The birdies. 30-31/52

A portrait of my birdies, once a week, every week, in 2014. Or every couple weeks… and maybe more than a picture of each. Too many good ones to choose from this time around.

Phoebe Jane on the bay.


Wren Sabina, always the first one in.


photo 1(4)

Wren Sabina flying her plane in the stormy dunes.

photo 5(1)

Phoebe Jane trying to run from the 4(2)


Wren Sabina and cousin Griffin.  IMG_7896

The girls together at the Detroit Zoo. This is the requisite Detroit Zoo photograph…


And a couple more from the Detroit Zoo. It rained, but we had a great time anyway.

photo 2(4)

photo 1(5)

the birdie swims!


I couldn’t be prouder of Wren right now! She ditched the floaty this weekend and started swimming. The process of watching her gain confidence and keep kicking and paddling and gain more confidence and start swimming was so wonderful. Swimming is one of my true loves and to be able to share that with my girls is incredible. Wren’s proud smile says it all. It’s a whole new era. We’re loving it!



summer loving

I’ve been really enjoying my birdies lately. I love Wren at 5 and Phoebe at 2.5. Fun, sweet, crazy times. The girls are having more fun together, laughing, playing, goofing around. They even have an inside joke or two. Love me some birdies.

Thanks to Judy for the sweet capture on a July afternoon.

photo 4(1)

Summer 2(2)

The Birdies 29/52

A portrait of my birdies, once a week, every week, in 2014.

Where did the week go? Zoom! We were in the midst of Cherry Festival here in Traverse City and now we are enjoying a quieter summer again. Aaaahh.

Wren and I had fun visiting a new place in Traverse City – the laundromat near Tom’s 14th street. Loved the mural and the chairs. Wren enjoyed looking at everyone’s clothes going round and round. “Oh look, they’ve got a pink shirt too!” It’s easy to forget that simple things can be so novel and exciting. Reason #743 why it’s so great to have children in my life.

photo 5

Wren is now 2/3 of a hay bale high. We’ve been driving by hay bales quite a bit lately and we got to wondering how big they actually were, or how little we actually are… So we got out and had to check them out for ourselves.

photo 3(3)

We spent one evening at the Cherry Festival and finally found a ride that tiny Phoebe could go on! Speed racer! They spent all their lemonade stand money on a ride and a sno cone. It’s our new Cherry Festival tradition!

photo 1(3)

let them lead


I was reminded of something very dear to me last weekend. It’s so important to let our children have an opportunity to lead US. So much time is spent (wasted) trying to get kids to do what we want them to do, dress how we want them to dress, play how we want them to play, act how we want them to act, smile | stand | sit how we want them to for our photos, for others, for our selves. I see so many people trying to control everything around them–including their children, spouses, family–and it is driving everyone crazy, including themselves.

Children are people too.

We visited the Detroit Zoo last weekend and I gave Wren the map and let her lead us for the day. Of course I had to say “no” to most of the ice cream stands and gift shops we walked past, but that’s about where I drew the line. Otherwise, we saw the animals that she wanted to see, we took the paths she wanted to take and we saw the penguins twice. Why not?

It’s so vital that we let our children have these kind of opportunities. How else do they learn to lead and feel confident in their choices? So what if we didn’t see the monkeys.


secret summer

Although the city took out the swimming area buoys and we saw the bottom of our sunscreen and popsicle box earlier this week, it’s the beginning of our secret summer in northern Michigan. Shhhh. September is one of my favorite times of year with its golden light, unexpected beach days, changing colors, hints of a colorful fall to come and bounty from the garden. But most of the tourists are gone!

Here’s to a beautiful September.


Summer’s fading, lovelies. I happily wore jeans today and although I know we’ll have more days full of sweating and swimming and cursing the humidity, the dog days are (probably) behind us. I thought before I got ahead of myself and started thinking about wearing socks again, I should check in with my summer list and see how we’ve been doing. So here goes.

