, here's an embarrassing breastfeeding moment from a while back:

When Gray was just a newborn, hubby and I were at a wedding in a very large, old Catholic church. During the ceremony I needed to feed the baby, and since you could hear every little rustle or shoe click in that place, I thought I should take him in the back just in case he made too much noise. I walked into the first open room I found with a chair, sat down, and began nursing right away. I looked up, and to my horror- I was in the confessional! Now, I am not Catholic and have only seen these things in the movies, but I knew what it was and was afraid I would get thrown out of there if someone found out! I hopped up so quickly and searched for a less sacrilegious nursing area. When I got back to my seat I tried to whisper to hubby what had happened, but I got the church giggles and was laughing too hard! (This story originally published June 29, 2006)

Ivy has started to crawl up to me and ask to nurse and I love this age. She'll be busy and come seek me, and slow down and get in my arms. Sometimes I just sit there on the floor with her. Her eyes roll back. She plays with my hair, my necklace. She is comforted and so am I. So am I.

It's World Breastfeeding Week. Read more of my breastfeeding posts here.

*Originally posted August 2009. I breastfed a total of 7 1/2 years.

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July 30, 2011

Mama's Home Now

Mama's Home Now starts at the :59 mark 

Behind the scenes of Listen To Your Mother with Sharon Angelina...

Sharon-BWSharon Angelina is or has been a solo pianist, art model, business owner, natural birth educator, and personal assistant... but her true vocation in life is proud mama to three teen boys, Gabriel, Jorge, and Sam, and one teeny girl, Autumn. After no less than seven moves in fifteen years, she currently finds herself happily settled in downtown Chesterton, Indiana, with her husband Matt. But life has been a rollercoaster during those fifteen years, during which she was divorced, remarried, divorced again, and unjustly lost custody of her two oldest sons. Her current drive is to help people, especially mothers, educate themselves on better physical and spiritual health, and protect themselves from the pitfalls of a system that isn't entirely trustworthy. For more information about that system, please visit Speak Outloud's Why do so many women lose custody battles?

Thoughts from Sharon: "When I heard about LTYM, my first thought was to dig up some of my humorous writing from the annals of parenthood, almost 20 years worth! (Gabe turns 20 next month!) Because even through all the stress and grief my children and I have found so much to laugh about... But I decided this show deserved a brand new piece, and when I began writing, it was our custody tragedy that poured out. I never thought I could share that experience---both devastating and humiliating---with anyone, let alone a theater of 300 people. I cant express enough appreciation for receiving such a welcoming and supportive venue to do that. It has opened up a dialog and an opportunity for so many other women to heal or be helped. Thank you, Stephanie, for letting me tell my story, youre an angel!"

A little background from Steph: "I had never met Sharon before but she heard about the show thru the local online natural parenting group we are in together. I had no idea about her story until she auditioned and it wrecked me. Now this was a story that needed to be told.

Since her piece was more lengthy than I had planned for, I decided that if she belonged in the show (and I just felt like she had to be in our cast), I'd be willing to bring on one less person to make up for the time. I am so happy with that decision! Also I must note that, at the end of her piece, when she exits, that is her son who helps her off stage and gives her a hug. Yeah. Oh my."

Every Sunday I'll be featuring a "behind the scenes" of each Listen To Your Mother Valparaiso/NW Indiana piece. You can watch the entire show on the Listen To Your Mother Show YouTube channel here or see each piece listed and linked here and here.

July 29, 2011

Roll Call!

 Fair kids 2011

We did the county fair last night with four kids and no stroller and no sling. It actually went ok! The games and ride attendants were super nice, the kids were happy, and no one got lost or sick, and we still came home with money in our pockets. I even bumped into a friend who had just read my post about saying Yes, and I tried to explain how that doesn't mean I always say Yes now but am more mindful of when I say No (as Gray was eating a funnel cake for dinner) (he only took three bites!) (why does that even matter?)

We have another super busy weekend coming up, but I'm glad it's all family togetherness type stuff. So my favorite part of summer. In the meantime... I'm rounding out my first month writing at Strollerderby and I really do love it. I'm ever so thankful when you read, comment, share, retweet etc. I won't lie, it makes me look good. Also, I think the posts are fun and thought provoking, like:

Also, I'm thinking about bringing back the old timey blogroll of yesteryears, but I might change it up a bit. I was inspired by a recent email conversation with sweet Bridget of The Ivey League. Hopefully starting Sunday I will feature five blogs in my top left sidebar that I find through my comments and I'll freshen it up each week. I'm really excited about this.

