October 31, 2011

Building Up the Temple

I'm publishing this post again after a recent convo on Twitter with my friend Heather.

My Mommal used to sing that to me, with the hand motions fist upon fist. I love when she does it with Ivy now. Grandmother hands shaky and beautiful.

Working hands

There's a windstorm coming. Our house crackles and the kids think squirrels got in our walls. I worry about the spider and her web on the front porch. I hope she can hang on.

Building up the temple

We go to a parade in my hometown on the fourth of July. And we always park on the same street in front of my cousins' grandmother's house. Then we pile up all our candy-catching bags and bottled waters and camp chairs and walk around the corner to find a good spot on the street to watch the parade.

And every year, the man that lives in the house on the corner ropes off his yard and the road on each side, and he sits cross-armed and brooding. He guards his grass and I guess the city street that might bring a car or festive passerby to walk too closely to his property.

We walk around the barrier and holding breath look at our feet, our hands firm with grip on the children, keeping them in line.

That man will train his eyes on the lawn, a piece of land that in months will be covered with leaves, and then dead under snow. That man will sit justified, and he will miss the parade.

We go on, every year, and we think huffy-judgy thoughts as he must the same of us.

Who do I want to be am I created to be in this life?

A man, guarding his lawn and missing out on the whole parade? His treasure, he can not take it with him.

A parade-goer that keeps her glance averted, moving along to her party without incident, pretending he's not there? Shuffle, avoid. Repeat as necessary.

Cast another character,

who meets his grump-eye and compliments his beautiful yard. Wishes him well, offers him a drink? A wave? A smile?

An even though you don't get me I'm going to try to understand your heart from now on nod?

I want to be that one next year.

And every moment until then.

I sweep ten times a day and yet

am still guaranteed a renegade crumb will stick to the bottom of my foot

every time.

originally published October 26, 2010.

October 29, 2011


Ivy, jumping on the bed, somewhere good, surrounded by family. Definitely on a high.

Have you seen this awesome daily picture project by Kristina Alexanderson? -- Star Wars Stormtrooper and His Lego Son in Adorable Photo Series

Um, so I guess there is a "Put Down the Pacifier Day" this week -- Sesame Street Calls for "Put Down the Pacifier Day"

I'm seriously going to start teaching my kids to recite poems. Love -- Dave Matthews, Liam Neeson Lend Voices in New Animated DVD "A Child's Garden of Poetry"

Did you know that I used to work at the Art Institute? And that I want to study art someday? Anyway, love this, too -- Beautiful Van Gogh and the Sunflowers Storybook for the iPad

And an update from my friend Tammy on her sweet daughter Phoenix:

"Phoenix is still resting and healing under heavy sedation and ventilation. She is responding fabulously to her chemo treatments so far. Blood pressure and heart rate are making the doctors happy today (Saturday). They are trying to get some nutrition into her via a feeding tube which should help her stay strong. If all of her vitals stay stable the doctors would like to attempt to wake her on Monday to determine her neurological status. Keep the prayers coming and I believe they are working. Her name is Phoenix Faith and that must mean something."

[comments closed]

October 28, 2011

happy dance

happy dance in chicago

I came across this photo I took of Gray in Chicago fall of 2009. It pretty much sums up our day. I'm really in love with my family more than ever, and the trees today were the most beautiful colors, especially when the sun shimmered down just right. And tomorrow we are going out for sushi! Happy dance! 

What are you happy about right now in this moment?

October 27, 2011

Sunday through Thursday

Beverly Shores

Sunday morning I pulled the covers high and took my time getting out of bed. Jeff and Noah went on a secret drive to Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks, where they bought a whole dozen donuts! (I usually only buy one per person) and iced lattes.

We ate Boston cremes and watched videos online at the table. And we were even way early for church.

I made BLTs for lunch and took the kids to the beach while Jeff watched the Bears. We gathered rocks in jars and hiked up the dunes. Later we baked pizza for dinner and I met my mom at the movies to see Footloose.

Barnes & Noble diva

Monday was storytime at Barnes & Noble. We decided to surprise Mommal with magazines- the latest People and Large Print Reader's Digest. She was sleeping when we got there, but we woke her up and took her to the lake.

Lake Michigan
If you squint, you can see Chicago right there in the center of the horizon.

