A Baby Shower for Kara’s Little Pumpkin


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My cousin Kara, who is also one of my life-long friends (and former co-worker, can you believe my parents hired us to work at the shop at the same time? They must’ve been crazy) is due to have a Christmas-time baby, and Mom & I were very excited to throw a shower for Baby Girl Hoffman. Since the shower was in October, and Kara isn’t a frilly-pink kind of girl, we decided to fixate on pumpkins for a not-officially-themed-but-really-pumpkin-themed shower.

Little Ones to Him Belong

The invite was from Etsy, more on that later, but guys, you should really consider Etsy when you’re buying invites for something. This one was a hit, almost everyone invited mentioned it at one point or another, and my mom (who is Kara’s aunt and should really have SOME emotional distance from this situation) actually cried when she first saw it. Softy.

Pumpkins and PlantsThe shower was at my house, my small house. Large family, small house. There was just enough room for 20 chairs if we scooched the dining room table against the wall and didn’t use the front door. But like I said, we’re a big family. This is far from the first, and nowhere near the last time we’ll be crammed into a space that can barely fit us. We’ve kinda got it down by now.

Pumpkin Baby Shower

No-Pink Baby Girl Shower

Kara's Baby ShowerWe served homemade pumpkin spice latte’s (which is bold, considering Kara is a former Starbuck’s barista) and cider.. And any other edible item that we could work “pumpkin” into. And cheese & fruit, because, so much pumpkin.

Pumpkin Baby Shower

Pumpkin Baby Shower

Kara’s littlest nephew Eliyah was the only boy there, and he got through it by charming the socks off of each one of us. Cutie!

Pumpkin Baby ShowerThe lady of the hour! Kara is on the left, with our cousin Aimee whose little one is due soon after Kara’s. How cute are they!?

Kara's ShowerSo there you have it – a little (lot of) pumpkin to welcome baby Lemon (not her Real Name, just her current name, sorry!) into the world.. We are so excited to meet this precious babe!

Pumpkin Baby Shower



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Ohhhh my gosh, am I seriously still posting stuff from September?? Yes. Yes I am. But here’s the thing. These pics are all from a little camping trip to Wabasis Lake, about a half hour from home, where we celebrated Dad’s birthday a little bit early. It’s a good thing we did, too, because we spent his actual birthday in Grandma’s room singing hymns and watching her slip away from this world. We’re so thankful that we had this happy time first!

Thomas helped decorate the campsite, Mom brought her homemade apple pie, and we had s’mores. (Obviously). It was a happy little party!

Camping at Wabasis

Flower Child

Wabasis  Lake

Wabasis Lake

Mark & Jane

Homemade Apple Pie

Birthday Balloons


Vintage Lantern

CamperWe gave Dad a silly little lantern to hang outside the camper because Thomas recently told them that they should have lights outside like other campers do. Dad set up a power cord to plug it in and Thomas & Jane were more than a little spellbound. Until the next s’more was ready.. Fair-weather friends, they are.

And that’s it, guys. September, over and out.

Day After.


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Fruit Ninja

Strawberry Jane

Trick or Treaters

Strawberry Jane

T&J Halloween

HalloweenWell it’s the day after, & I can’t stop thinking about that little strawberry. I mean. Little Miss Strawberry, her brother the fruit ninja, and their parents came over to help hand out candy at our house last night, which also drew their grandma like a moth to the flame. Unless you came to see my poncho, Mom? Anyway, it was fun. The ninja didn’t want to deal with a camera in his face & they both coulda cared less about getting a picture together, but did they ever come alive when it was time to dish out candy at the door.

I hope you had a safe & happy Halloween! Josh & I are headed to a black tie dinner tonight (with his boss) and I just yesterday tried on dresses to make sure I had something that was gonna work. Kara, thank you for choosing a classic LBD for us to wear in your wedding.. Five years ago. Because apparently I don’t shop a lot!

Happy Candy-Fueled Friday, everybody!

Carrots. Fennel? Carrots. Carrots.


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In The Garden

Oh, this is a very big pile of carrots.

Growing CarrotsCarrots, right? So, not fennel then?

Back in the spring, Josh’s students planted a bunch of seeds and watered them until summer when they either brought their growing plants home for urban gardens or donated them somewhere else.. Somewhere like our backyard. I never paid much attention to them – they were all labeled and I could recognize some things like daisies and asters, a stray squash, etc..

There were a couple little pods of things that were labeled ‘fennel’ and ‘dill’, & I’ve never grown either of them. In fact I don’t even know what fennel looks like. Still haven’t even googled it. But by golly we were growing it.

Growing CarrotsA couple of weeks ago I went to cut down/tear out the stuff in that garden, and I gave the ‘fennel’ a good tug. Nope, not fennel. Not fennel at all. Those mis-labeled carrots snuck into the yard, survived bunny chomping season, and grew to massive, disturbing proportions. All right under my nose, without me knowing.

Growing CarrotsWell played, giant (not fennel) carrots. Well played.



