365/52 week 32. and 33. oh heck, 34 and 35, too.

i've slacked for a month. a MONTH. last posting of pix? august 20th.

pix have been taken, just not posted. so ... i'll be economical, then get back in the saddle of normalcy on thursday.

(click on the pic if you want to see it full-sized)

week 32:

220 221  222
223 224 225 

220: harper took her allowance to target and bought herself the lego set her brother convinced her she wanted. she felt very grown up.

221: henry, clearly impressed with daddy's small golf ball handling skills.

222: chattin' up his buddy on the phone. topic: pokemon.

223: roasted brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes for dinner. someone's craving fall.

224: how she slept.

225: him and mini-him.


week 33:

226 227  228 229
230 231 232

226: studious consideration of the lego catalog can mean only one thing: it's xmas list season.

227: the moon seems to be ready for fall, too.

228: found a cool light for henry's room next year. yay, ikea.

229: harper got all life-jacketed-up for her fishing day at eco-camp. she caught three blue gills. "just little ones, though," she said.

230: when you break a tempered glass lid, it shatters like a $#*&%@. and crackles forever.

231: starting to be a little sad at the thought of this room being empty all day once school starts.

232: my yellow-tube-floating son and his buddies, on a last-hurrah kind of day.


week 34:

  233 234 235
236 237 238

233: took the kids to waterpark of america for the day. it was on their summer to do list. time was running out.

234: took the kids to mill city museum for the day. it was on my summer to do list. time was running out.

235: harper took the fairy rocks that twig the fairy gave her during previous visits to the renaissance fair. twig giggled in delight when she saw the rocks, sprinkled harper with glitter, and played her a tune on the flute.

236: decided to eat on the deck. marc opened the table umbrella and a bat fell out. so, naturally, he grabbed it. and i, naturally, took pix. then we set it free and went back to setting the table, at which point we noticed a second bat in the umbrella.

237: harper's very first sleepover. oh, the giggling.

238: legos, legos everywhere.

239: how daddy does a "home lunch."


week 35:

240 241 242
243 244 245 246

240: the intrepid landowner climbs through the undergrowth that will one day be his side yard. and mrs landowner is inwardly gloating over the previous declaration from the mr that "mowing is man's work!" because that side yard slope is going to be a bitch.

241: hallo, lovely light fixture.

242: pink + pink x pink = bff b'day lunch at american girl bistro.

243: gettin' some air under those feet.

244: sooo ... technically a pic from the previous day. whatever.

245: day one of kindergarten, harper has added to her bff roster and immediately requested a play date.

246: squirrels. eating nuts.

okay: michigan.

remember two weeks ago i posted a photo of the day of a painting i bought of lake michigan, and i said i needed it for sentimental reasons? well, here's the sentimental reason: i adore lake michigan.

growing up, my family had zero money. but every summer we managed to make it to grand haven, michigan, for a long weekend of camping and swimming at the beach. now, as a kid, i assumed we went every year because we liked it so much. as an adult, i now understand that it was as close as we could get to a vacation without spending a ton of money. the campsite at the state park was $20 or less a night, we cooked our own food over a fire, the beach was free, etc.

and if you've never been to lake michigan, let me just say this: you are missing one of the most gorgeous beaches. the sand is soft and white and clean. the water is vast and beautiful and clean. the atmosphere is quiet and lovely and clean. i will take it over any tropical, salty beach any day of the week.

since moving to minnesota nearly 14 years ago, my lake michigan time has disappeared. we discovered lake superior which, in its own right, is amazing ... so maine-like, which we love. but not beachy. then, three years ago, i was on the docket to teach in grand rapids, mich., at the great american scrapbook convention. i grabbed my friend catherine and we drove to michigan, stopping in saugatuck for a few days on the way. and i was reminded anew just how much i love, love, love michigan.

last year, while marc was away on business, the kids and i headed to indiana then to warren dunes with my parents for the day. and my kids got their own taste of just how fantastic lake michigan is. and now THEY love it.

so this year my family decided to do a family camping adventure, just like the old days, but this time with husbands (becca's and mine) and kids (henry, harper and wyatt).

