PHOEBE'S RAINBOW SPARKLE UNICORN PARTY


Hi friends! Happy summer! We celebrated Max and Phoebe this weekend as they turned 12 and 4 on Friday and Saturday. My July babies. It's always a bit of a whirlwind and I was thankful that Max just wanted to go play paint ball with friends this year. He's truly 12...dubstep music and cat videos and perfecting the art of wearing socks with sandals. He's such a light-hearted blessing of a guy and we're going to soak up this last year of him being just a kid. No teenagers yet!

Phoebe girl was all about birthdaying this year. She knew back in February that she wanted a Rainbow Sparkle Unicorn birthday and didn't budge until the day before her birthday when she decided she wanted to scrap the whole thing and just have a balloon party. We did both. Everyone came over Saturday and we ate food and listened to funny music and doted on our girl. And there were ponies. Ponies! It's one of those things I've always wanted to try for a party and it ended up being hilarious and awkward and totally making the kid's day.

Phoebe at 4 is sugar and spice with a disdain for underwear and a flair for the dramatic. She sings with conviction and wears heels and a purse before leaving the house. She's confident and funny with a preternatural love for horses and marshmallows and lemonade. She's kind and giving and tells me that we're best friends and I know it to be true.

I hope you all are having a nice and simple summer. My heart is heavy with the world right now. It's been good to hunker down with my family and show them love and take these moments to teach our little ones about hope and goodness and action. Everyday action.

xoxo

Most decorations were found at Sweet Lulu, Fawne Shoppe, boxes and tablecloth from IKEA, Unicorn head from Target, Phoebe's dress is from Alice and Ames. Unicorn birthday invitations at Bonjour Berry, organic cotton candy found here, the pink punch flavor is so good!!

Design Mom Feature


It's been forever and a day since I've been here...I almost forgot how to log in. haha. Ack! 
I hope this finds you all well and if you're reading this, thank you for sticking with me! I didn't intend on being away so long but here we are. 

I got an email from Gabrielle over at Design Mom a few weeks ago to see if I would like to contribute to her Living With Kids feature and I couldn't pass it up. 

I shared pictures of our house these days and some thoughts on love and divorce, living in a rougher neighborhood, steering clear of blogging and social media, and of course, living and decorating with kids.


xo

OH CHRISTMAS TREE


November 2015- Country Pines Tree Farm, New Lebanon OH

Feeling grateful for traditions, old and new, and the comfort of funny rituals this time of year--sappy pine fingers and top of your lungs Christmas song singing...praying the tree doesn't fall off the top of the car on the drive home and keeping fingers crossed that these little ones will remember the year we cut down the prickliest tree of ever and how a Mariah Carey Christmas song can always, always save even the lousiest-feeling day.

Sending love to you all, hoping your Thanksgiving was full and your Holidays to come are bright as can be!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN


Phoebe talks about "Mingos" (Flamingos) at least twice a day, everyday. We're not sure where or how she got so attached to them, but I'm guessing it has to do with the fact that they're very very pink. I spruced up a store-bought flamingo costume with lots of scalloped fabric and hot glue and we met my sister Amy and nephew Juju for tricks and treats.

Maxy decided he has officially reached spoilsport-age and is too old to dress up. And I'm sorry to say I've been taking the news like a real sad sack! Change is always strange, but especially so when traditions or stuffing your kids into funny costumes is involved. 

Nevertheless, it was a hilarious night with these two little ones. It turns out flamingo Phoebe is a candy mooch who, when left to her own devices, refused to leave a porch without a second or third helping...and poor Juju at one point was found banging himself up against a tree in some sort of robot, short-circuited, candy stupor. It was wild and funny and stressful in the kind of endearing way that only 3 year old's can get away with. Just as it should be.

Happy happy Halloween, friends!

PUMPKIN PATCHING


Last leaves are falling and greyer skies have settled in. There's a whole lot of beautiful in all of the rot and the gloom and way the cold is starting to cut--when the ending and beginning of seasons meld together bringing about a comforting jumble of melancholy and anticipation. I swear this time of year does it to me every time.

We've been trying to squeeze in all the last bits of all the fall things before Monday comes and Christmas music starts to play on the radio and I start the slow burn of wearing my family out with insentient Christmasing.  Until then, we're lighting our jack o' lanterns and hot gluing costumes and standing still, even if just for a moment, to take in this final push of fall-time in Ohio.

TINY DANCER


Phoebe isn't a real "heart on your sleeve" type person...she's a little timid and guarded and shy with her emotions or with new experiences and people. It's a funny side of her that is made even more beautiful when you see her letting go and giving in and you know it's true joy. Yesterday was her first ballet class...and that girl was all in! Squeals and shrieks and dancing in the street with for real abandon and confidence and happiness.

We signed her up with the Dayton Ballet. It's a treat to get to be downtown and take the gold elevator up with the pro dancers...to be surrounded by so much history and costumes in such a beautiful building like the Victoria. The whole thing makes my heart zing zing! Not to mention little pink leotards and hair wrapped tight in buns. But the icing is our girl...stepping out of her comfort zone in tiny soft pink ballet shoes and finding what makes her heart zing zing on its own.