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Chicago StuffJosh & I spent a few days in Chicago recently.. Somewhat recently.. Okay, in early September.. My apologies to those who follow me on Instagram, this post could be a wee bit repetitive for you.

Josh was in town for work, but per the usual on these trips, I was footloose & fancy free. Basically my time fell into four events (with a little shopping MI Ave on the side): stumbling upon The Renegade Craft Fair, vintage shopping, beaching on Lake Michigan, and the Chicago Architecture Foundation River Tour.

Renegade Chicago

Vintage Furniture in ChicagoThis vintage shop was amazing. Josh was with me here & we were in big time research mode. Nelson, Wassily, Baughman, Eames, and my favorite, Albini.. All in one room! Doesn’t happen much where we live.. Except in our basement. HA. Kidding. Mostly.

Wicker Park Chicago

Chicago Sights

Downtown Chicago

I took one afternoon & did some business missions for the shop, which was fun.. Ever toured those tiny (somewhat has-been) shops on the upper floors of Jeweler’s Row? They have their own kind of charm and I’m not referring to cheeseball sales reps. It’s like a legit-historical vibe, which I’m obviously pretty into.

Chicago Skyline

Our hotel had a pretty view, a few blocks off Michigan Ave but nothing some walking shoes couldn’t conquer. However I definitely could’ve done without the power blackout at 9 one night while Josh was still in a conference.. Which meant me, alone, in my room, no power, 10th floor, phones not working, you get the drift..

Chicago River Tour

The river tour! Hot, hot, hot! But totally worth it. I’m always game for finding ways to see a lot of a town without having to hoof it on foot the whole way. Even if that makes you the most biggest cliche possible. Well I guess the biggest would be those bright yellow duck tours. But really it’s pretty tourist-y. And highly recommended. I can’t believe we only live three hours away and have never done this before.

Oak Park Beach Chicago

I felt a little more like a “local” the day I walked to the beach for a few hours of September sun. Sorry, Chicago, but you’re on the wrong side of the lake. And it’s super weird to have the sun setting behind you. Do you face the water & have the sun hit your back? Or face the sun & not be able to see the lake? I chose the latter & it felt weird. Also. Not to be a complainer, but the lake was not the cleanest. Chicago, no offense, but you sorta failed my beach experience test. But don’t worry, we love you for lots of other reasons.

Renegade Chicago 021

Chicago Skyline

Lots of other reasons.

Goldenrod Girl


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Goldenrod Jane

Backyard Pears

Thomas on a Hike

Apple Tree

Jane's Queen Anne's Lace

Goldenrod Field

Thomas's ShedMark & Jess just spent their first summer in their new house, which just so happens to abut goldenrod heaven (P&P reference there for ya). Not too shabby of a spot if you ask me. Thomas climbs barn doors and Jane eats pears and generally loves everything. The whole end-of-summer thing is easier to take when backyard pears and queen anne’s lace are part of the picture, am I right?

These pics are actually from Labor Day Weekend. Yup, I’m catching back up, folks. That afternoon, we had a backyard smoothie party with Grandma Ryan. She rarely left her home so this was a big treat – Mom brought Grandma and we all had Burger King mango smoothies, because when you’re 95 and that’s what you like, well then mango smoothies it is. ♥

Camburger Turns One


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Oh yes, I did say Camburger. This is Camburger. And he is one cute little just-turned-one dude.

Cam's Birthday Party 021You know what’s fun? Getting an invitation in the mail from your nephew, asking you to come to his first birthday party. Um, YEAH. We’ll be there!

Cam's Birthday Party 012

Cam's Birthday Party 028He’s a big fan of Mickey Mouse these days (pretty sure that didn’t end for me until I hit the double digits…) so Mickey appeared a few times at the party – on the cake, cupcakes, presents, cards, you get the picture. He was the happiest little boy!

Cam's Birthday Party 015

The cake got intense so Camburger got a quickie bath while the rest of us had our cupcakes.

Cam's Birthday Party 048He’s the first grandchild on both sides, and it’s really fun to all be together & just love that little guy! We all think Cam’s just the bee’s knees. He’s so full of joy – it’s contagious.

This last pic is Ryan opening our gift for Cam (who couldn’t have cared less, but I’m not offended). We had a custom art piece done for him that says “Camburger” – and it’s shaped like a hamburger. It’s a little confusing unless you see it in person, and even then, maybe still a little confusing. It’s great. Maybe someday he’ll love it. But for now, wheeeeeels! (He loves wheels). (And Mickey).

Cam's Birthday Party 056Happy birthday, sweet boy! Uncle Josh & Aunt Suzanne just love you so much. And thanks for forgiving the fact that this post is a month late.

Flowers for Grandma


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Grandma's Flowers

I’ve been meaning to write this post for weeks now, but frankly the right words still haven’t shown up. So in lieu of the right words, I’m going for any words at all.

