November 30, 2011

So the school counselor called.

About Gray. Of course.

You know him and his pants. Well, he's kind of like that with coats and jackets, too. It can be freezing out and he'll refuse a coat, but! will wear a hat. I didn't fight him when he only wore his green jacket to school on Monday. At least it was on and not shoved in his backpack with his gloves. But apparently it was colder than I realized.

So, yesterday the school counselor called to see if we would like one of the winter coats that had been donated to the school. I was confused, because I had made sure he wore a heavier coat, with an added sweatshirt underneath.

But, apparently, he told someone he didn't have a coat. There I sat, wondering what he did with his coat. Did he hide it? But soon I realized that she was implying that maybe we were in need of a coat for him. She hadn't yet seen him bundled today and was tipped off from his paltry covering from the day before. Also, I don't really know if she believed me.

Maybe it's because I've been on the verge of tears all week, or I don't know what. But it all started to click. I'd recently emailed his teacher about how I can't help out with lunch during the week anymore because we are down to one car. And I wondered if they noticed that Gray only wears two pairs of pants all week (his brown and blue pair, of which we have multiples.) And then there was that day last week that I only realized after he got home from school that he'd worn the very same shirt two days in a row.

And then I felt really embarrassed.

I mean, I think it's awesome that his teacher is looking out for him. I'm not there to be sure he's warm enough at recess. I can only send him with the goods and hope he'll put it all on. I hope that no kid has to be cold and will be given a coat if he doesn't have one.

It just felt... crappy. And at the same time, made me laugh, because it's so Gray. But also? so embarrassing. 

Today I sent him with a hat with chinstrap to wear under his big bulky hood, a pair of gloves and a pair of fleece mittens. And socks that almost go to his knees. It's basically like this:


November 29, 2011

Grand Rapids is Grand


Our family getaway to Grand Rapids, Michigan this past weekend was absolutely the best. We got up early Saturday morning and headed on up. It's under a three hour drive from Northwest Indiana/Chicagoland -- just the perfect amount of time with four kids in our little car.


Because the weather was nice enough for outdoor play, we headed straight for Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. When we visited last month, we hadn't allowed ourselves enough time to explore the Children's Garden. This time we went there first. And we roamed every square inch! We could easily spend the day there, with the play structures and hideouts and little forts, and the maze!


The Varnum Family log cabin in the Children's Garden was one of the highlights. We had a hard time getting the kids out of there! The vintage folk toys were a big hit. I highly recommend carving out some moments to spend in the cabin playing all the games- especially Skittles. And it's the perfect spot to warm up by a real fire.

Skittles is awesome.

Carter was diligent at capturing photos all weekend with his iPod:

Frederik Meijer Gardens via Carter

After Meijer Gardens, we did a little shopping at Rebel Reclaimed and Eastown Antiques on Lake Drive. Then we headed to The Green Well for a late lunch.


We practically had the restaurant to ourselves and every bite was fabulous. Gray loved the baked goat cheese and the kid's meal portions were quite generous. Ivy and Gray actually shared a meal and they split it on two different plates for us!


We walked across the street to an awesome eco-conscious kids shop (Hopscotch.) I continued with my small business Saturday support and bought a couple things there (and actually ended up ordering a couple things the kids wanted for Christmas when we got home.) 

The kids were SUPER excited to finally check-in to the hotel. It has a pool. And a hot tub. I might have tweeted from it and almost dropped my iPhone but no harm done. And it was worth it. We stayed at the Holiday Inn on Pearl Street in downtown Grand Rapids again and it's quickly become our very favorite. The customer service is outstanding and while this visit was taken care of by Experience Grand Rapids, we are definitely making plans to go up again for a weekend or two, and for sure hope to get our rooms at the Holiday Inn. We're regulars now, you know.

(In case you're wondering, when we travel we are all about the adjoining rooms. Two double beds for the kids and a king suite for Ma & Pa is the way to go.)

Sunday after breakfast at the Pearl Street Grill (in the hotel PS kids eat free!) we walked next door (literally) to the Grand Rapids Public Museum. I just have to say, especially for kids, this has to be one of my favorite museums ever. The Streets of Old Grand Rapids is perfection, and the volunteers are just as charming and entertaining. The kids -- we all -- learned so much! Also, I happened to buy a ton of Christmas gifts in the gift shop!