LILY DEL SOAP CO. x PENCILBOX [GIVEAWAY]


I recently did some branding work with Lily Del Soap Co. They're using my "Laura" painting on their packaging and website and it's really something to see the finished product...to see the new life this painting has been given, from your homes in print form to an accent on beautiful soaps! I get the biggest kick out of all of it.

Lily Del was just featured in the August issue of Southern Living Magazine and was picked as a nominee for Martha Stewart's American Made 2015 Awards. They are kindly offering a bubble bath giveaway in your choice of scent to one of you! (I just ordered the Caramel & Tobacco!)

To enter, just go "LIKE" their facebook page. They'll draw a winner tomorrow! Best of luck!


Product photos courtesy of Lily Del / Photographer Stephen DeVries

BACK TO SCHOOL


The kids started back to school this week...preschool and 5th grade (BIG!). This is Max's last year going to our Montessori school. We're gearing up for big changes to come for him and enjoying these last bits of he and Phoebe being together at the same school. It's not a bad gig to have your big brother/best friend looking out for you everyday.

We've been fumbling a bit trying to get back into a routine...it's been a real circus around here. One with flying clothes and shoes too big...disappearing lunches and death-grip tearful goodbyes. Needless to say, we are dragging our feet out of summer. And while we're waiting for that old-hat feeling to settle back in, it's helping to practice the art of stepping back and letting my kids do and be and see what sticks on their own. Knowing that as much as they need my advice and presence and to have my act together they also need me to just be okay with the mismatched clothes they picked out...and to be able to walk away during the tearful goodbyes because we both know she'll be fine the second I'm gone. 

And when all else fails, ice cream after school is the healer of all things. And weekends. Weekends are welcomed too.

By The Seashore


Hatteras Island, N.C

We spent our last week of Summer vacation by the ocean with family...spending our everyday hunkered down in the sand...dipping toes in cool water and equal parts hiding pale skin from the sun and trying to convince Phoebe Girl to get into the pool. There were seashell hunts by day and big family dinners by night...sore thighs from scaling the lighthouse (Max came with me this year!) and lots of moments to breathe in salty air and feel forever thankful for another beautiful summer together.

FLOODWATERS II


Fletcher's Pond- Hillman, MI

 We took our annual trip up north to fish last month for Matt and his twin brother Todd's birthdays. It was peaceful and calm and comforting in the way only traditions or rituals can do to you. You step foot on the ground and breathe in the air and your mind and spirit go onto instant autopilot. You fall hard into the rhythm of the water...the foggy still mornings and brilliant napping afternoons and starry deep nights. It's such an unassuming place but I don't have any trouble romanticizing it one bit.

Max came home with whopper fish stories and tales of getting caught in the storm of all storms, just him and Matt and their tiny boat. Phoebe learned to work a reel and wouldn't pass up any chances to touch fish scales or swing a lure into your back. We added a new guy to the family and brought him along with us. His name is Wilbur and he's been the sweetest puppy you could ask for...a real fine fit. 

Ice Cream Party


Our Phoebe girl is bonkers for ice cream...with sprinkles...always with sprinkles. For her birthday this year we threw her a little afternoon ice cream party at home with family. Loads of ice cream and sweet things to put on top, with soda floats and malt shop music on the side. It was a nice way to celebrate our beautiful growing girl...3 going on 13.

Happy days


Time and moments seem to be racing these days. And just when we start to settle in the axis shifts just enough to keeps us on our toes. A kind reminder to flow in and out of growth and change like cool running water...to be present in a moment and to move on to next without lingering too long. Where nothing is too precious but everything has meaning. I keep telling Matt that these are our happy days...and so, much of it has been spent with my camera down and my spirit lifted. I also got really addicted to this season on The Bachelorette. haha. Hmph.
 
Our summer babies turned another year older last month (3 and 11! ack!). Our shoulders are red from the sun and regular bedtime has become a story I hardly remember anymore. We're slowly packing for our week away at the ocean...my favorite way to send off the summer and get some rest before the school year begins. Phoebe talks daily about plans of finding seashells and somehow I think I've raised her right. 

Here's hoping this finds everyone well! As much as I've found a lot of peace with the space not blogging has given me...I've truly missed you all. I've got pictures from Phoebe's birthday and our fishing trip up north that I've been meaning to come and sit down here...fingers crossed this week.
 
 Love and love and happy summer to you!

Things made new

Easter/Spring 2015

And just like that we've fallen into our springtime rhythm...greens and blossoms and dirt under the nails as if it never snowed and we never lost our breath from the cold. Phoebe girl plants bare toes onto rainy grass and takes off like a caged being on the lam. Muddy wellies and hooded things replace heavy coats and scarves and we take in gulps of fresh air feeling forever grateful for all things made new again.

When the cold wind blows



My favorite part of late winter...giving in to that deep stillness in the air and the forced slow down of time and energy. These seasons are a blessing--cold air and the rumblings of spring light up even the darkest corners of a hibernating mind. And like clockwork, it makes me want to tear down walls and paint all the things and stick a million donuts in my mouth all at the same time. Comfort and patience, scheming, being, doing.

Happy happy February, friends!