On the way home Ivy insisted on stopping by the farm at the orchard and it was just the most beautiful day, I couldn't say no. She sat on the tractors or raked hay the entire time. That evening I wrote here and here, then went to bed and it stormed and stormed.


Tuesday shared a lovely morning. When we weren't chasing bubbles or sprawled out in the backyard grass, I cleaned out the garage for winter and now I can actually park in there! Ivy played with her ponies on the driveway. We took a nap in my bed and whispered precious things I never wanted to forget but now I can't remember them.

blowing bubbles

I woke to a phone call, about my dear life-long friend Tammy and her sweet four-year-old daughter Phoenix. In an absolutely stunning turn of events, she is very sick with leukemia type A.L.L. pre B in critical condition right now. Like, within hours, they had no idea anything was wrong. My heart is still shaking. I -- and her entire family, army of friends -- appreciate your prayers, positive thoughts, and beliefs for her in this scary time. We're hoping to set up a way to help their family financially and I'll be sure to share when I have more details.

To say I've had a hard time thinking about anything else is an understatement. Heavy heart this evening.

Butterfly & skeletal photo bomb

Wednesday came to be, and it was library time with a Halloween parade. Ivy went as the green monster again. We got home and even though I had plenty of writing to do, we had no wifi. So instead we were able to meet beautiful friends Melissa and Hyacynth for lunch as they passed by on a road trip. It was good, and when we got home, the Internet was back up! So I wrote, and then got the kids ready for Halloween Night at school. This time Ivy made a few costume changes until she finally decided to be a flower child. Cool. Bedtime, Gray coughed and I heard croup. So we steamed in the bath before deep-breathing cold air. Then I put him to bed and wrote some more but didn't finish. Tended to my darling Gray and then checked on him all night long.


Thursday is nothing like we planned, but that's okay. We are missing a playdate with friends and breathing in the cold air. I've been putting off going to the store all week so now we scrounge through the cupboards to make things we find like Jiffy corn muffin mix and eat oatmeal for snack and later I might make hot pretzels.

 rock friend

Maybe we'll finally paint our beach rock families. Meet Noah (above.) I also predict a big fat nap in a few hours.

As seen on Ivy for this week's Small Style
[Linking up - Small Style

October 26, 2011

Far Out! A Halloween Photo Contest


I'm excited that I get to partner with GoGo squeeZ again, this time to let you know about the fab Trick or SqueeZ Halloween Photo Contest going on at the GoGo squeeZ blog in collaboration with Savvy Auntie.

Simply share a link to a photo of your child, niece, or nephew in their favorite Halloween costume. Winners will be awarded with awesome GoGo squeeZ gear, coupons, and applesauce!

Butterfly & skeletal photo bomb
Ivy's first costume change: "I'm going to be a butterfly!"

Savvy Auntie will choose a winner in each of the following categories: best pair/group/bunch, silliest/funniest, cutest critter, most imaginative, most likely to make brother/sister cry, best overall. 

You have plenty of time to share a link - it's Halloween anyway, so why not! Enter by 12pm (EST) November 2.

happy monster
"...or maybe the happy green monster again?" 

In the end Ivy chose to go as the flower child (in an outfit I found at the thrift store this summer!) to the Halloween party at school tonight. Noah & Carter dressed in the same 'stumes as last week, and Gray opted to wear regular clothes with eye black like a football player. Oh, he carried a football, too. And everyone was happy. Groovy, man.

Let me know if you enter! What do your kids love to pretend to be when they dress up?

Helpful links:
GoGo squeeZ Facebook page
GoGo squeeZ Twitter

Follow me on Twitter!
Subscribe to my blog

GoGo squeeZ is compensating me for this post -- I'm thankful for the opportunity! -- and I was happy to share more photos of Ivy and her many costume changes... 

October 25, 2011

We wore suede boots to the beach.

suede boots at the beach

She jangled the quarters in the passenger door handle. It could be our last

sunny day and I rescued her from the recliner and walls. We drove to the riverwalk and she stayed in the car. My girl and I, drew in by the waves - harnessed and pulled we ran - and we cuffed our jeans and slipped off our boots in the sand to feel October's drink on our skin.