it all started in march, when i went down to indiana to throw a baby shower for becca. i was talking to one of my aunts and she mentioned i hadn't been to the family reunion in ohio in way too long. i agreed ... it had been 16 years since the last time i attended ... and she said, "tell me what dates work for your family." um ... august looked clear at that point. so august it was. the plan was set, and i was on the hook to bring the family. while talking to my mom and sister later about the reunion, the plan was hatched to be old school all the way: let's go camping at hoffmaster just like the old days! and i couldn't wait.

so last week, we loaded up the car and headed to indiana on friday. saturday we spent in ohio at the family reunion, and i can't believe i didn't take a single photo. i'm glad marc got the one of harper with the fish ... i totally missed that because i was swimming with becca and we were pushing people off the raft just like we did when were kids. my own kids had so much fun that i think we need to make getting to the reunion a higher priority. it was such a memorable part of my summers growing up, and i would love for it to be a happy memory for them, as well.

then, monday morning, we headed to michigan (plus a pit stop at the fulton county museum in rochester to visit my grandma. can't believe i didn't take any pix there, either.). we got to the campground, set up tents, the kids wandered and swung in hammocks, the weather was perfect ... it was just like i remembered, except with the addition of a new generation of people to deal with.


harper, contemplating the cosmos and a green bb that she found on the ground.


wyatt, getting into the concept of "great outdoors + excersaucer."


henry, too engrossed in "the hobbit" to notice nature.


hey there, mchotness. you're lookin' a little scruffy. i enjoy that.




and so it went ... good times by the fire, good times hanging out, good times finding things to burn, good times eating stuff cooked on a stick. including pancakes.

really, pancakes. matt swore it would work.

it worked only sort of.

and for the kids, the best part of the trip? the beach. of course.


the water was ... cold. really cold. like, i didn't go in it at all the first day. henry did briefly, then we pulled him out when he started to turn blue.

so we went exploring down the beach instead.

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true to form, harper found a bug. then built it a house. then set out to find more cool stuff.

oh, and hey: there i am. at the beach.


that night we went into grand haven to watch the magic fountain show. henry thought it was "pretty cool." harper was in a mood and "didn't enjoy it at all." whatever, harper.

wednesday was our last day ... it came too fast. so we hit the beach once more, and while the water was still chilly, the air was warmer. so we all got in for a little while. except harper, who was in only minutes with me. then she wanted to play on the beach and feed seagulls.

after the beach we broke camp, cleaned up, and headed into grand haven for dinner and a farewell. and some souvenir shopping.

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there was a portable band shell on the boardwalk, with a band playing and cute older couples dancing. it was adorable, and looked like such fun. sadly, i'll have to hold out hope that my second husband will dance with me, because lord knows the current one will not.

then we got ice cream ...

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but poor wyatt was de.nied. maybe next year, buddy.

then we drove to ludington, mich., where we would catch the s.s. badger the next morning. it ferries cars and people across lake michigan to manitowoc, wis., and we've been meaning to try it for years. so glad we did ... the kids thought it was a great adventure, and it was much better than sitting in chicago traffic yet again.

and that was it.

oh, except marc, mr. "i've never had a sunburn in my life and don't need sunscreen," got burned. big time.

can you guess where the sunscreen ended that he DID put on?

silly boy. maybe next year he'll let me put something on him.

365/52 week 31 (ie "vacation")

i said we were going to be busy. what i didn't say is that "busy" was code for traveling to indiana, ohio and michigan for a family reunion, camping, swimming, and riding four hours on a ferry.

now you know why i didn't blog last week.

i'll get to a full-on recap of our adventure later this weekend, but here is a quick glimpse via 365/52 (i'm nothing if not dedicated to this little project. ha.):


marc decided he needed a pre-vacation siesta.


packed to the gills and on our way.


true story: there was some spirited fishing taking place at my great-aunt martha's pond during the family reunion. harper grabbed a pole, said, "daddy, i think there's a fish on here," and proceeded to reel in (with some muscle help) this little guppy.


harvesting jalapenos, tomatoes, and basil with grandpa roush.


the ubiquitous hoosier pork tenderloin sandwich. *shudder*


ahh ... sand in the toes!!!


evidence of how awesome grand haven is: a candy store/liquor store. yeah ... those were the two choices.

s.s. badger = chilled kids x not having to drive through chicago.


i'll be back soon with the stories to fill in the blanks.