P.S. I'm always looking for story ideas, input, and news tips- follow me on Twitter or email me anytime!

July 27, 2011

Small Style: Shoes Like Smelly Pencils Editon

got my new shoes on

Ivy got new shoes. I actually completely forgot I ordered them a while back from The Mini Social. She only has a pair of flip flops that fit her right now, so it was good timing when they arrived the other day! I am not sure if they are supposed to, but they smell like smelly pencils or scratch n' sniff stickers of yesteryear.

small style beauty
This afternoon we sat outside and she helped me "peel" the corn on the cob for dinner. She did a great job, too. Then I caught her sneaking bites of the (uncooked) corn. She is something else. I am really really really looking forward to my just me and her time when school starts for all three boys next month. It's going to be awesome.

On Ivy for this week's small style...  (see the scribbles on the wall?)

new shoes

top- addie & ella via the mini social
bloomers- matilda jane
shoes- cienta via the mini social

[linking up as always with small style at mama loves papa.]  

July 26, 2011

... and it moves us all.


I woke this morning to the sound of garbage cans rumbling down our driveway. Jeff had already gone to work and- (I don't know how it is in your house but here, I take out the garbage. I don't mind, it's just a task that somehow has fallen on me and that's OK.There's plenty of other things that he does that I don't do, like any and all yardwork and things involving ladders like changing lightbulbs and REAALLY bad diapers) (how I worded that makes it seem like bad diapers require ladders and maybe that's not a bad idea, anyway) so I was surprised by this sound outside my bedroom window.

Noah had gotten up, dressed, ate breakfast and then emptied the trash in all of the house (including the bathroom right by my room "I tried to be very quiet" he said) and then took both the recycling and garbage to the curb. And he didn't even ask for any money to do it.

Slowly but surely, the distance from holding my babies so close that I think there might be something wrong with me to observing their budding independence from my perch afar has surprised me in the most awesome way. It's pleasant. It feels right. And I love them even more.

How can this be? If I could have just seen it earlier on, breastfeeding my newborn in his nursery rocking chair, me the fierce lioness and he my cub. Never imagining him being so big and with such initiative. And now taking out the garbage and sending me texts and emails. EMAILS!

If I could have seen it back then, would that attachment have lost its luster? Would I have seen things less shiny and new? Would it have had a flavor of sadness? I'm glad I didn't know it, because now it's even sweeter.

They say it goes so fast. In a blink of an eye they are all grown up. Yes. That is 100% absolutely true. But.

You get to have the "along the way." Watching it all happen is a miracle. It's phenomenal. And while you will sometimes wish to go back just one moment to that nursery chair, you love them more now, so it all falls into place and

is just right.

July 25, 2011

I figured it out.

I figured out how to get my kids to play with the zillions of toys they own. I tell them to clean up. I directed Ivy to pick up all her ponies and doll house stuff and for a good hour that girl played and pretended and stayed out from under my skirt in the kitchen. It was heavenly. Apparently playing is more fun than cleaning up. My boys are pros at it. Another surefire way to get them to play uninterrupted with toys that have lost their "luster" or "appeal" is to put them in your yard sale. Suddenly they are their FAVORITE TOYS EVER!

I'm trying to remember that one person's normal is another person's radical.

I had my toe nails painted pink the other day. PINK. Sure, that might seem boring or DUH to most. But that is totally radical for me. I'm usually a dark grey, purple, or gold type of girl. So for me, to "spice" it up a bit, pink was a departure from my norm. And it totally works.

July 24, 2011

Shoes On: A Working Mom's Guilt

Shoes On: A Working Mom's Guilt starts at the :59 mark 

Behind the scenes of Listen To Your Mother with Kate Pantinas...

Kate Pantinas  professor at Ivy Tech Community College teaching communication courses, including the dreaded Public Speaking class (but try not to hold that against her). She is also a part-time blogger, writing about her crazy life at The Working Mom Woes, and her new adventure homeschooling said crazy kids at Homeschool Professor. When not busy teaching or writing, she spends every waking (and some sleeping) moments with her wonderful and supportive husband Mike, her two energetic and loving boys, AJ and Nate, and her new bundle of joy Abby, a girl! Finally, a balance in the testosterone levels in the house! 

