a morning at the zoo




peekaboo barn


zoo mural


giraffe mama and baby






mama on the tree


end of the harvest


lemons galore!


banjo man


pretend play


morning reading


zuccini muffins



pink baby pumpkins


afternoon light

A weekend filled with Oatmeal Pancakes (my Grandmother’s special recipe) and chai tea.

Early morning zoo visits in the “pack a pack” and seeing the giraffe babies and Mama.

The end of summer garden bounty was collected. The garden cleared out for new winter plans.

An abundance of lemons and oranges and hot peppers were picked and put out for neighbors to bring home if they so liked. It was fun watching people walk or drive by and smile when they saw the “free” sign.

Banjo’s were practiced.

Early morning books were read to Char Char as she sat close to the heater and to Ellie.

Pretend play with stuffed vegetables and strainers.

The most amazing zucchini muffins were made again.

Pumpkins we grew ourselves (not that well) were picked and explored and then given to “pink baby” to rest her tired dolly body against (and yes, that is a hand-sewn rainbow jumper Pink Baby is sporting. Her regular attire was sadly splashed with baby pee and so we had to come up with transitional outfit. I think it suits her just fine).

The light shone just right to remind us that even though it’s hot and dry, the daylight hours are changing, signaling that fall is here.


A quick, but glorious weekend! How was yours?

– joining in with the lovely Amanda over at The Habit!



Making + Listening + Soulful September

a new project

in the process



a felt board for Ellie

MAKING: Inspired by a friend’s fireplace turned felt board, I realized it was high time I made a felt board for Ellie. We don’t have much space for an extra-large one at the moment, but I came across a piece of lightweight wood that fit perfectly in Ellie’s toy corner in the living room. I staple-gunned the felt to the wood and nailed it to the wall. Easy peasy. However, I have become obsessed with making little felt story people now. Any extra time has been devoted to coming up with new little felt guys. I started with “slippery fish” (an old preschool tune perfect for toddlers to follow along) and I’m working on the characters from Polar bear, Polar bear, since Ellie is very into these stories at the moment. It’s been a fun new project and I’m excited to start using the felt board for new ways to stimulate and entertain my busy 13 month old!

banjo music

LISTENING: Ellie and I took a walk to our local record store  this week, in search of some inspiration for Daddy’s new-found love for anything Banjo. We’ve been enjoying a lot of new (new to us) bluegrass these days and looking forward to hearing Daddy play more tunes as well.

As for Soulful September... this is the last week of my soulful september. I’ve learned a lot about balance and what I can and cannot fit into my days right now with a 13 month old at my heels. I do want to do more of these types of challenges. I think it keeps my soul healthy and even though at times I found it frustrating that I couldn’t get everything done in a day, it was helpful to have a goal in mind to keep me motivated.

Reading: Jeff passed this piece along by Steve Martin about his banjo playing journey which I found an interesting read.

Moving: Never got past the walking every day and doing my physical therapy exercises (almost) every day. But I’m calling it a success, because I did get outside moving.

Writing: I think starting Amanda’s writing course on the 30th is definitely a good move. I’ll be keeping my writing going even after Soulful September and learning and growing through this anticipated course.

Meditating: This is the one that has fallen by the way side more times than not. It’s just so very difficult to get any “quiet” time when you are caring for a toddler all day and night. I want to work on this and as Ellie get’s older, I’m hoping I can even get back to my yoga practice outside the house every once in a while to really focus on my meditation practices.

-joining Dawn for Making and Listening (and ending my own Soulful September).

Just Write: That Magical Music

It’s like magic for me, watching my loved ones play an instrument. The notes float by like Disney birds singing a song. It lifts me up and brings a smile to my face each time I hear a chord or a melody created. I suppose it stems from growing up with a Dad who taught himself to play the guitar. There were always weekends full of lazy day guitar strumming. Tunes I would hum from childhood to adulthood, sticking with me like girl scout badges, proud to wear the melodies of Pat Methany, Vince Guarldi, Billie Holiday, The Beatles and so many others. “My Dad plays the guitar”, I would tell my friends with a boastful smile. They thought it was cool. He was hip. His music was like magic and happy days.

