chicago in a day

our trip to chicago treated us mighty fine last week, even if we were only in town for a day! 
max has seen all different parts of the city but we had never taken him to the navy pier to eat sweets and watch sail boats and ooh and ahh at the skyline behind us. and so that's what we did!
oh how he loved it...with all the people watching and "beach birds" and tallest tall buildings all around. we rode up in the ferris wheel and squealed at how lucky we were to have such beautiful weather and such a fantastic view. we walked and walked and legoland-ed and ate way too much mcdonalds. it was a true vacation.
and such a treat to get to pack up the car and be with my guys on a quick adventure...seeing sights and smelling different air. it was just what i needed.

hotel motel

sorry for the absence! 
we've been forced away for the past few days while the floors downstairs are getting sealed and finished. we've been cooped up in a hotel down the road...eating way too much free popcorn, watching pbs into the wee hours of the morning, and smelling of chlorine and hotel pool. 
(well, max does all my delusion i thought maybe one of my old swimming suits would fit and i ended up trapped in the bathroom with a one piece stuck around my belly)

sending lots of love your way and fingers crossed we'll be able to go back home tomorrow!


cape hatteras

our week away in cape hatteras was as blissful and quiet and restful as any time i've ever had. it was the perfect end of summer escape.
vacations usually come with a stuffed itinerary...things to do and see and taste and smell and not enough time for any of it. and often times we come home feeling more exhausted then before we left. but this one, this one was a laid back kind of trip. we fell into a beachy way of living from day one...where the only plan was to just sit and be and the only routine was sunscreen and a late lunch.
we hid away in a giant sandcastle of a house on the beach with matt's dad and step mom, brothers, aunt and uncle and cousins. matt's family is wonderful with traditions! they've been coming to cape hatteras for years and years. being all together became our own little beach commune...with homemade dinner every night around a large table, late night bonfires on the beach, and plenty of hands taking care of the little ones.
we stayed on the beach all week long, leaving only for quick grocery store runs and for matt to take me to the hatteras lighthouse. i had never been up in a lighthouse before! 
the rest of the time was spent under an umbrella with sand in our toes and salty wet hair. there were lots of book reading and knitting and friendship bracelet making...bocce ball and kite flying and poker games. i collected seashells like a 5 year old...they were like amazing little treasures each one! i couldn't pass them up. days after being back, i'm still finding them in random pockets. 

i woke up early a few mornings to be alone on the walk and paint and think. painting by the ocean is something i remember reading out of a children's book when i was was about a girl who painted on the sand dunes. i've always had an ache to try it. i found the perfect spot on the top of a dune and 10 year old katie was beside herself! it was just like the book...painting on a sand dune...listening to the ocean move...getting bits of sand stuck in the paint and washing out the brushes in ocean water.

growing up i've always been a little bit timid about the ocean. it's so alive...constantly moving and pulling. i got such a kick out of seeing how fearless max was with it. he took to the salty water like a shiny fish...darting around, getting carried up in the waves. he shark fished with the older boys and effortlessly boogie boarded on waves that sent me crashing into the ocean floor (i've got the scrapes and broken tailbone to prove it). 
 it's a hoot finding out your son is a real beach bum at heart. and i guess we all kind of were.
it did my heart some good to start this new summer tradition with max and matt.
new memories of ghost crab hunting and sandcastle smashing...moving to a slower rhythm and being with family in one of the most beautiful places around.
now that's how you end a summer!

p.s. keep your fingers crossed for max. he starts his new school tomorrow! i'm a bit of a ball of nerves for him.
first grade, make way!

easy breezy

 i woke up this morning in my own bed...hidden bits of stowaway sand in our sheets and the sound of waves still crashing in my mind.
we had a wonderful week away! cape hatteras was even more beautiful than i could have dreamed up.
there are lots of photos to sort through and unpacking to do...and baby boy starts his first day of first grade at a new school this week! a busy last few days of summer. which is good...i'm just the worst at long goodbyes.
i'll be back tomorrow with way too many beach pictures and stories...shark fishing, ghost crabs, boogie boarding injuries and sand stuck in the ungodliest of places. 

happy happy monday, loves!

sway me like the sea

happy friday, loves!
we're currently on the road on our way to cape hatteras. it's been years and years since i've been able to take max on such a trip. i think getting to visit the ocean seems like the kindest way to say goodbye to our summer. and i'm planning on soaking up every last bit.
one of my favorite things about road trips is the music (and we'll need lots of it for this long long trip). 
i made a little mix tape for the ode to warm sunshine and the sea and sweet sweet summer. 
 ...something to hum to myself while max is burying me in the sand.

take good care of yourselves while i'm gone!
i'm going to try and gather enough seashells and souvenirs for every last one of us! and i've lined up a real special group of ladies to fill in for me while we're away...all dishing on the best parts of their summer.
please make them feel at home...spread the welcome mat!
 have a wonderful weekend, everyone!
be back in about a week or so...
north carolina or bust!

cloud gazing

our busiest week is almost over. little max spent his last summer week away with his pops and tonight he will be home with oh my do i miss those cheeks!
tomorrow we leave for one last summer hurrah...a family trip to the ocean...before school begins. i'm packing along some paper and paints for the beach...i've always wanted to hide out in the sand and paint the waves. i'm beside myself for this last bit of quiet time with my boys...but i shake my fists at shark week! why oh why did we watch every night when we were planning on visiting the ocean?

i hope everyone's thursday has been a happy one! the weather here in ohio smells like fall when the wind blows. it is good...oh so good...for the soul. 

and hey! hey!
the winner of the shabby apple feather necklace is.....
congratulations, leila!
email me ( with your information!

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.


waves and sand

dear lake michigan, 
they tell us you're not the ocean, but we're convinced otherwise.

happy friday, loves!
i'll be back monday with lots of big fish stories and pictures to match.
i can't wait to sit and catch up on what you all have been up to this week!


a boat beneath a sunny sky

we're packing up and headed north for a week of fishing in michigan. 
i've never really been fishing an entire week of it has me a bit nervous. 
but i'm anxious to see what kind of fisherman gal i turn out to be! who knows...maybe i'll be a decent one. and at the very least, max and i can sit on the boat and give names and back stories to the grubs. 

i was going to take the week off of blogging, but i decided to stock pile a few odds and ends to share with you while i'm away...some camera and photo editing information, a closer look at my tattoos, and some of my summer favorite people and places and eats.

happy weekend, friends...and happy last week of july! 
wish me luck. i'm off to go make some cut off jean shorts. ack!