Thoughts from Kate: I've actually known Steph (and her mom) since elementary school. One of my favorite memories of her was when she sang a solo of "Oh, Holy Night" in our Christmas concert. Such a beautiful voice! We had different friends in high school, and like so many, lost touch. I was thrilled to find her on facebook and then her blog. She was always that sweet person I wanted to know better, and through her beautiful words, I feel I have.

When she announced auditions for LTYM, I was so excited. I knew how much this meant to her, and I loved the platform it gave moms (and others!). So, I scrounged up some old blogs and put something together. That alone was so cathartic. I doubted I would actually get in the show, but seeing Steph again and putting my feelings into words felt wonderful.

Needless to say, I was shocked when I found out I was going to be a part of this fabulous production. Then I met the people involved, and felt truly unworthy to be a part of this group. Such beautiful people! I have a tendency to be a bit quiet, almost anti-social, when I'm pregnant, but these wonderful people pulled me into their lives and allowed me to celebrate motherhood with them anyway. This show for me was about more than telling a story - it was about fellowship. I am so honored to have been a part of it, more than I can say in just a few paragraphs.

A little background from Steph: Like Kate mentioned, I've known her since high school days and I was excited to hear her audition for Listen To Your Mother. I really didn't know what to expect, and was blown away by her beautiful perspective as a working mom. Her piece was so eye opening to me, and empowering, and definitely added an incredible dynamic to the show that I know touched the hearts of everyone in attendance.

Every Sunday I'll be featuring a "behind the scenes" of each Listen To Your Mother Valparaiso/NW Indiana piece. You can watch the entire show on the Listen To Your Mother Show YouTube channel here or see each piece listed and linked here and here.

Listen To Your Mother photos by Beth Fletcher Photography 

July 22, 2011

High On Yes

Last night at the Drive-In Gray sat in my lap. He looked back at me, then noticed the stars. He said when he grows up he wants to be an astronaut so that he can go to the stars, and some day he'll take me there. Oh, honey, you already have.

I've been saying yes like it's water this week. Can we get cookies at Starbucks (for breakfast)? Yes! Can we go to the park and get sprayed two days in a row? Yes! Can we have a picnic at the beach, too, again? Yes! Can we throw rocks? Yes! Can we pee in the bushes? Yes! Can we get ice cream for no reason? Yes! Can we go to the Drive In? Yes! Can we get whatever we want at the concessions even though you brought all this food and snacks? Yes!

I admit, all this yessing makes me feel like a happier mom. At first I was getting a little perturbed that the constant fun time was crowding in on my getting-stuff-done time. So, I'm a little behind on some things, but they are things that can be caught up eventually. And they will be. They always do. This life summer? Can not. It's the only one we've got.

July 21, 2011

In The Sun


So, the wise man built his house upon the rock but I'm pretty sure it wasn't too far from the beach because, well, come on. I bet he had a fabulous view.

If it's not too too crazy hot, we're going to the Drive-In tonight to see The Zookeeper. I have never taken the kids, so, if you're experienced at that. I'd love your advice!

I've been a busy bee writing away at Strollerderby, finding my groove...

Lots of excitement over the weekend, I reported on the Mom Kicked Out of American Girl Store for Breastfeeding in Public and the follow up, with American Girl's reponse, "Inappropriate" or "Nature's Way?" Despite the Law, the Breastfeeding in Public Debate Continues; American Girl Responds.

The sad, Mom Charged in Death of Child Hit By Car While Crossing the Street

The what?, Boy Lifts Shirt at World Cup: Is He The Next Web Sensation?

Oh, and here are some WINNERS! 

I'll be in touch with all the winners today- if you don't hear from me please send me an email!

Small Style: Swimsuit Edition

This week's small style... 

soaking it in

It's so hot here that we haven't worn much more than our swimsuits all week. Ivy especially. And so we go to the beach and spoon up every last minute of these summer days. 

She's getting so big that we had to run to Target yesterday to get a new swimsuit- can't beat a fru fru tu tu for $10. 

lulu beach

[linking up as always with small style at mama loves papa.]  