In the BIG STUFF exhibit (showing through the end of the year) they had a wall at the exit where guests could write on post-it notes and leave suggestions for what they'd like to see curated at the museum for people to see 150 years from now. Some of the notes cracked me up:


1. guys with Justin Bieber hair
2. hand written thank you notes & hand written snail mail love letters (I knew my friends at Hallmark would love that one.)
3. Your Mom

(I wrote down iPhone and Ivy drew a smiley face.)


Gray was inconsolable for a good hour after we checked out - as you can see. His favorite part of Grand Rapids is the hotellllllllllllllllllllll. (Say it with a wail for full effect.)

And, you know, this was just Part One of our mini-vacay. (See Part Two here.) I'll fill you in on all the wonderful holiday activities we got ourselves into for December's post. There is SO much to do year-round in Grand Rapids with big or little kiddos - or no kids at all. The museums! The shopping! The art! The beauty! It's grand.

Our hotel stay, meals, entry to Meijer Gardens and Public Museum, 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

November 28, 2011

merry miss much

I had just swept, and I'd just wiped the counter. I made noodles with olives because I thought it would be easy, in between decorating the tree and helping Carter with long division. But then I dropped an entire bowl onto the floor, and missed the garbage can when I went to throw it all away.

I'm going to miss it when our tree branches are no longer weighted down to the floor with three ornaments per branch and laminated reindeer heads with tiny school pictures.

It's so easy to forget. I know this because already I hold a ceramic blob made in art and I don't remember if it was Noah's or Carter's. The blue Hallmark Baby's First Christmas ornament... I can't recall whose first it was. I look at our tree, uneven and I suppose not exactly how I prefer it to look, but I imagine my mom, and my mother-in-law decorating their trees just so, how they like it. Perfect and without the assistance of small children. And I know all too soon that will be me someday. I already miss this.

I read Ira Sleeps Over to them before bed Again, in my best librarian storytime voice. Everything is special by Christmas-tree-light.

- linking up w/ just write

November 27, 2011

In the Children's Garden

Grand Grayson
Grayson at the Children's Garden, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park 

We just got back from probably the best getaway our little-big family has ever taken. It was an honor to visit one of our favorite spots in the world during a special time of remembrance. Mr. Meijer sadly passed away the day before. 

I'll be working on a much fuller, photo packed post of our time as I write and work for Experience Grand Rapids -- after we unpack and finish snipping away at our paper snowflakes. But I just couldn't resist sharing this adorable photo of my sweet Gray.

November 25, 2011

The Day After

This moment, this morning, might be one of my favorite parts about the Thanksgiving holiday. I just made myself an iced chai. The kids are either still sleeping or playing quietly (of course just as I type that I hear a loud yelp from upstairs but it stopped so I won't get up off this couch to investigate) and laundry hums in the washer. One of those rare times when you can go anywhere but you choose to have no where to be.

Thanksgiving with Mommal

I realize as we grow up that I'm chasing my childhood, sometimes forcing traditions just so I can feel like I used to feel, even if it's just a whiff. Even if it's a half-a-second of recognition. Realizing that our lives are not like one big flat puzzle but rather layers and layers of puzzles, and that piece yesterday when I wanted to spend the morning at Mommal's having breakfast and cooking all my side dishes in her kitchen. Making it bustle, filling her house with people like it used to be. That was for somewhere deep down, near my heart.

Watching the Macy's parade

And we watched the Macy's parade, and then headed to my Mom & Dad's. We ate so much food, and it was so good. After lunch Ivy and my niece Abby floated down the stairs in beautiful dresses. Twirling and tea partying. They pretty much refused to take them off until it was time to go.


My children find what will mean most to them about our family get togethers and I have to remember that these are their memories in the making now. Mine will just have to slip in and fill the cracks where there's room. Somehow it all makes perfect sense.

Abigail & Ivy

November 23, 2011

There was this time


There was this one time I got all caught up on the laundry and when I finally put it away, we didn't have enough room in our drawers.

(That photo was taken by Suni Danielle Photography for an upcoming project I'm signing on to do.)

P.S. I love my kids.

Have you had fun decorating the turkey on Google this week yet?

At 4 Kids or More you can see another crazy-adorable pic from our photo shoot, and I'm also asking Do your kids have friends outside of the family?

Hope you have a great night! We're going to see The Muppets and I've not even gone to the grocery store for what I need to make for Thanksgiving yet. I KNOW.