Pick a shell for her and she picked two, and a smooth stone for his grave. We drove there next and she placed it down on his ledge. It smelled like beach and strawberries she said when she cupped it to her lips. His favorite place, came to him. And we drove past the 'stones and it could always be our last

beach walk
drive here
time together.

- linking up w/ just write

October 23, 2011

October 23, 2011

perfect day

Let the records show that today was

beverly shores fall 2011

and is

fall sand

and continues to be one of the best days ever.

The Accent Vlog

(I know I'm sideways in the screen capture- anyone know how to fix that?)

So, I have been meaning to do one of these accent videos for a while now and thought now would be good timing because in the coming weeks I'm going to be vlogging more frequently and doing some exciting (for me) projects with video, so, here goes! See "rules" below:

Say the following words:
Aunt, route, wash, oil, theatre, iron, salmon, caramel, fire, water, sure, data, ruin, crayon, toilet, New Orleans, pecan, both, again, probably, spitting image, Alabama, lawyer, coupon, mayonnaise, syrup, pajamas, caught.

And answer the following questions:
What is it called when you throw toilet paper on a house?
What is the bug that curls into a ball when you touch it?
What is the bubbly carbonated drink called?
What do you call gym shoes?
What do you say to address a group of people?
What do you call the kind of spider that has an oval-shaped body and extremely long legs?
What do you call your grandparents?
What do you call the wheeled contraption in which you carry groceries at the supermarket?
What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?
What is the thing you use to change the TV channel?

(I must give a nod to Roxanna because her tweet about this finally got me in gear, leading me to Nothing But Bonfires for the rules!) 

Have you done an accent vlog? Will you post one now? Please leave a link in the comments below!

October 20, 2011


small style weather

Ohmygosh it's cold here and so windy. Coats are out and hoods are up and my eyelids droop from crummy sleep last night. Our house almost blew away, I'm sure of it.

Ivy is off to Grandma's, my home is empty. I kissed her goodbye and let her go... as they pulled away I closed the door and regret set in. I should have watched and waved from the window but then they were gone, and it was raining. So I closed the door.

coat pockets

Last night I watched her fall down the last four steps, neck forward and I was too far behind to stop it. I don't know how (well yes I know How) but she just has a little rugburn on her sweet skin and wouldn't sit still for me to properly hold her and let my heart find its beat. She had to go chase her brothers and finish whatever it was that she was racing down the stairs for in the first place.

animated gif how to

What am I doing? Please someone tell me that this -- when you are in between young and old and you have the meat of life on your plate -- say I'll get to pause and savor. That I won't always be so far behind to stop in time. They grow and it just goes faster.

HALLOWEEN close up

I've recently updated all our favorite links for As seen on Ivy

coat- noppies via zulily
dress- misha lulu
leggings- target
socks- target
boots- target

furry monster costume- sent to us by Pottery Barn Kids
top- target
leggings- missoni for target
boots- target

[Linking up - Small Style

October 19, 2011

Bright Butterfly

Hello, Kitty pumpkin (kinda yeah?)


"What?!" My heart stops at the alarm in her voice.

"I love you!" she calls up the stairs.

Today I figured out just what I'm gonna do with this too-speedy life.

I'm going to slow down until I catch up.

I honestly can't think of any other way.

Would you be so kind to take a gander at...

[comments closed]

October 17, 2011

the leaves all dance

fall 2011

The leaves all dance. Some times I watch mesmerized as they twirl and some times I swerve my car
they tricked me
they had legs
they were alive
they looked like

something else.

I write to you from a tiny window of time - at the kitchen counter, quiet but for James Vincent McMorrow and Ivy's soft breathing. She fell asleep on the floor and the boys are not yet home. This is my grand opening.

I'll probably wash dishes, but only because I want to and I like this song.

Note the stove clock and his baffling hours and minutes. Where did this day go? I am in a good place, but still. Another one slipped away.

Tonight will be good. I'll have cookies ready when the bus comes, and we'll eat leftovers for dinner. It will be easy.

I glance at the table and I'm really glad I bought those two sunflowers at the grocery store.

- linking up w/ just write

How We Do Halloween


Earlier this month I shared what fall was like for me, especially growing up. Now, also in participation with Hallmark's Life is a Special Occasion focus in October, I thought I'd mention the little traditions I celebrate with my kids.