July 19, 2011

Someplace Marvelous


I started to feel like things were too big around me, gaining ground, so we go.

Somewhere bigger than that, waking up with wonder how anything could have made me feel that way when look at this. This face, take it in your hands and really look into their eyes. This sky, those clouds. This beach. How does the water not, just, keep going? How does it know to lap up on to the shore and pull back, what restraint?

It dares me, to let them in and I beg it not to take. They do not go far but they try. Beautiful dangerous temptress.


We stack rocks and spell our names but before we can boast our creations another wave reaches its hand a little further and washes them away. No evidence of completion. Just like my every day. The upkeep, the starting all over again. But at the same time, the mistakes and regrets. The fears.

skipping rocks

The sun sets and dark falls and we stay. People leave the water so I let the kids throw pebbles to their hearts' desires. They must have hurled hundreds deep, for a half hour at least. Skipping and spinning from wave to wave.

July 18, 2011

The really really really long trip to Target

This past weekend I was home maybe a few hours total of my kids' awake time. I went to bed Friday night missing them. Thankful for the opportunity to have a breather, to get to do fun work, to be with beautiful people,  


I can't shake the wonder if it's the right year if it's ever the right year for all of this. And at the same time I take a deep breath and pep talk my mind into letting go. You have to let go.

I dropped Noah off at "backstage theatre" camp today. It's just three hours but I walk him in and then, well, I leave. I walked out into the heat of the summer and put on his first day of school five years ago like a heavy coat. When will  it get easier to leave my kids? To let them be without me?

We play at the park with friends and the kids won't leave me alone. They want to sit on me and ask me questions and interrupt my much-needed friend time. Is this what attachment parenting has become? Is this all my fault? They can not play with other kids at a park without my constant interaction? I kind of want to get away from them again. But I don't. Why can't it all just be?

Around the 24 hour mark, Ivy asked about my absence: "Is Mommy at Target?" I do tend to run away to there, and I come back and it's good. For a while.

Staccato moments, I leave I miss I come home I work I snap I sigh I sleep, are not satisfying the hungry soul. When will  it get easier to to let me be without them?

I pick Noah up from his class in about an hour. He'll be excited about this new thing, and my heart will grow with pride and he'll move another inch away from me into independence, into the unknown,

into his own story.

July 17, 2011

While You Were Sleeping

While You Were Sleeping starts at the :50 mark

Behind the scenes of Listen To Your Mother with Suzi Ryan...
Suzi is a writer and a mom of three small kids. She grew up in a small town and moved to the suburbs to go to school. There she met her husband who grew up in the city and they decided to stay in the burbs to raise their family, as a compromise between their two origins. They now have Adeline 6, Allison 5 and Jackson 2 and a firm belief that when people compromise everyone loses.

Suzi enjoys staying home with the kids (when they actually are home) and occupies herself with reading, gardening and kickboxing when she can sneak away. Their misadventures can be followed on sclb.net

Thoughts from Suzi: When I got an email from a friend about auditioning for LTYM I laughed out loud. No, I don't speak in public, was what went through my head.

Later that day though I was thinking that odds are I won't be cast so I might as well write something and audition, it would make a great day trip. And I'm always chasing after my kids to try new things, why not take my own advice?

When I got the cast list, and I was on it, I nearly fell over. I was wrecked for weeks. How did this happen? Then I started reading my fellow cast members' bios and it only got worse. These people are accomplished, published, employed. Intimidated doesn't cut it.

Then I met them, and I fell in love. They were easy going, fun to talk to and unique. Each person has their very own contribution and I started to feel more at ease with my place among them. I feel blessed to have met and gotten to know this group, to have been a part of this show.

This was an amazing experience and I'm so thankful to Stephanie for her work on this and for believing in me. 

A little background from Steph: I met Suzi at the Listen To Your Mother auditions and was instantly drawn in by her dry delivery and how shy she appears. Suzi was not like the others and I loved it. She is so relatable and FUNNY- her piece had the audience laughing in the it's so funny 'cause it's true way and wondering what was going to happen next. Such a refreshing story of motherhood in the truest form, and a perfect selection for our show. There's an important lesson to learn here, too, mmm hmmm. Let's see what you do the next time your kids go checking up on you...

Every Sunday I'll be featuring a "behind the scenes" of each Listen To Your Mother Valparaiso/NW Indiana piece. You can watch the entire show on the Listen To Your Mother Show YouTube channel here or see each piece listed and linked here and here.

