strawberry picking

the strawberry fields are finally open for picking. it's a tradition that i like to keep...remembering how much i loved going with my mom and sisters when i was a girl. my sister amy and her boys came along and despite max going to sit in the car 5 minutes into nephew juju trance eating berries...and bee putting everything but strawberries in our bucket (dirt, crayons, her baby doll)...we made a memory! and nothing is sweeter than that, especially when it comes with a bucket full of strawberries warm from the sun on the side.

320 sycamore

when i was a little girl i ached for a fancy wooden dollhouse. and i'm sure my mom ached to give me one. but it never was in the cards...and instead we girls made do with homemade shoe box houses and pictures of living room sets ripped out of JC Penney catalogs. and looking back, those ragamuffin dollhouses we made were fine as can be!

now 20 years later, i've been given the most amazing gift of a house from matt's grandma. one that was started but never finished. a beautiful fixer-upper for me and bee (and max!) to work on together. so much of it reminds me of the old granville house in "it's a wonderful life". the abandoned house with the broken windows from wishing rocks...lassoing the moon type wishing rocks.

it came just in time for christmas and 10 year old katie is pleased as punch! 
(and she told me to do a room in catalog pictures just for old time's sake)

apple of their eye

my beautiful sister amy and her two guys are expecting a little baby boy come early decemeber. a christmas baby!
amy and i had always talked about wanting to be pregnant together...or to have babies close in age who could get into trouble and mischief together like we did. so this little fella is a real treat!
(and amy and i got to be woefully pregnant together for a few months)

sunday we all gathered up together to celebrate amy and nate and their austin and baby on the way. 
there is something really amazing about sharing a meal with a community of people that love you the most...about celebrating life in all its richness and fullness and lovely surprises.

plus there were whoopie pies and rootbeer floats...

i cant tell you how excited i am for excited all us girls are!
this little guy is loved and loved already. and there's nothing quite as special as getting to be an aunt...getting to see your sisters as mamas and watching your babies grow up together. 

every bit is a gift...

swim in the sun

"in summer the landscape opens up and draws us in, coming alive with mysteries....there are whispers of adventure afoot"

 nothing says summer quite like river rock adventuring...skipping stones and sinking toes in cool ohio mud and floating weightless with a steady summer current....throwing caution to a warm wind and jumping into the water dressed for it...ready or not.

 today we soaked up and celebrated the new beginnings of july...and perfect timing with the summer issue of kinfolk coming out today! 

happy happy july, friends!

a mother's note to her max

dear max, 
i've never known such happiness as i've known being your mama. you're just about as wild as can be and i'm loving every second of watching you grow up into a young man. you've made my life a real hoot...a healthy challenge...a joy and an honor having such a boy. and good golly, i can't wait to see what kind of big brother you're going to be! we're all pretty lucky to have each other, you know?

i love you 5x30, such sweet friend!  

and a happy happy mother's day weekend to all of you mamas and mamas to be one day and mama figures to somebody really is something to be celebrated! 

aside from some time spent with my guys, sunday i'm going to soak up as much as i can of my favorite mom's in all the own and my 3 big sisters. anything good i've done as max's mama has been because of those gals....


jelly belly

yesterday was such a lovely day filled with lots of sweets, church and good singing, a easter bunny boy in a fedora and forever untucked shirt, egg hunts and 4 easter baskets and lots of cackling and shrieking with sisters.
it's always a hoot having the family together...getting to all be together at the house we grew up in...running around after our little ones in the yard. 
easter is good to us like that...

hoping everyone had a beautiful weekend!

there is much and much to be thankful for...minus the easter candy stomachaches. 

happy monday!

thirteen shmirteen

my sweetest (and 1st) nephew is turning 13 this week! i told him he wasn't allowed to but he seems to be doing it anyhow. 
i can't believe how quickly the time goes! our guy at 13 is quick as a whip and the funniest kid on the block... i'm a forever proud aunt!

 amy and nate are throwing austin a party tonight! i made him weird masks, like party nosferatu, party lemonhead from adventure time, party sloth in a suit, and party mr. meowgi (austin's cat), so all his favorite friends could come along. 

i've always wanted to try making a surprise ball for someone after seeing it on heidi's blog a few years ago...this seemed like the perfect occasion! lots of sweets and funny odds and ends and some money rolled up into a crate paper ball.

oh to be 13 again! 
ugh...or maybe not. haha. 

hoping your weekend is going real swell! 


continuing traditions is one of the things i look forward to most this time of year. 
my favorite is sneaking out with my sisters and mom for our annual first bit of christmas shopping. we've managed to keep this tradition for years now...meeting in tipp city for the town's winter gathering, where all of the shops open up all wrapped and decorated for christmas. there are carolers and santa (this year's santa had the most amazing barrel-curled bangs. ack!) and a horse-drawn carriage. 

every year i end up coming home with new christmas bits for the house...and every year i can't resist putting just a few up. after all, it would be silly to box them up for a week or two, right? right!

oh, how i love the holidays!
i can hardly believe thanksgiving is next week. 
this is a good thing though, because christmas shopping with my girls did nothing to satisfy my decorating itch. 

p.s. we (read: i) couldn't help ourselves. 
max and i definitely cheated and started decorating anyways....

i hope your weekend was a happy one! 

apple tree farm

i'm sure by now you all are a bit tired of me gushing on and on about fall...but will you indulge me one last post? and i promise to not jump into christmas too soon! but i have to be music is already being played on the radio here! 
(which is a dangerous thing for a gal like me with very little holiday self control)
and if i'm being completely honest, i'd have to tell you that i listen to christmas music all year round, especially if i'm feeling down. it's my happy place. 
but this is supposed to be about fall....