365/52 week 30

like i said, it's been crazy. here's a glimpse at last week ... i need to get my eldest to stop making insanely dorky faces every time the camera comes out. doggone him. his sister is the only cooperative ... mostly ... subject.


harper finally got to have a "one braid" ... and it was a happy day.


accessorizing a la 'robert the rose horse.'


henry loved tennis camp.


out riding the neighbor's cooler scooter. i know, i thought it was redneck, too. turns out it's legit redneck.


oh, to be young and bendy.


with slickers and pokedexes, they ever so patiently waited out the wall of water that dropped on our house just as we were preparing to leave.

i feel that mchotness is woefully underrepresented in the 365/52 project. note the head-set. there's your explanation.


have a great weekend!

365/52 week 29

we have a lot coming up in the next two weeks, so blogging will be spotty-to-nonexistent. even so, i'll do my best to at least keep up with this.

from last week ...


belle has left the beast and is training for the olympic figure skating team.

henry, attempting the risky double zip-stick-and-crocs-with-socks move.


the kids made up their own version of h.o.r.s.e using the stairs, a laundry basket, and puffles.


lantana, i still love you. bless your little hearts for withstanding this heat and blooming in spite of it.


i bought a painting from this etsy shop. it's of grand traverse bay in michigan. and i had to have it for sentimental reasons. more on that later.


she still builds fairy houses.

legos: 1, my sunroom: 0

365/52 week 28

quickie ... bed is calling.


miss harper and i got crafty. i found some chipboard and paper and mod podge, and let her make a book. she loved the mod podge part.


she's becoming a soapy-hand-bubble-blowing champ.

mario. he's awesome.


storm clouds rolling in.


my child who won't eat hot dogs or bananas or spaghetti, downing a bowl of stir fried bean sprout, edamame, mushrooms, baby corn and chicken.


his new goal? build all of his lego star wars sets. what he does when he goes into him room to build? read.

you heard about the blueberries.

365/52 week 27 (let's go with that)

i did a little math. my figuring came to this being the end of week 27.

then again, i was an english major.

and ... go:


henry's room has become mega lego land.


i went to basilica block party with sue. we saw ingrid michaelson, guster, two songs by v.v. brown, and bare naked ladies. in other words: the perfect day.


marc and i cleaned the garage. harper found three bags of stuffed animals that, ahem, mysteriously were trying to get donated. so now all those animals are in our sun room. in other words: not the perfect day.


henry went to a friend's house, so harper got to be in her own little world all morning.


the minis raced each other drinking shared a mint milkshake at red robin. wicked case of neck freeze times two.


summery, water-type playing with friends.


harper thought mario might like some company during his afternoon ritual neighborhood watch.


(and yes ... i'm pretty sure i missed a week somewhere. i bet i'll catch up in the fall when i take way more photos.)


365/52 week i'll-do-the-math-later

the 365/52 project is past the halfway mark at this point, but by how many weeks? three? i'll have it figured out before the recap of this past week. but first, a photo-heavy look at the three weeks preceding this last one ... because as god as my witness i WILL keep up with this thing!!! (and again, a strict adherence to truthful time line is a bit, well, fuzzy.)



harper takes a "max & ruby" break from her summertime activities of coloring and asking when her brother will get home from school.



doing the "last day of school" dance.


we're gonna paint the house. technically, we're gonna paint the house one shade darker than the gray on the left.



my violet gave me two little blooms.



mario looked noir.



harper got to feed her cousin. i told you about that in the last post.


one day the light was just right and i told harp i could see her brown stripes. she said, "take a picture," so i did. can you see her brown stripes?


adorable little vessels at my cousin luke's studio and gallery, mudlove. like 'em? stick around ... there's a giveaway coming up.


matt and my dad, celebrating their birthdays with first dessert at the boathouse. second dessert followed at matt & becca's house an hour later.



becca's belly's reaction to having just completed a sprint triathlon.



my cousin's stinkin' adorable little boy, moses.



harp said she "desperately need(ed) a foot bath!" after park camp. then she gave herself one.



boston. legal test kitchen. best. lobster. roll. ever.



peaceful, ethereal bird sculpture in the center of the spiral staircase at the marriott renaissance.



boston harbor and world trade center.



just me and him. and boston.



entertaining themselves for 30 mins at the carwash by transforming styrofoam cups into shrek ears.



looking off the back deck toward an amazing sunset.