So, how do I put this? My husband and I were brought up with different views on Halloween. We chose to just cross that bridge when the kids were older. And when that bridge came, we tiptoed around until we both agreed the kids could dress up and trick or treat.

We're still cautious about what they are exposed to regarding haunted houses and scary costumes, so yes, we tend to censor that stuff for now. We trick or treat in our small neighborhood and go early when the younger kids are out. Sometimes there's a party at church or school and we go to what we can.The fun parts and the dressing up - we do that, and they love it.

This year Noah really wanted to be a skeleton and thus began the almost impossible search to find one that wasn't frightening. We did come across an x-ray costume, but I admit I still think the mask looks a bit mad. So, it gets little face time around here. Carter first made two big pointy hands out of yellow construction paper and called it a scorpion but while shopping for Noah's 'stume he decided to be a robot instead. Ivy has several to choose from and this past weekend for a party she went as a green monster. She also plans to be a butterfly princess and girl with a blue wig. And Gray was set on being Batman from the very beginning.

Fall photos

As much as I dream about a beautifully decorated home for all seasons with the clever trinkets and coordinating colors, despite a few pumpkins outside, I really don't do anything else. I want to, but it just never seems to happen. And that's okay. Sometimes a glass pickle jar full of colorful mums on the table is just enough and it makes me smile and anyway. 

Fall photos

A bit of a sidenote- another goal of mine has been to get more of my photos into frames instead of them just hanging out in my computer. So, in an effort to make my home more festive, I took pictures of the kids in their Halloween costumes this year and actually put them in some frames. (If you can believe it, I had not one picture of Ivy in our house.) Ordering a few 1-hour prints is super affordable and great at giving the appearance that I really have it all together... (perfectly imperfect, right?) And hopefully this will force me to remember to change them out for Thanksgiving and Christmas and beyond.

One thing we definitely do every year is carve pumpkins - if only to harvest their seeds for baking. In the past we've tried to follow those fancy carving patterns but have found just creating whatever we could get those darn kid-safe knives to cut is totally awesome.

I roast the pumpkin seeds by first separating the seeds from the pumpkin strings as best as I can, then rinse out in a colander. Most recipes call for patting them dry with paper towel or even microwaving for a short time but I usually am impatient and skip that step. I toss them in a bowl with olive oil and salt (and sometimes cayenne pepper if I'm making a batch for myself) and put in the oven on 350 for about 30-45 minutes, using a spatula to turn them once or twice. Take them out when they are crispy and starting to change color. Delicious!

Spooky Veggie Pizza

I needed to bring a spooky treat to the party the other night and the only thing I tend to make for such an event anymore is veggie pizza - because I know my kids will eat it and also it's crazy-easy. This is based off an old Pampered Chef recipe from a billion years ago and I just arranged the veggies to help with the spooky part (click on photo for recipe.)

How do you do Halloween? Do you do Halloween? Have any perfectly imperfect fall moments you'd like to share? Comment or link to your post below - I'd love to read about it!

Hallmark is compensating me for participating in the Life Is A Special Occasion campaign. It would be awesome if you'd sign up for their promotional emails (you might even see me in there!) by following this link. I am partnering with Hallmark to spotlight Life Is A Special Occasion  for the rest of this year. As always, all content and opinions expressed are my own.

October 15, 2011


Halloween costumes 2011
A sneak peek at the kids' Halloween costumes this year.

So, I wanted to finish International Babywearing Week with something big and grand with the fabulous photos that have been sent in (and I did get a slideshow up here: Breathtaking Babywearing Photos in Celebration of International Babywearing Week), but with computer woes and to be honest, physical exhaustion, I just didn't get to feature them all.

I thought that maybe I could just incorporate the photos into my on-going I love the way you wear your baby posts. That way everyone can still see them all, in due time... (and I hope you'll keep emailing them in!)

We went to a Halloween party tonight and stayed really late, and the kids had the best time, and my hair smells like bonfire. I love October.

October 14, 2011

Good night.

I don't know about you but I'm just like utterly exhausted from this babywearing week stuff. After this I should be good on the subject for at least another year, okay? We'll keep the babywearing in my title and that's about it.