On Saturday, September 21, my grandma, Martha Ryan, passed from earth into heaven. She was 95 years old! (And has an older sister who may be reading this blog, too – Hi Aunt Mary!) The story is that on Wednesday, Josh & I visited her at lunch time & had a nice visit. Mom & Dad visited her later that night (unusual for a Wednesday), and late that night she spiked a fever that she never recovered from. Two days later, without pain and struggle, or months/years of obvious decline, she was gone.

We’re so thankful that she went quickly, and even though it was a surprise that week, at her age it wasn’t a complete shock. We had a memorial service for her here in Grand Rapids where she lived the last two years of her life, and today she was buried in the Hollywood Hills next to Grandpa, after a second service for her friends & fam (and her kids) in CA.

Well, I’m going to miss her. I’ll write a post sometime soon so you have an idea (if you don’t know) of who this lady was, because she definitely played a part in shaping who I am. I wish that we could have lived our lives with a few more decades of overlap, at least, because I feel like we would’ve been such good friends. Another reason to look forward to heaven, right?

Grandma's FlowersAlso, I did the flowers for the memorial here in GR. It was special to me because I always brought Grandma flowers on Wednesday, and have made it my mission to  have something in bloom all season long that I can bring. I was so thrilled to add some things from our yard into these little arrangements. It’s like my own little sendoff, I guess.

Thanks for understanding my absence, guys! I’ll be back with some more regular life stuff pretty soon!

It Was Very Very Windy.


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On Labor Day weekend (proof that I don’t blog much, I’m writing about Labor Day weekend) Josh & his brothers made one last effort at windsurfing for the year. I mean they would NEVER say this was the last chance for the year, but you know, just in case it IS, it’s documented. It was suuuuuper windy – like, too windy for windsurfing really, but when has that ever stopped them? Not until the board breaks (again). Which it did, so then they were stopped. But first:

Windsurfing Nate(Also, waves necessitate boogie boards.)

Boogie BoardsI love when the kite surfers are out with them on the water. They’re so fun to watch. And the waves are really much better suited to the guy with the kite & tiny board, if you know what I mean..

Kite SurfingI love this shot of Nate…

Nate's WipeoutEither I decided throwing sand on the blanket would be *super* fun, or it was reallllly windy.. You decide.

Sandy BlanketAnd when the tail fin breaks off, you’re done. For the day, anyway.

WindsurfingThis was Ryan’s first time windsurfing on the big lake. The waves weren’t helping him, but of course he conquered. I think Ryan can do anything. (Also, Hi Jenna!) Little Camburger stayed back with Grammy, but the rest of us were there to cheer the guys on.

Ryan & Jenna

I love summers on Lake Michigan. I mean look at this. Really.

Lake MichiganBTW, I just spent an afternoon on the beach in Chicago and was surprised by how un-like this side of the lake those beaches are. The beach I was at was rocky, seaweed-y, kinda gross, and not at all wavy. I can totally see why Chicago-ans come to MI for the lake! (Don’t worry Chicago, you have lots of other things to offer the world.)

PS. I would like to wish a “VERY HAPPY AND NOTHING BAD IS GOING TO HAPPEN THIS TIME” September 14th to Molly. Because, well, we have a history with September 14th. One that we don’t love. So, Mol, have a VERY HAPPY DAY. I mean why not, let’s all have a VERY HAPPY DAY. Now I’m going to go turn myself in for overusing “ALL CAPS” and I’ll see you later.

Happy weekend everyone! ♥



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Back Porchin'

A few bits of life lately:

  • Bea & I watch for hummingbirds in our spare time. We kind of love it.
  • We just sold an entire dining room set of vintage furniture. One important step closer to being able to fit BOTH of our cars in the garage!
  • I’m addicted to Project Runway. Once again.
  • Speaking of TV, we came home from vacation a month ago to discover that our cable tv isn’t working anymore, one of those “forced upgrade” situations. UGH. Funny thing is, a month later we really haven’t missed it.
  • Last weekend we put a new sink in our bathroom. It didn’t go well. It ended well, but it did not go well. Specifically in the “caulking” portion of the install. Let’s just say that I was scared for a while there that we’d be doing a full bathroom reno instead of that “great idea” under $150 sink upgrade.
  • I’m on day 139 of my “One Year Bible” reading plan. I especially love the “catch me up” feature that allows me to roll back into the habit of daily reading if I get off track. It’s saved me a few times!
  • Try this: a bagel, cream cheese, a fat slice of tomato, spinach, and roast beef. #Addiction.
  • Our youngest nephew, little Camburger, is going to be ONE in a few weeks! Whaaaat?
  • We’re going to Chicago super soon. What’s your favorite Chicago thing to do?
  • Pumpkin season is creeping up on us, guys. And something tells me this one is going to be especially pumpkin-y, in a good way.
  • I’m going houseplant shopping for work. Chances of the showroom looking like a jungle by the time I’m finished are higher than the boss would care to think.

Because it deserves a frowny face instead of a bullet point, I’ll conclude with the confession that an embarrassing number of hot tamales were consumed during the writing of this post. Before dinner even.

Happy Weekend! Here’s to living up the last(ish) of our hot sunny days! What’s going on with you guys lately?


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