November 21, 2011

Pinky Swear


I was totally about to post a real-life type photo of my dining room table, or rather where the dining table is if I could find it under all the stuff. Papers, cups from last night's dinner, shopping bags, coats, scarves, and pretty much everything else that uses it as a landing strip. And the kitchen, well, you'd find the groceries that have yet to be put away.

Ivy's on the toilet. Now's where I admit that my three-year-old is still in pull-ups but she's peed in the potty all day so far, so yay!

I decided to make Rice Krispie treats and she's all "I LOVE marshmallows!" and I'm like, get back on that snazzy cushioned Diego potty seat and I'll give you one. She wants to watch a show. You can watch a show with the iPod while you're sitting on the potty. She picks her new fancy dress to wear. Great, that dress looks awesome when you're sitting on the potty. And so on and so on. I'm not giving up. Today is The Day.

Speaking of Rice Krispie treats, gluten-free, because that's how I have to gluten-free roll these days (suddenly I'm starting to feel human-like again), so, I was determined to make some how Noodles & Company makes their krispie treats. Have you ever had them? They like melt in your mouth. I figured they probably double the butter and marshmallows. But before I even got those two things out, I put the pot on the stove and then dump the entire box of Rice Krispies into it. FYI that is not how you make Rice Krispie treats.


But who needs pictures of all that? I'd rather be at the beach. Let's go to there.

These photos were taken by Keli from Kidnapped By Suburbia during her visit in October.

(Ivy's new favorite thing is "pinky swear." It's so girly and 80's and fun. We pinky swear to everything all day long. I didn't want to forget it.)


- linking up w/ just write

November 17, 2011

Leg Warmers

warm legs

On our drive to Mommal's today Ivy said, "Mama, all the trees are so pointy."

Most of the leaves are gone by now, the chill outlasts the sun's heat just by a smidge. She was afraid they'd "poinch me if I get too close." And we imagined them bending down at night, as forks to the leaves to cover up like a blanket. But by morning the wind would knock them down again.

That face

Or if I were a painter or someone could illustrate the book, could you see them, points up, catching whatever leaves came upon the breeze. The many colors and kinds they'd collect, until another gust comes along and takes their clothes to another tree.

Nothing ever sticks for long, it all falls away. Until the spring when they grow again.

New leg warmers

As seen on Ivy...
  • tee- mini boden
  • long-sleeved tee- tea collection
  • skirt- rosemary's cuppa
  • finished leg warmers (scenester legwarmers pattern from Boho Knits - I'm determined to knit through that entire book!) 
p.s. here's a little video of Ivy getting her dance on earlier.

[Linking up - Small Style

November 16, 2011

Ivy got a hair cut

hair cut

Oh, this girl. I love her so much!

As her hair "grows in" (it's so babyfine!) we keep getting it cut so it has a style and I love it short, but really am cutting it so that she can grow it long-er eventually. I also wonder what color it will end up? It really hasn't darkened as much as I thought it would, and it's so cool with her blue eyes and DARK eyelashes. They are like mascara, but with these light highlights at the roots. Of her eyelashes! I've studied every one of them.

She just got home from being at Grandma's all day. Our reunion in the afternoon is always the best.

Anyway, there's some things I've written...

So, have you heard of all the cool Google secret searches called "Easter eggs?" You MUST check these out. So fun and cool. Feel free to share, like, pass that one on. :)

Also, Monday I woke up to find out that I now write for Disney. I am still not really sure what I honestly feel about this, especially since I had no warning. You can read the news here

Did you see the really neat giveaway I have going on for my friend's beautiful shop here? Worth a look-see.

And at 4 Kids or More I'm writing the same old story: So many children, so little time... but it's my life and I write it out. It's what I do.

Oh, and I got to talk with Jewel (the singer!) on the phone the other day. We talked about motherhood, babywearing, and holidays. It was really neat. Also she retweeted me twice on Twitter. Is that super dorky for me to say? Oh well, I don't care.

That's about it. I'm having a really good day, and it involved taking Gray to the dentist. Let me just say huge prayers are being answered and it feels really good being on this side of it all. THANKFUL!

I hope to finish up some legwarmers I'm knitting for Ivy for Small Style tomorrow. I don't have a clue what I'm doing, but am wishing for the best! Such is life, such is life!