July 15, 2011

Life is a special occasion: Hallmark 'Get Carded' Giveaway

 thinking of you

I try to keep in touch with my friends pretty regularly- so much due in part to social media or email, of course, but in the busy-ness of life I've definitely sent off what I meant as a sincere note to a friend and then realized that I didn't even take my time, so it sounded quite short... and did my tone come across the right way?  I can "like" a Facebook status but can go another few months (or more) without really connecting.

With a hand-written note, I'm making myself sit and take a moment, and savor an uninterrupted thought. I can write it all out- and I can't usually edit or backspace gracefully with my pen y'know

and that is how it should be sometimes.

Honestly, I'm more likely to send a card on a regular ol' day for no reason at all, and less likely to send a card on a birthday or anniversary. I'm more than loving that Hallmark has asked me to partner with them to start a new conversation...  


Let's talk about celebrating everyday moments in addition to special milestones. The real and not just the ideal. The unexpected. You anticipate cards on your birthday. What about how it feels to get one on a regular Tuesday, just because?


Get Carded. For seven days I wrote a card to someone in my life. Hallmark provided me with the cards, and I sifted through them excited to discover to whom I would send each one. Of course it was difficult to choose just seven someones- but I tried to think of people that I don't get to see everyday or who might really appreciate the gesture. The card selection definitely helped me narrow that down (which also made it kind of fun.) I love shopping for cards in general, without someone specific in mind; one pops out at me and I know just who it's for.

Some of these cards are still on their way to unsuspecting mail boxes all over this country. But I thought I'd briefly share with you who I picked, and why:


The first card I sent was to Heather. She is a new friend of mine (a la Listen To Your Mother)- we are still in the getting-to-know-you stage and it's pretty fun. We tend to have these rapid-fire phone conversations or text messages and keep meaning to get together in person but it has yet to happen this summer. I'm thankful for Heather's boldness and I admire her gumption. I look up to her, really. And so I am flattered when she comes to me about a subject I might have some knowledge or experience; it's my pleasure to help. I love when friendship works this way. Heather sent me a text after she received my card this week. We had a little "lovefest" as we call it. Hearing her response made my day. Oh the gifts keep on giving!

found a rock

The second card was to my bestie Ashlee- sort of the opposite of Heather. Ashlee and I go way back, deeper than even the five years we've known each other (soul sister territory) and one of the cards in my batch instantly made me think of her. I was overdue in sending her a handwritten message- it's one of those things where I need to send a card to say 'not it! Your turn!' She just got engaged! I'm going to be in her wedding! I can't wait to catch up! Also, I MISS HER!


The third card is for my sister-in-law Lisa. She lives far up in Michigan and I just really felt like I needed to send her a note. You know those little nudges? But, I didn't find the time until it was kind of laid out right for me here and by gawly I did it. I finally sent the card I'd been meaning to send! (And I think that is exactly how I started my message.)


The fourth card, to my Mommal. It's been five months since my Poppal passed away suddenly, and every day there is always some sort of reminder of him for all of us. Mommal went to Louisiana for the summer to stay with my aunt, and I know she misses home. It's still such a process, a difficult time of transition. I wanted to let her know I was thinking of her and that we miss her. I filled her in on the happenings here (even though I know she reads my blog- she's even on Facebook!) but again- there's something much more personal and meaningful with how you say it in cursive... 


I chose the fifth card as a congratulations to my friend Erin. She has been quietly accomplishing a whole lot lately- her latest challenge was completing the Couch to 5K program like it was no big deal (even though it is a very big deal and I just had to let her know I thought so.) This is one of those milestone-y times when I am not the best at commemorating. But these days especially, accomplishments are deserving of a real-live card in the mail. Pats on the back are so the new black. (Um, hey, Hallmark? You can so put that on a card.) Erin emailed me the sweetest message thanking me for being in her corner. I love how she put it. Exactly. Let someone know you're in their corner. Means the world.


The sixth card is to Carter, my middle son. This was a card that I didn't even have to mail. I mean, I guess I could have- and he'd love to get a letter in the mailbox- but I chose to leave it as a surprise on his pillow. Hand-delivered or left on a porch with an iced latte from Starbucks... those are just as good as mail. I wrote to him some things that I've been meaning to say (it's like the To Kids With Love line was designed just for me), but in the excitement of a family of six, the in person moment hasn't come as easy lately. I think I know that this card meant a lot to him.