my favorite place to visit this time of year is the apple tree farm!
we've been taking the little ones there for years and years...when they were actually little ones! 
matt and i took max and my nephew and niece this past sunday for a bit of last minute fall romping in hay, getting lost in corn mazes, squealing at baby goats, bumpy hayrides, and warm donuts.

it's been such a lovely fall!
and i'm so happy we got to squeeze in one last bit of fall goodness at the farm.

p.s. besides being a mama, is there anything better than getting to be an aunt? especially when they share your reddest red hair!

pie in the sky

after school milkshake and pie dates are my favorite!
amy and i took her son austin and his little friend out yesterday afternoon. those boys are a real hoot!
p.s. i rekindled my love for peanut butter milkshakes. i'll keep you posted as to whether this is a good thing or not. 

have the happiest weekend, friends. 

the fishing hole

it's been a tradition for matt's mama's family to travel north to hillman, michigan to fish at fletcher's pond once a year. they've been doing it for decades now...starting when his mama was a little girl. this was me and max's first year going...and our very first fishing trip ever.
i was a little bit nervous, not knowing what kind of fisherman i would be. but the week turned out to be so much more than was seeing sunrises and sunsets, family dinners around the table, evening hammock naps by the water, getting dirty without a care, watching my little guy gain a whole new confidence and sense of self. but more than anything it was about being together. totally present with one another.
i could go for another week of that soon soon soon.
matt and his twin brother todd were the best fishing and max were real pros by the end of the week. or anyways, we had a wonderful time. even if we did catch more weeds than fish.
this is my northern pike! my very first catch.
i was going to name it and give it a back story until i finished reeling it in...and realized that pike don't like names. or back stories. they only like having scary teeth and squealing the worst sounding squeals and violently flopping about.
(and yes, that is a complete over-exaggeration...but this is my one and only big fish
the incredible mr. limpet (i named him anyways) was too small to be a keeper so we kindly threw him back...back to live at coney island and help win WWII.
don knotts would surely not approve.

it was a beautiful trip...northern michigan is really something!
the stars are bigger than any i've ever seen before.
and the world gained a couple of new fisherman...

p.s. max wanted to tell you all a little bit about his trip!

from mr. max...dictated but not read.
matt teached me how to cast his pole. and i did learn how to cast his pole. when i went on the boat on my last day i caught a bass. and me and matt and todd and me and my mom we were so excited that i caught my first bass! and my mom caught a northern pike. and matt caught two bass. and i missed the place that i spent the day with. i can't wait to go there again next year. and i hope everybody that's already living there has a great time.


gold coast

we're back safe and sound from our michigan getaway.
thank you all so so much for the well-wishing!
it was a beautiful, peaceful, fill your lungs with good air, lay back and rest kind of week away...everything a vacation should be! lots of driving, eating new foods...taking in new sights, sleeping in bunk beds, and sunburnt shoulders.
monday, max and i kicked off our vacation with a day trip to new buffalo with my amy and austin. the beaches there are as lovely as brown sugar...and the water and waves of lake michigan had us all fooled. it's as close to the ocean as a midwestern gal can get...

happy happy monday, loves!
and hello to you, august! you always seem to show up a little bit too early...but we're going to keep carrying on anyway.
i'll be back tomorrow with pictures from our fishing trip. 
here's the good news...i caught my first fish! 
the bad news? it screamed at me. hissed really. either way i turned into a real girl about it.


sweet sue

bing crosby- sweet sue, just you

Saturday we celebrated my beautiful mama's 60th birthday.
friends and family...husband and daughters and grandbabies got together to love and dote on one of the most spectacular ladies ever known to be.
it was a wonderful party.
we showered her with lots of love, some "old age" teasing, and a tower of glazed donuts.
all of these summer birthdays around here have kept a steady stream of sweets and cake in my life!
but you'll hear no complaints from this gal.
happy birthday, my girl.
you are loved and loved and loved some more.
and i tell you, i feel absolutely spoiled for having such a mother and friend. 

 hoping all of your weekends were good ones!
have a lovely monday, dears!

birthday suit

max's baseball birthday party was a real hit!
(ugh. no pun intended..haha)
it was a perfect summer night with good food (hot dogs and shish kabobs grilled by matt and his dad//bags of popcorn and caramel corn//and a table full of sweets), funny music (thank you andrews sisters...i'll never get tired of seeing little ones run around to old music), and amazing friends and family.
we sat around and watched the kids scoot about, playing backyard baseball, and dodging stray balls until the sun went down.

did you see jackie robinson hit that ball?- buddy johnson

i love planning max's birthday parties.
and this one was my most favorite!

{here are a few details for those of you who are into this sort of stuff:}
we made a little concession stand awning out of ikea fabric and tent poles that we had laying around // a photo cut out board from this image //cherry vanilla, peanut butter, and dark chocolate old timey mustaches on a stick// felt pennants on dowel rods and white paper pennant banners (ran through my sewing machine with red thread) to hang outside// i found vintage baseball card images online that i printed off on a thick cardstock for max's friends...and made little canvas drawstring bags for them to stuff with a baseball and sweets to take home.

it was a perfect party for our baseball-loving little guy.

thank you all so much for such sweet birthday loving for him on friday! i can't wait for when he's grown and able to go back to this blog and see how many wonderful people were apart of his childhood.

i have a few more party pictures on my facebook:
(p.s. a few credits from my shopping list: cupcake liners, popcorn bags and paper straws are from hey yo yo //birthday invitations by spaceships and laser beams // bullseye ball toss game from hobby lobby// mason jar juice box idea from pinterest via a little sussy // cake pops from sweets by jenny edwards )