November 15, 2011

The Grateful Heart


So thankful for my partnership with Hallmark this year, an unexpected perk came when I got to have a one-on-one chat with Jewel the other morning. She will be featured in a new campaign with Hallmark for the holidays - be on the lookout for that to launch soon.

It was delightful to talk with her, and I am amazed at the incredible insight she already has about motherhood even though her son Kase is only like 5 months old.

When I asked her if - as a writer - she had a muse and if that changed when she became a mother, she explained that she usually writes "what's in front of me" and how that "continues to change course. Having a kid is a beautiful adjustment and for each mom will be a personal journey; choosing what kind of mom you want to be, and writing helps keep track of that process so that you're not losing yourself." (I think that was where I said please hold while I write all of this down because YES.)

And when asked about the imperfect moments of motherhood she admitted that many moms including friends of hers seem to have an expectation of what it should be like, and we really shouldn't set ourselves up for disappointment. "Don't expect yourself to be perfect. Just get in there and see what it looks like." Don't go by just what you think it's going to look like.

She suggests we embrace those life-y moments and "reevaluate, reorganize yourself - motherhood is a metamorphosis. Trust your instincts, accept the fact that it's going to be uncomfortable and exciting."

See what I mean?

Of course I asked her if she ever wears Kase in a carrier. She said they have a K'tan and a sling when they go on walks, and they really enjoy strolling around. And as you can imagine they don't leave the house all that much right now.

I've been thinking about our conversation ever since, and it really stuck to my heart ribs. As laid back as I already am, I have my hang ups. And it seems they've been hanging me up more than normal. I'm thankful for Thanksgiving next week. It's kind of the carrot on a stick for me right now, as I know it's a day of family and taking a break, and unplugging, and slowing down. I'll read the sale ads, but I won't be venturing out to any stores that weekend. I'll probably be snuggling in with the kids and leftovers, and bringing out the Christmas decorations.

Lately I've been surrounded by a lot of hurt and sickness among family and friends and of course that draws us in to appreciate what we do have, and to be thankful for every breath. Inside and out. I love when my kids are thankful for even the silly things, and for the little bits that get center stage in their prayers and give me the church giggles because it all counts. And is the makings of a grateful heart.

(P.S. while I was typing this Ivy wrapped her arm around mine and whispered, "Mama I love my family." I couldn't let that go un-noted.)

I also asked Jewel about the upcoming holiday campaign with Hallmark and the traditions she'll be embracing with her new little family. She said it's good to "embrace your own, and she's noticed that what you take for granted can be the best tradition." Like the foods you know that will always be there, or things you always do just because that's how it's always been but you might not have cherished it before. You really notice that as you grow up. She likes to save certain recipes to be only cooked for that holiday so that "when you taste it, you know the holiday has arrived."

Oh man how I wish I'd thought of those words myself.

What does the holiday taste like for you? Is there something you're especially grateful for (big or small) this Thanksgiving?

Hallmark is compensating me for participating in the Life Is A Special Occasion campaign. Have you seen the adorable Interactive Storybooks & Story Buddies? We happen to be huge fans (they did not ask me to say that!) and you get my stamp of approval. PERFECT Christmas gift. Trust me.

Sign up for their promotional emails (you might even see me in there!) by following this link, if that's your fancy. I am partnering with Hallmark to spotlight how Life Is A Special Occasion  for the rest of this year. As always, all content, memories, and opinions expressed are my own. 

Wonders of the world

I'm going to just write it all out. This was me last night.

If I leave any sort of writing legacy, I will be known as the mom who only writes about how she can't find the balance and yet can't stop looking at her kids while they sleep. It's like that memory eraser wand thing in sci-fi movies. They hypnotize me with their faces and poof. What? Where am I? How can I get more of these beautiful tricky things to fill my days?

And then I teeter on a panic thought -- how have I let so many nights go by that they've drifted off to sleep on their own? And I was not there to watch. It's like the sunset that happens Every Single Night but we go on driving or looking down when oh my God how can you not be paralyzed in awe?

- linking up w/ just write

November 14, 2011

Run around

Yesterday we took the morning slow and then ended up running a little late for church. Then I noticed that our neighbor's fence was about to blow down from the strong winds and they weren't home, so I tried to fix it as best I could with plastic party flags, of all things, tying the boards to the main stake. I got back in the car and my hair was everywhere.