I realized the other day as Ivy asked me to lift her up because she was "too tired of walking" from the car to the house that she really is getting too big for me to carry even on my hip. Babywearing really has drifted far off into the distance.

She's of course never ever too big to hold, however.

I'm too tired of everything. I was hoping as we settled into the school year and fall that I'd catch up from the summer of yes and awesome things, but, I have yet to find any sort of appearance of balance. So I've been walking around half-awake all sideways trying to show up for whatever it is I need to show up for.

I'm so frustrated with myself because I don't see a reprieve anywhere in the near future (which is all my own doing) and you see, I'm already on empty. I'm malnourished spiritually, physically, and artistically. I find myself wanting dumb stuff that's not me, making stupid mistakes, letting people down, and caring about things that have no weight or worth or real estate in my mind or heart at all. And the setbacks just sift right on top of what I was trying to dig out of all this sand that is my life right now.

Not that there is some dark black cloud hanging over my head, because there are so many good and beautiful things happening right now all around me and probably you yet I've swindled away all my energy to love it like it should be loved.

So, I'm going to take a nap right in the middle of the day, and I'm pushing the reset button on a random Friday afternoon halfway through October.

October 13, 2011

Beautiful Babywearing Videos

by Aura JoonSakura Bloom Styelathon via Marvelous Kiddo

by elizabeth at the littlestSakura Bloom Styelathon via Marvelous Kiddo

It's International Babywearing Week.

For babywearing tips and recommendations, check out my post Adventures In Babywearing 2.0. Feel free to leave questions in the comments here or email me as well.

Have a blog? Would love to have you join the babywearing bloggers blogroll. If you get a chance, "like" thebabywearing bloggers blogroll on facebook so others can know to join, too.

Big Red

small style on a tractor

Small style on a big tractor at the orchard.

I decided the other day to just jump in the car and head out for the day and we landed here. Honey crisp apples and a kids' farm was just what we needed.

If you could see Ivy's duds close up, you'd see they are almost threadbare. I'm not even kidding. Both she and I love this top and pants and they often make an appearance in some form every week. I'm going to be sad when they are finally too small or they fall apart. Whichever comes first!


Lately all of my photos have been completely un-edited due to my computer being in the shop for almost two weeks now! Awesome friend Sarah has graciously let me use her old laptop in the meantime, but I don't have Picasa on here, and that's what I usually use. If really needed I'll edit via Picnik in Flickr but honestly, I have really been trying to take pictures that won't need editing later. Mostly for lazy reasons but also... it feels really good to like a photo just as it is. (I happen to love the one above.)


on ivy for this week's small style...

 tea collection  free shipping if you use code: FREETREAT
pants- matilda jane

shoes- cienta via zulily

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

October 12, 2011

I love the way you wear your baby... to the orchard

Beco babywearing Chelsea

Ivy and I wandered around the farm at our local orchard the other day and we passed a few different babywearing mamas. I finally mustered up the courage to ask this beautiful mom, Chelsea wearing her baby in a Beco if I could snap their photo. I'm so glad they said yes!


It's International Babywearing WeekHave a favorite babywearing photo you'd like to send me? I'll be accepting photos through tonight for an upcoming post here as well as a slideshow at Strollerderby! I also have an awesome babywearing giveaway going on right now, too. 

For babywearing tips and recommendations, check out my post Adventures In Babywearing 2.0. Feel free to leave questions in the comments here or email me as well.

See past I love the way your wear your baby photos

Have a blog? Would love to have you join the babywearing bloggers blogroll. If you get a chance, "like" thebabywearing bloggers blogroll on facebook so others can know to join, too

books and covers

Today is Ivy's library class day. We look forward to it all week. But it's still kind of weird to me that I have yet to have a conversation with even one other parent there.

We go up the elevator to the kids' section and she finds her name tag necklace. Then the teacher (or PERSON who lives in the library) ushers the group into another room for twenty minutes while the moms wait outside. And during that time I mosey around the books or check my phone but I never talk to one of the other moms and they don't talk to me. Why is this.

When storytime is up, we are called in to watch an old film from a projector onto a white screen and then we make a craft. I've caught a few weak-smiled glances here and there a couple of times - maybe they like Ivy's colorful outfit today or maybe they are thinking does that child ever wear matching clothing?