harp picked out these mint things. then found this deformed one and demanded it have a photo shoot. she can be so weird sometimes.



she can also be quite adorable.



rain on the daisies.



and rain soaks the neighbor's trees.



and ... more rain for the daisies.



a sleepover takes control of the sun room.


i loved smith & hawken's honeysuckle jasmine scent because the honeysuckle reminds me of the hedges of honeysuckle at my grandma mary's house when i was a kid. so imagine my happiness when i found a candle of it at target the other day. then the check-out lady said, "oh, this scent reminds me of funerals!" huh. to each his own.



hey look! it's raining! again! and chipotle's cups predicted it!



the children, browsing barnes & noble.


with every new house that goes up near our lot, our lot suddenly feels smaller and smaller. hope the next-door neighbor leaves us some room.


saw these beautiful flowers at a restaurant and wanted to remember them for my next yard. coleus and lantana and petunias ... oh my!


okay ... glad that's done!!


until next time!



wyatt wyatt bo-byatt

god love him, he's just a peach.

a big, squishy, juicy, plump, delicious peach.

remember six months ago, when he was seven weeks early and scaring the pants off all of us? well, now he's all caught up and then some! he's *healthy* for a baby his age. he's DANG healthy for a baby of his adjusted age!

and how those rolls and smiles and fierce love of eating makes us all smile!

when we were in indiana, wyatt (and his mom and dad, of course) came over pretty much every day to hang out, have dinner, let us bask in the adorableness that is mr chunky monkey. the first full day that we were there, my grandma also came for the day, so my kids not only got some great-grandma mary time, but also got to meet their newest cousin. henry, ever the 10-year-old boy, said, "huh. ok." harper was much more impressed.

she even asked aunt becca very sweetly if she could please feed wyatt. and when he was laid on her lap, his head propped up, and his bottle in harp's eager little hand, she smiled very proudly and did her job well.

(and yes, wyatt's head is about as big as harper's. and look at those thighs!! obviously, feeding wyatt is not a battle; harper's confidence was definitely helped by wyatt's professionalism with a bottle.)

after he had his bottle and his cereal, it was time for a bath, and harper again eagerly offered to help.
the next few days with family were fun - hot, but fun, and on friday we drove to winona lake to celebrate both grandpa roush's and uncle matt's birthdays. after dinner, i grabbed my camera and did a little session with matt, becca, and wyatt.

at first, he was just a cutie patootie ...

then his inner cheekiness came out to play:

serious and smoldering ...


dreamy and introspective ...

philosophical and contemplative ...

bemused and a bit "you talkin' to me?" ...

we had a great time in the sunset, and wyatt was a true charmer.


and this? this face is so 100% our dad. though somehow it looks much less impish and much more amused on wyatt ...


and this one? i love how it ...

is just a six-months-later version of this:

this little guy was a fighter from the beginning, and it was so, so good to see him well and happy and healthy and just a sweet, sweet little guy. and i can't wait to see him (and his mom and dad, of course) again in a few weeks for the traditional roush family camping trip to michigan. this time, with spouses and a third generation instead of just the nucleus family.



let me start by saying that of all the places i've ever been in my life, boston is in the top three. it's right up there with saugatuck, michigan, and rockland, maine.

lucky for me, red hat currently holds its annual summit in boston, which means once a year there's a possibility i can go and hang out. and that's just what i did two (three? has it been that long??) weeks ago. (if you want the cliff's notes version in photos, go here.)

marc and i flew out on a friday so we would have all of saturday through monday to hang out before his week of schmoozing and sitting in presentations started, and we had three days of awesome, fabulous, relaxing, fun quality time.

we didn't arrive until 3:30 p.m. on friday, thanks to a 90-minute delay in indianapolis, during which time marc worked (duh) and i read scout, atticus and boo: a celebration of 50 years of to kill a mockingbird. awesome book. once we landed and got to the renaissance hotel, we were starving, so we walked half a block to legal test kitchen and had what is probably the most amazing and delicious lobster roll either of us has ever had. we then returned to the room and promptly took a nap. when we woke up, we snuggled up to watch pirate radio (which was SO good. then again, how do you go wrong with philip seymour hoffman, bill nighy, and kenneth branagh, i ask you?), then at 10 p.m. decided to wander to the hotel restaurant, 606 congress, for what turned out to be a delicious meal: a perfect shrimp-and-avocado citrus salad, miso soup, seared char with morels, ramps, and fava beans for me, halibut with artichokes and asparagus for marc, followed by cranberry sorbet (mine) and pavlova with raspberries (marc's). delish. we rolled ourselves to the elevator and called it a night.