I drove right past the church entrance, I don't know where I thought I was going, to be honest, I just kept on driving. So I found a spot to turn around

and we finally pulled in. Love was just getting into her van to leave after the 1st service and I waved hi. Turns out she didn't have her keys. So we let the kids run loose on the lawn. Wet knees and windy hair, already late for church,

but the timing was perfect.

November 13, 2011

You are a gift. [A giveaway.]

a sign

Yesterday I took the long way, with an iced green tea and Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes (best music for a drive, ever) and took the winding roads along the beach to attend an open house for my friend's gorgeous etsy shop, Heart Box Studio.

Chrissy's book The Gift was in ArtPrize this year --it was so awesome that we got to see her in Grand Rapids last month.


We met a few years ago through our old church. She was known as the Grayson-whisperer. She taught his class and he'd crawl into her arms and stay there. She is ridiculously talented, and I happen to like her very, very much.

The Artful Heart open house

Today her home was filled with cookies and cupcakes and beautiful people and art.

note cards

beautiful things grow with love



a chalkboard chandelier

So, I did a little Christmas shopping while I was at the open house, and also bought a couple more copies of The Gift. She graciously signed one for my niece & nephew for Christmas and I bought an extra one to give away to one of you.

The Gift

I also purchased several of her beautiful cards and will certainly toss one or two in there with the book, as well as some other fun things. How about it?

Would be lovely if you'd...
Like Heart Box Studio on Facebook
Add Heart Box Studio as a favorite shop on etsy
Check out Chrissy's blog

(but none of those are required to enter to win)

Win! Leave [one] comment below and I'll choose someone at random to win a signed, personalized copy of The Gift. Giveaway ends Saturday 11.19.11 at midnight. Open to everyone. I'll ship anywhere!

This post is not sponsored -- I just wanted to share my friend's shop with you, and all items up for giveaway have been purchased by me.

Congrats to Apple!

November 11, 2011

eleven eleven


At 11:11 am this morning I put a flag by his grave. I rearranged some plastic flowers that had been knocked down by the wind and noticed Ivy's beach rock was still there, beneath it a mark from the weather and rain. She put a new stone next to it today, this one had googly eyes. One big and one small.

We went to lunch and then back to Mommal's. I did some knitting while we watched The Chew and One Life to Live. Both of those shows are super weird but I was so into them. I kind of just didn't want to leave. The fall chill slips into your bones and you want to pull the sweater closer, wrap your scarf up higher on your neck, draw in to family. And bad TV.

I have a whole lot of wishes I'd like to come true. I worry when I know good and well worrying does nothing but keep me up at night. Something inside says just think about how relieved you'll be when all of this has passed, and I almost believe it's so. Toss, then turn. But when you're deep in the middle, and just want to survive this moment, you hang on. And you worry. And it leaves its mark like the weather, like the rock.

We pass by a field of sunflowers every time we visit. I look forward to the yellow and today they were black and hunched over. I think of Ecclesiastes. And a time. A beautiful deer stands still in the grass. I am so happy that Ivy sees it, too.

After dinner (I knew that flat of Ramen noodles would come in handy one of these days) I slump over two sinkfulls and can't even wash dishes in peace. Mom Mooom MOM Mom. EVERYONEGETOUTOFTHEKITCHENNOW. I will be here again after breakfast. It all seems so futile, and I'm tired, and I want out of thethickofit. But now I'm sitting and I sent them all downstairs.

My mom called. Her dog died. So there's that.

A time.

November 10, 2011



It might snow today! And yesterday we just about blew away it was so windy. It was also Ivy's last library class of the year, and afterward we zoomed up to Chicago for a quick errand and then stopped at Mommal's on our way home. I kept a good eye on those clouds the whole time.


Ivy's already off to Grandma's this morning and I'm headed straight to the knitting shop to get new yarn so I can make my sweet girl some leg warmers. I hope to snuggle in with a good movie and my needles. What do you have planned for today?


As seen on Ivy...


As always, my small style posts feature items that have been purchased by me unless otherwise noted.

*ED: sweet etsy shop owner wanted to offer a discount to my readers!

[Linking up - Small Style

November 9, 2011

I drove because I liked this song.

I turned the pumpkins around on my porch. Old jack-o-lanterns with their backs to the street, their shriveled faces hidden. They'll sit there until garbage pick up next week.