Admittedly, just like the beautifully illustrated hardbacks I pile in my arms, I am totally guilty of judging books by their covers.

Most of these moms are wearing workout clothes and look good in them. Like, they just came from a run or yoga class but had time to fix their hair, so. And I clearly just woke up, finger brushed away the bedhead and threw on the same jeans from yesterday (and okay the day before that, too.) I imagine that if any one of them ever does talk to me, I'll find out that their kid in the library class is their first child. That would explain a lot. Maybe I don't engage with them because I don't want to know any different.

Ahh, I have issues. Off we go!

(I'll keep you posted)

October 11, 2011

Thank you, babywearing.

babywearing on the merry go round

When I became pregnant with my third, I joked that I would have to “wear this baby” – because where in the world was I going to put him in our small house and how else would I keep him safe from the hands of his two older brothers?
Soon I’d stumble upon a La Leche League meeting full of moms carrying their babies in beautiful fabric and, pretty much, I’d never look back. In honor of International Babywearing Week, I wanted to take a look down my babywearing memory lane, I'm sharing the rest of the story at 4 Kids or More today.

[comments closed] please feel free to comment with your best babywearing memories and favorite carriers at 4 Kids or More (no matter how many kids you have) !

related: enter to win an Onya Baby carrier + there's still time to send me your babywearing photos.

October 10, 2011

just like that.

It's like the gravel under the tire, through open window you hear the car pull up and turn around. A sound like it's in the room right next to you, closer than it really is.

Like in the car wash, when the machine rolls by and you feel like the car is moving, but it's not. It's standing still.

And you think outside of yourself, that being surrounded by people moving forward and following their dreams might make it appear that you are moving right along with them. But that's an illusion. And you aren't. You are still. What are you going to do about that?

You find yourself in the waiting room. In between where you've been and where you need to be. And you with your history and your beliefs are taking your grandmother for a flu shot. That is love.

You couldn't wait for bedtime, and all that you could get done once they were asleep and then there you are, pulling your daughter up into your arms, nothing in the world more important or desired or special than that moment and you know it, you own it, and you miss it before you even let go.

- linking up w/ just write

I love the way you wear your baby... at the train station.


Ivy and I are taking a friend -Keli!- to the train station this morning and I wish we'd spent more than just a morning together this weekend while she stayed with Erin. At least we'll have the long ride (and hopefully a quick detour to the beach) before she goes!

I took this photo during a summer playdate with Meagan and Jennifer. We picked them up at the train stop and Jennifer was wearing her sweet girl in the Ergo. (She's also working on her fifth book- you can see her anthology here.) Oh, and she spoke to her daughter only in French. I was insanely inspired.

It's International Babywearing WeekHave a favorite babywearing photo you'd like to send me? I am going to try to post something special this week! I'll also be posting an awesome babywearing giveaway later today. See past I love the way your wear your baby photos

Check out my post Adventures In Babywearing 2.0 and scroll down for my tips and suggestions. Feel free to leave questions in the comments here or email me as well.

Have a blog? Would love to have you join the babywearing bloggers blogroll. If you get a chance, "like" thebabywearing bloggers blogroll on facebook so others can know to join, too.

October 9, 2011

John Lennon Babywearing LOVE LOVE LOVE

International Babywearing Week kicks off tomorrow and this video of John Lennon wearing his son just chokes me up every time! You can find us singing along to the Beatles more than any other band (although I did recently add in some Beach Boys and Avett Brothers but mostly Beatles...) And I have watched John Lennon's Imagine documentary more times than I can count.

For the record, he is by far my favorite Beatle.

Have a favorite babywearing photo you'd like to send me? I am going to try to post something special this week!

October 6, 2011

Stick Figures

I took a pregnancy test today. It was negative.

In a few minutes it will be Gray's birthday. He is the child you make a big deal about when it comes to birthdays. We'll celebrate for days but it probably won't be enough.

(It's not like we are trying or anything- no way, quite the contrary. I think I was just looking to the stick to figure out why my clothes fit the way they fit and why I feel the way I feel.) Like skin, and age, and time it had lines

but no real answers.