My brother played guitar too and clarinet.

Sounds of each instrument molded into my being.

The low quack of the clarinet, the buzz of the reed against his mouth. Each thick note lingered in the air with horn-like quality, exclaiming how music mattered. The quicker pace of my brothers guitar playing, making way for stronger strumming, heavier music my ears sometimes left behind. I told my friends,  “My brother plays the guitar”. They thought he was dreamy. They went to see him play in smokey clubs in Los Angeles. The music was strong and smelled of vodka and too many cheap beers. But sometimes he would strum a tune familiar. I would smile and the magic would make my heart light again.

I decided on the flute. Girly. Closest to my soprano voice.  Something I never learned to love. But magic was sometimes there when my notes would help others bring harmony together. It was mostly lovely when playing with others. Christmas carols played on high. The uneasy vibratos of young women finding their voice through metal-plated keys. Slightly off-key but always with heart. Years I gave, half of myself to the flute. Wanting to be great at playing an instrument just like the men in my life, but not having the drive or love for the instrument to become great like them.

6. He must be able to play an instrument. My journal outlines the perfect husband.

He picks up the banjo and starts to pick. I love that there’s an instrument in my home. I love the sound it makes. It’s magic. It makes me smile. He spends two days reading and learning and practicing the notes over and over. He tells me he will learn Pretty Flowers for me. I get weak in the knees and decide to marry him.  All over again. I haven’t the pleasure yet of knowing the way the banjo sounds deep and live. I know I will soon. Right now it’s the pluck, pluck, pluck of the strings and a distant familiar sound from music I’ve heard. The banjo makes me want to live free on a farm, hanging clothes on the line, smiling at children running around in the summer grass. The banjo makes me think of home-brew and sun teas and lazy weekends, singing. Memories to hopefully come. Memories just a dream right now. He sits in the chair plucking away and Ellie toddles over to watch him. She smiles at me and then looks up to her Daddy making music, at the magic Daddy is making.

– joining Heather for Just Write. (An exercise in free writing your ordinary and extraordinary moments). 

A New Dress From Gramma

My mom the quilter made Ellie’s first birthday dress, after I showed her a picture of one I had pinned on Pinterest. It was such a great all around dress, easy to get on and off, easy for Ellie to move in and just all around adorable… I told her it would be so very nice if Ellie had more of the same dress. This weekend, my wonderful mother whipped up another one for this walking girl of mine and of course there had to be a little photo shoot and of course, I have to share it here…

happy girl

ellie all over

sweet baby




cutie pie

waving 1

waving 2


Thank you Gramma!



topol park

the bridge

pushing the stroller


peekaboo ellie


we brought home a banjo

yay banjo!

more books

dinner at grammas

homecooked meal

liberty blue

d and b

tired baby

A pretty low-key weekend again. We are all still getting healthy from a head cold that made its way through the house, so we decided to take it easy. Lots of reading of board books around these parts. I do declare, we have a lover of books around these parts. We did however head out to the next town over to bring back a special early Christmas present back for Jeff. A banjo. He’s been wanting one for a while now and we found one this weekend at a price we couldn’t pass up. He’s been practicing all weekend and loving it! And I have to say, it’s always been on my “perfect husband list” to marry a man who played an instrument. Now, hopefully in a few months I can cross that off the list and declare him “the perfect husband”.

We spent the morning, after picking up the banjo in town, walking around and milling about. Ellie’s new favorite thing is  pushing her umbrella stroller around (she LOVES umbrella strollers and ONLY umbrella strollers. Don’t try to stick her in anything else, unless it’s Gramma and Grandpa’s push car).

Sunday was spent reading and relaxing and then a special dinner at my parents house. A lovely dinner, a lovely walk afterward and a lovely weekend over all.

How was your weekend spent?

-joining Amanda at The Habit!

Portrait Project


sick sleeper kitten

eloise: you had a head cold this week so portrait pictures were few and far between. This shot was a rare one too because of how light a sleeper you are. I can never capture you sleeping. I was able to this week, during your afternoon nap, after propping you up on the pillow (to make it easier for you to breathe through that stuffy little nose of yours).

-joining jodi for the 52 project!