I drove because I liked this song and I played it again and again. We chased a parade of leaves down the street and they ran ahead and turned into a flashmob, swirling and pointy fists pumping into a cyclone until they dispersed casually to the sidewalks and under cars.

I drove and the dirty white clouds reminded me of fall birthday parties and sleeping bags and how I never did fit in and how good it was to go home.

I drove, and felt a delicate thread through my heart separating me from extreme sadness and absolute happiness. And I wavered there, and then the song that was on gave in to what could have been. Dreams I have, people I want to be, lives that I'm certain I've already lived (but I haven't), so real they even have their own memories, and longings.

And I could actually grieve what never was.

I glance in my rearview mirror at her in her pink car seat, she's fallen asleep, with peace on her face. The sight of her still a shock and surprise, at her dark feather-lashes squeezed tight and God's breath -not mine- passes through me and I understand.

November 7, 2011

To the moon.

The fog was warm and heavy and had turned to rain when I headed for the parking lot. I ducked my head down, I was wearing my glasses. They got wet. At the stoplight I mistook the street lamp for the moon. My heart jumped at how close it was and then I realized. But as I waited for green I kept imagining that it was really the moon.

The cuff of my jeans are still damp, tucked underneath me on the couch. I don't know what to write. I might just eat this whole bowl of snappy green grapes. The house is so so quiet. This is possibly my favorite time of day, but is it okay to say that as a mom? That I look forward to  and so rarely get  those moments when they are all in their own beds, finally asleep, tucked and dreamy. We've had so many late nights of croup and coughing and bed hopping. Right now I fluff my feathers and delight in my nest, eggs safe and sound.

Earlier I read to them, Pig Pig Rides, Gray checked it out from the school library and carried it home in his special plastic drawstring bag with his name on it. Pig Pig went to the moon in a rocket. He drove a big train and rode his bike over a herd of elephants. His mom told him to be careful. I asked what everyone wanted to dream about tonight. Ivy lay upon her belly, propped up by her elbows and hands cupped against her round cheeks. She would go to the moon. I believe she will.

Careful, my love I whispered as I slipped down the stairs to my quiet.

- linking up w/ just write

November 6, 2011

Dear shadow alive and well

Yesterday I wanted to go to the beach and climb the Dunes in the colored trees, one last time before all the leaves are gone, but no one felt like leaving the house. So I puttered and muttered and put away laundry. I was wearing a cute outfit and hated to see it go to waste.

I decided to trek to the library alone. Filling my arms with books people think I've already read but haven't, by Anne Lamott and Madeleine L'Engle. I also checked out four CDs: Fleet Foxes (both of them), The Allman Brothers Legendary Hits, and Fugees The Score.

It was Friends of the Library book sale day, so seeing as how I was in no rush to leave, I poked around and found the heaviest art books they had. I breathed a shelf and was in the college book store, buying my text books with my own money again. But in a blink I'm back, I'm not her anymore. Now I'm a mom and old. And I'll study art one way or the other. I buy The History of Art (823 heavy pages), American Realism, The Flag Paintings of Childe Hassam, Visual Shock, and Making Modernism, all for fifteen dollars. Oh, and a Batman comic for Carter. I could barely carry the bag out to my car, and when I got home made two trips inside.

Then I washed a load of towels for the third time because that's how many times I forgot to put them in the dryer.

November 5, 2011

What it's really like

paper airplane

Carter's really into paper airplanes and origami lately. Grayson came crying to me that Noah pushed him down on the driveway and I asked what he did to make Noah mad and he said he kicked him in the nuts and butt.

All the while, Ivy prances between them "look what I can do!" and I have to choke back the tears at this charmed and beautiful life.

November 4, 2011

Movember FOUR


So, apparently November is now called Movember - where men are encouraged to start the month clean shaven and grow & groom a wicked awesome 'stache while raising awareness and funds for prostate cancer and other male cancers. I bear no affiliation with Movember but do share the love of a fun moustache. I picked up a pack of four at Lifestyles downtown in case we were in need of a last minute costume idea and forgot about them until yesterday!


I'm so frustrated that my camera was on the wrong setting and I didn't realize it until later, but ah well. These photos make me LAUGH.

huh it fell off

Also, when researching Movember for this post I came across these (they are now on my Christmas list! Size 8.5 thanks!)

I used to take photos of my kids on the first of every month, now it's on the fourth. Four for four... get it? You can see past month photos here.