The seventh card was meant for the other Heather in my life, Heather of the EO. She just had a baby but this card wasn't a congrats on your new baby card. Not that there's anything wrong with that. This was more of a I know we don't ever have time to email so maybe try this crazy thing of calling me on the phone sometime but I know even that's hard and that's OK and also I have been meaning to send you a congrats on your new baby that isn't even so new anymore type of thing. Heather's special and deserves more than that card (like something knitted that I promised to make and still will! promise!), but it's a start. I'm thankful when a card can deliver my intentions much better than a direct message via Twitter.

inside of card

You can follow the other Get Carded challenges by liking Hallmark on Facebook and let us know if you're inspired to play along. You can also sign up for the e-newsletter down at the bottom of this page. I recommend liking & signing up because there are always good things to come in the future- you don't want to miss out!

WIN $5000! "Like" and fill in the blank at Hallmark on Facebook "______ is a special occasion"

WIN! The first ten commenters on this post will receive their own pack of cards from Hallmark to participate in this lovely Get Carded experiment. US entries only at this time. Who could you give a boost to today? (winners chosen)

OR WIN HERE! My hope is that even if you don't win, you'll still play along. Maybe even for one day.  I'm offering one more chance to win if you leave a comment telling a story about a time a card really made your day, or maybe mention if you have someone in mind you really have been meaning to reach out to. Tomorrow morning I'll randomly choose from all of the other comments (past the first 10) to win a little something something from yours truly- no matter where in the world you live, I'll send it myself.

It'll be awesome.

Hallmark provided all cards, postage, and prizes for this Get Carded challenge, and is compensating me for this sponsored post. I am partnering with Hallmark to shine a light to the Life Is A Special Occasion  blogger campaign for the rest of this year. As always, all content and opinions expressed are my own.

July 14, 2011

Small Style: Ivy Got A New Hair 'Do Too


Ivy went for a trim the other day, too. Again I wonder if I am doing this right- this how to have a girl thing- because am I supposed to just let her hair grow long? It looks so much cuter in a style, and according to the hair stylist at the kiddie hair cut place, it will thicken up by having the shorter layers for now instead of hanging on to the stringy baby hair.

small style


on ivy for this week's small style... 


tee: misha lulu
skirt: addie & ella via the mini social

[linking up as always with small style at mama loves papa.]  

July 13, 2011

I am a picture taker.

 water balloon

I have followed an invisible rule against posting too many photos. But I am a picture taker. Much like the clicks and snaps I take with my eyelashes and mind. Remember this perfect moment forever.

I was inspired by Keli's post yesterday- the words and photos of course-

::sidenote, a couple weeks ago I thought I was on a conference call with Keli and was all excited to hear @keli_h's voice! and said hi like we are old friends and was embarrassed (yet thrilled!) to find that I was speaking to this Kelle H whom also photo journals amazing thoughts on life. Why were we on a conference call together? More on that later::

- and so then I thought I'd share just what our busybusy calendar-filled days look like around here (or at least what last week looked like), with lots and lots and lots of pictures.

Lake Michigan

We live close to Lake Michigan. We go to there.

 beach bum

Sometimes we plan and pack and can stay awhile,
and oft-times we just go and make do with the time we have, and are just in time for the sunset.


And oh the irony it was that- amidst the chaos of getting everyone ready to go to a parade on the fourth, we almost missed the parade. We did arrive a little late, but at least we showed up. My kids bring their jack-o-lanterns to catch the candy because, well duh.

The Pavillion at Wolf Lake

The Pavillion at Wolf Lake : big band + fireworks = perfect night

Cool Kids

At the Taltree Arboretum, we are now members...

Look up.


My family


It's just water, play in it.

water gardens

water balloons make every summer better

I must remember that in the midst of all this getting ready for life- what if this is the life? We are the parade. We are already ready. We are enough. We just gotta show up.

And if I want to take a picture, I'm going to take a picture.

July 12, 2011



Sometimes I think I didn't allow myself permission


to be the free spirit I longed to be

hand motioner

so I literally birthed it out of my body.


Her name is Ivy.