Our yard. Is happening. Abandoned bikes and overturned skateboards litter the driveway. The kids stand around, "I wanna be Fergie and you are Beyonce, he's Justin." I sit on the front stoop, hidden behind a massive dogwood. "Did you hear about Michelle Obama? She went shopping at a store." Fifth graders talk about Michelle Obama.

I catch Noah's sideways glance. Is it okay that I'm out here? Does he want me to go in? I just don't want to leave Ivy in the front yard unattended. Does he like that I'm near? I don't know. Later he says he's glad everyone wants to come to our yard. And he kissed my shoulder good night.

Ivy blows dandelion puffs and makes a wish, then whispers it in my ear. I wish for a teddy bear whiiisshhh. She has a crush on a sixth grader. Another whisper, mom I touched his arm. 

I find Gray in the back with the girl who put stars in his eyes and I see for the first time the sparkle when she looks at him. He shows off his DS skills. She is impressed.

Oh, Matilda

lake michigan
our side of lake michigan

Before Ivy's library storytime class yesterday morning, I asked if she remembered her teacher's name - to which she scolded me, "She's not a teacher, she's a PERSON who lives in the library!"

GR 017
ruche-y ruche-y arms!

I don't mind - and actually prefer - spending more money on good quality clothes for my kids - things that look too nice to wear to the beach and into the lake, but really they wear and wash so well. Most importantly my kids have got to be able to play and get dirty. 

Oh, btw - did catch her dancing here? 

ss 001
ivy & my aunt susie 

So, you can imagine my happy surprise when I discovered Matilda Jane featured at my favorite daily deal site Zulily a few weeks ago. I must say I was very grateful to the awesome free Zulily iPhone app because it texts an alert when the sales start. You can also preview the next day's sales and set an alarm in case there is something you don't want to miss! (I highly recommend this, especially for deals that you know are going to go fast!)

on ivy for this week's small style...

dress- matilda jane via zulily
pants- catamini

poncho- tea collection (take an extra 20% off sale with code EXTRA20SALE)

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

Win! Zulily has offered a $50 credit giveaway. To be entered to win, be signed up for Zulily and leave a comment letting me know you're a member. 

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I'll choose one comment at random late Sunday 10/9. Be sure to link to an email addy so that I can contact if you win.

Congrats to Emma!

P.S. I am not receiving anything from Zulily for posting this giveaway - I am just a big fan and frequent shopper! If you do sign up for Zulily through my link, though, I get a $15 credit when you make your first purchase. (Just like you can when you get others to do the same, and so on!) And the tea collection link is an affiliate as well.

October 5, 2011

Art Is For Your Heart

We slipped away for a little family vacation last weekend to Grand Rapids, Michigan. I've been wanting to go back with the kids ever since I first visited last December on a blogging trip with Experience Grand Rapids. And serendiptious-ly, Experience Grand Rapids asked if I'd like to come back as well as write for them for the next few months. So, there's that!

I'd really been hoping to make it up there (about a two-and-a-half hour drive for us) for Artprize - the incredible 19-day public art competition-meets-social experiment open September 21- October 9. A dear friend of mine actually has a piece entered and I wanted to see her as well as all the other amazing entries. The art scene in Grand Rapids was one of the reasons why I first came home and told Jeff we need to move there. It seems to be everywhere you go, and during Artprize it is literally everywhere you go. Amazing.

Monkeys on the bridge! Artprize
Metal Monkey Mania by Dale Rogers, Blue Bridge

One of the most important lessons I constantly teach my kids is that you can make art out of anything. I do not want them conditioned to believing that art belongs on just a canvas or paper or even in a gallery or hung on a wall. And at the same time, if canvas or paper is their preferred method... I buy them all the canvas and paper they need. Artprize was the ultimate example of the range of possibilities - and how unique all of our imaginations can be.

a conversation with myself, artprize, gray
Conversation With Myself by Lori Acott, Grand Rapids Public Museum

We drove up to Grand Rapids on Friday night and got in a little late, but the sidewalks were still busy with people viewing all the outdoor Artprize entries downtown. Near our hotel (the Holiday Inn on Pearl Street) there were plenty of entries to be seen, including the top ten nominee- Rusty (my kids' favorite, and probably mine). We checked in (adjoining rooms, baby!) and walked to a late dinner. It was after 9pm but the streets were filled with people.  I held back the tears several times over the course of the weekend at just the thought and sight of so many visitors gathering to see art. 