November 3, 2011

In the newspaper today...

On the front page of today's Your Family section of the Times newspaper is an article I wrote about my Poppal, Family Memories: A veteran is honored through generations. 

It was actually sparked from a letter Carter wrote at school. So, he took today's paper in his backpack today to show everyone. He was so proud. 

In the article, I mention to "please note that fourth-graders aren't usually big on fact checking, so some of the information isn't accurate, but I didn't have the heart to correct the elaborations in Carter's story." 

Of course Poppal did not serve in World War 2, but in his letter, Carter was recalling a conversation when he asked him all about the Army and all sorts of different wars and just got it a little mixed up. 

This piece was so hard for me to write -- I was actually taken aback at how difficult it was. I miss him and even dreamed about him last night. He gave me the biggest hug. I really felt like I was with him.

[comments closed]

Small Fall Style

small style michigan

Sometimes I hide that skirt in the bottom of her drawer, because it's the only thing she wants to wear -- usually backwards at that. And the boots, almost always on the wrong feet.

Small Fall Style

In Michigan this past weekend we played outside and the weather was really perfect, with a chill here and there, so I'm glad I brought coats. (That one in particular was passed down to us by our friends in Colorado. Thank you!)

As seen on Ivy for this week's Small Style

coat- mini boden
skirt-  addie & ella via the mini social
leggings- noppies via zulily
boots- target

[Linking up - Small Style

November 2, 2011

Thanks is a Special Occasion

we are thankful for...

This month's Life is a Special Occasion theme, sponsored by Hallmark, is about Thanksgiving and family time. For me, growing up, family was everything -- our vacations were to see family, and every holiday was spent with family. 

As far back as I can remember, Thanksgiving was always at my grandparents' house until recent years. I mostly cared about my Mommal's mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts (which I now make.) It usually ended with everyone stuffed and lazy on the couch to watch a movie on TV and look through the sale ads for the day after shopping (we still do this, too!) The Target and Michael's ads are my fave.

After we got married, we shared Thanksgiving weekend with both of our families- usually spending the actual day with my parents and that Saturday with Jeff's parents. I always bring the same thing every time: roasted Brussels sprouts and fresh green beans with toasted almonds. Sometimes we've even celebrated with all our families (my parents, in-laws, including all the brothers and sisters-in laws and their parents!) but as the years have gone on and we've added so many extra people to our families, we've gone back to celebrating where we can fit.

hubby does the dishes
Thanksgiving 2009

Jeff has become everyone's Favorite because - no matter who's house we're at - he usually washes all the dishes while I read to the kids on the couch. He's awesome.

2003 was the first year I was to host at our house -- turkey in the oven and everything! --and Noah had his first seizure. We spent Thanksgiving in the hospital. My mom brought us a plate. I don't remember eating anything. It has taken me several years to embrace the holiday with warmth and good memories. But I can finally talk and write about it again without panicking. A very big thing to be thankful about! And PS this year we celebrate Noah being seizure-free for seven years now. SEVEN! THANKFUL!

put it in the pumpkin

A few years ago we started a precious tradition. As we prepared for the meal, Noah marveled at a ceramic pumpkin with a lid on the sofa table. He busied himself with cutting tiny slips of paper and announced, "hey guys, let's write down what we're thankful for and put it in the pumpkin and read them all later!"

And so we did (and still do.)

Later we read them aloud and are thankful for each other, our Thanksgiving meal, for chocolate and coffee (OF COURSE) and for our jobs and beds. We smile and we love and we thank. I can't wait to hear what everyone writes this year.

I never have the heart to empty the pumpkin so each year we add to the thankful reminders. I look forward to this very much.

Last year I gathered everyone around and read An Awesome Book of Thanks by Dallas Clayton. I plan to have the kids read it to everyone this year. I love how we've combined old traditions with new... it is a wonderful harmony.

What is Thanksgiving like for you? Do you hold on to traditions from your childhood? What new rituals have you added?

Hallmark is compensating me for participating in the Life Is A Special Occasion campaign, and they are encouraging us all to embrace new traditions- don't miss their big in-store Holiday Open House this weekend November 4-6!

Sign up for their promotional emails (you might even see me in there!) by following this link. I am partnering with Hallmark to spotlight how Life Is A Special Occasion  for the rest of this year. As always, all content, memories, and opinions expressed are my own.