  • enjoy my annual corn dog at the Cherry Festival  CHECK!
  • can and/or pickle something from our garden Not yet, because pesto doesn’t really count although I put it in a jar.
  • pick strawberries (DONE!) and blueberries to put up (freeze, jam, bake?)  CHECK!
  • eat a fresh sandwich from the Village Cheese Shanty in Leland  CHECK!
  • take the girls to the Northwest Michigan Fair. “Goin’ to the fair, goin’ to the fair, goin’ to the Northwest Michigan Fair!”  (Wren went with Grandpa and Grandma so this counts!) CHECK!
  • stay up late to be awed by the Perseid meteor showers in August (I tried looking several times this past weekend from our house and I think it was just too darn light in the bustling metropolis of Traverse City, boo.)
  • dance with the little birdies at the Cedar Polka Fest. CHECK!
  • take in a film at the Traverse City Film Festival. NOPE. Boo!
  • finish painting the house. CHECK! We hired Student Painters and it was finished in three days (more on that soon, yippppeeeee!)
  • update the kitchen and move the oven up before the littlest birdie is on the move  Not yet…
  • speaking of moving birdies… enjoy watching the littlest birdie begin to move  She mostly goes in circles still. But not for long!
  • enjoy lots of park picnics CHECK!
  • visit all the playgrounds in the area CHECK! Well, not all, but a lot so far.
  • swim with Melissa. Not yet!
  • train hard for the Sleeping Bear 1/2 Marathon in October. Training is just really getting going…
  • continue losing weight and getting fitter (did I tell you I’ve been doing an early morning boot camp? oof) Still boot camping!
  • help Wren develop her swimming skills. She has turned into a little fish this summer. So fun to see!
  • have a date night with Chris at Siren Hall with evening sunshine, gin and tonics and shrimp. CHECK! We’ve had TWO date nights, thank you very much.
  • take our first family camping trip (also taking tips and recommendations, but not your horror stories, please and thank you!) Not yet, but hopefully soon…

How ’bout you, lovelies? Are you savoring the remains of summer? I’m soaking it up while staring at a school supply list (markers!) for Wren for her primary program. Less than a month! Oh my.


business meets pleasure

I just love it when I get some new work that involves a bit of everything I enjoy: spending time with my family, exploring something new in northern Michigan, photography, writing and design. Bonus: riding bikes!

I was hired recently to create a brochure for the new Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail and I wanted to share some of our family’s first afternoon on the trail and at the Glen Haven beach. We spent some time in Glen Haven this past spring flying kites, but it’s also one of our favorite beaches. Far enough away (25+ miles) to feel like we’re on vacation for the day, but close enough to remind ourselves that this IS really home. And to be trite (because someone’s got to excel at it), there’s no place like it.

We spent most of the early afternoon at Glen Haven’s rocky beach, beating the heat in Sleeping Bear Bay and collecting rocks for Wren’s growing “cool rock” collection. When we thought we had enjoyed enough of the sun and collected enough sand in the little birdie’s swim diaper, we embarked on the second leg of our afternoon adventure. We (well, Chris) got the bikes and Chariot set up for our exploration of the new paved trail.

And off we rode! It was a beautiful late afternoon to explore the trail. First we headed north out of Glen Haven toward Glen Arbor. This section is mostly shady and forested and goes through the DH Day Campground, which we hope will be the spot for our first family camping trip later this month (eeeek!). Ahem.

It felt so great to be back on bikes. It was our first real family-of-four bike ride now that I think of it!

After we hit the northern end of the trail, we headed back south out of Glen Arbor. I enjoyed the southern piece of this leg even more. The trail meandered through forest, an open meadow-meets-dunes area and ended at the Dune Climb, aka Sand Mountain.Then we turned around and headed back to Glen Haven. The trail is about five miles, but with our traveling style it was more like a ten mile ride. Plus a bit more with me yelling, “stop there so I can get a shot,” or “turn around and come back toward me.”

My favorite part? Chris repeating, “I’m so inspired! This is so cool!” Indeed.

When completed, the trail will be 27 miles long and will go from south of Empire to the Port Oneida area of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Can’t wait? Me neither. Help support the expansion of the trail by contributing to the community-supported campaign here.

I know you think I might be cursing us by saying this, but I can’t wait to ski it this winter…

How ’bout you, northern Michigan lovelies? Have you explored the trail yet? What did you think?