on saturday we decided to actually leave the hotel, which didn't, in fact, happen until about 11:30 (the bliss of being sans children!!). we walked to the wharf and had lunch at anthony's pier 4, which appears to be a national institution, given the amount of star power on the walls, photographed with anthony himself. politicians (think kennedys), celebrities, etc. we figured it must be good, and were convinced when we saw it was lando calrissian-approved.

a fish-chowder-and-mixed-baby-greens-salad (me) and clam-chowder-and-lobster-roll-(yes-a-second-one) (marc) later, we were happy, full, and ready to go.

the remainder of the morning and early afternoon were spent poking through the boston fire museum and boston common. marc has never been through the park and it's one of my favorite spots in the city, so i wanted to make sure he got a chance to go.

at this point we were exhausted and hot and miserable (it was about 90 degrees ... not fun for two northerners), so we found ourselves a nice quiet, air conditioned spot for some iced tea and cooling down before we set out for the highlight of the trip: taking in a blue man group show.

quick note: if you have never seen blue man group and the opportunity arises, GO! it is the most indescribable, awe-inspiring, funny, blow-you-away experience. and it IS an experience, not just something you sit back and watch. there is participation, and participating brings you into the entire realm of blue man. before the show began, there was a message board at the front of the theater with interactive, audience-response messages scrolling. first it asked a man named jerry to stand up, and we were to thank jerry for mapping the human genome. jerry was sitting right behind us and was laughing at the thought. good sport. then kevin was supposed to stand up. kevin was three rows in front of us, and kevin was being pointed out because he was just a regular guy and we were to make him feel special. then the message board wanted us to recognize that marc skinner hadn't updated his facebook status in more than three minutes. wait ... what?? oh, how i wish i'd gotten a picture of that!

after the show we were pushed into the lobby with the flow of people, and there the blue men stood for quick photos. marc got by one and wanted his picture taken, so i had to instantaneously oblige (no time for preparations. one of those instances that a nice little point-and-shoot with a flash probably would have been good.).

my camera must have piqued the interest of the blue man, because he proceeded to take my camera and go to town with it:

IMG_6374 IMG_6375
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he then handed it back and we were on our way.

totally worth the price of admission.

after that we felt the need for even more crustaceans-on-a-plate, so we went to legal seafood. i don't remember what we ate - i think it involved salmon - but i do remember the lovely wine flight ...

sunday morning came, and we met up with marc's cousin, danny, and his fiance, jen, and had a great lunch of oysters, ruebens, and salad at anthem near faneuil hall. we had a great visit, and a good laugh over me throwing a lemon in order to save a wayward oyster. slippery little devils.

after lunch, danny and jen dropped us off at the uss constitution/uss cassin young for some historical enlightenment.

then it was back to the hotel - in pouring rain and booming thunder - for yet another shower (it was so HOT while we were there! and yes, i'm a whiner. it was probably only 80 degrees or so.) before marc's father's day dinner at morton's. i've never experienced morton's before, and marc promised me yumminess. he was right. but we should have split a meal; there was no way possible to finish even a quarter of the amount they gave us.

monday morning arrived way too quickly, and before i caught my flight home there was one more meal to enjoy (a roasted eggplant and portabella with goat cheese sandwich and smoked paprika chips for me, sdlt burger with rosemary pommes frites for marc at sel de la terre in long wharf) and then a trip through the new england aquarium. the 70-foot-deep tank that climbs up the center of the aquarium was amazing, but my favorite part was the jellyfish exhibit. i love jellyfish.

then it was time to fly home. it was so hard to leave boston marc, but it was time to get home to the kiddos. and ... there's always next year! we'd love to take the kids next time; i know henry would adore all the historical stuff, and harper would go crazy in boston common. and we'd love to spend some time wandering around harvard/mit ... that's something we didn't get to this time around.

if you need more, head to the photo album. and later this week: a photo shoot with wyatt!! he has quite the following here, so i know you'll want to stick around for that!