Artprize big doorway
big door.
Portal by Christopher Weed, Grand Rapids Public Museum

Saturday morning we slept in a bit and headed downstairs for a big breakfast at the Pearl Street Grill. Oh, before I forget to mention - there were even Artprize entries in the hotel lobby! As we were heading out to explore Grand Rapids in the daytime, a nice man held the elevator for us and chatted with the kids. He asked if we were here for Artprize and I asked him if he had something entered. Why yes, he did. It was Ritch Branstrom - top ten nominee and creator of Rusty! He was heading over to hang out by his piece and connect with the many fans the big dog with a deep story was attracting.

Rusty, Artprize
Rusty, Ritch Branstrom & the kids.

During Artprize, all Grand Rapids museums and many attractions are free admission. The hotel was next door to the Grand Rapids Public Museum and we got in line just as the doors were opening for the day. We were able to see Rain - another top ten nominee, and of course rode the big carousel downstairs.

GR Museum, Legos
Yellow by Nathan Sawaya, Grand Rapid Public Museum

We decided to take a drive in hopes to find the church that my friend Christina Vagenius was showing her phenomenal piece "The Gift," which has also been made into a book. I was in awe watching her drink the admiration as visitors walked the long hall displaying each panel of her work. Being able to hug her there in that moment was one of the best parts of the weekend for me.

Artprize Christina Vagenius, The Gift

Next, we made good on our promise to show the kids REAL LIVE VENUS FLY TRAPS at the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. Despite all of the art and awesome things we did I am pretty sure this is the first thing they would tell you about.  Those carnivorous plants are mind boggling, I tell you.

Meijer Gardens cafe, Gray

We ate lunch in the cafe and were wowed by the menu- rootbeer squash soup,warm goat cheese spread with crackers, hummus plate, Tandoori chicken sandwich, and so on! (There were plenty of more normal eats offered, too, but I was thankful for the healthy and allergy-free options.)

little doorway
little door.

We took a tram for the big sculpture park tour and Ivy fell asleep. It was really a beautiful day. The ride stopped just outside the Children's Garden and the kids took off through the little door leading to a wonderland.


GReat Lakes
see the Great Lakes?

I do believe we'll be making a trip back up just to spend the day in the Children's garden. We actually stayed until they kicked us out (closing time!) They were nice about it, and even loaded the kids up with stickers and a map of the grounds. Meijer Gardens is free for Artprize right now, too, but you do need a ticket to visit certain areas not involving Artprize.

children's garden

It was about time for us to head home, but we were having such a splendid family day that we just weren't ready to leave. We figured since the GRAM (Grand Rapids Art Museum) was free during Artrprize and also had extended hours until 10pm, we might as well get in all that art, too. We made the short drive back downtown and into quite a bit of traffic (but compared to Chicago, it's but a minor delay or inconvenience.) We actually found a parking garage close to the GRAM that wasn't full and waited a long time to turn in. Jeff let a car that had been sitting in on-coming traffic turn in front of us and we just hoped we'd still be able to find a spot. When it came time to pay, the attendant told us that car had paid our parking fee to say thanks!

GRAM, Gray

We walked over to the GRAM and followed a short line to get in. This is where we were when I turned to see Gray in the arms of another woman, being held up to better see Kathy Goodell's untitled Artprize entry LOL. Oh dear. There were a few different pieces that the artist welcomed us to "move about" or touch, etc. Those were big hits with the kids, of course. Noah loved collecting all of the little artist cards by each entry- I could tell he was really taking it all in.

As we exited the GRAM there was a big concert out front at the Rosa Parks Circle. I didn't catch the name of the performer but Ivy happened to think he was playing just for her. We walked over and let her dance, and just soaked in the crowd and beauty of the moment together. It was really cool.

We were so tempted to try to stay one more night, but it was time to head for home. On the drive we speculated who we thought was going to win the grand prize (winner is announced tomorrow October 6!), hoping it will be Rusty, and each of the kids planned what they would create when they enter Artprize someday. And this makes me so very happy.

Our hotel stay, meals, entry to Meijer Gardens, as well as compensation for this post were paid for as part of my relationship with Experience Grand Rapids. We can't wait to go back. xoxo