25 May 2010


peonies are ridiculous.


they're completely over-the-top, all that excess frill and fuss, and in the most obnoxious shades of pink. i cannot, for the life of me, figure out why i am so crazy about them.


maybe it's the way they smell like peaches, all summery warmth and honey.


perhaps it's their enthusiasm, the way those rosy fists explode into silky poms with a heft that makes their thin stems tremble and bow.

maybe it's 'cause God does ruffles like no one i know.

whatever it is, they win me over every time.

speaking of blooming, we had quite the time at kindergarten round-up. elle has proclaimed school 'awesome. they have good juice.'


while her brothers are counting down the days till summer, she can't wait for august and the start of her educational career.

(dear elle's kindergarten teacher, whoever you are: you may want to get a LOT of rest this summer.)

* * *

more sweet shots at darcy's.

more celebrations of everyday wonders:
tuesdays unwrapped at cats

20 May 2010

youcapture: depth of field.

i like to shoot wide open. [also, i like pink lady apples smothered with nutella; robust thunderstorms; and the color (or non-color, if you will) grey. and british spellings.]

i think i default to tiny f-stops partly out of necessity, since my little camera doesn't do low light. and it certainly doesn't hurt that smallish f-stops breed instant bokeh, and my heart is one big soft spot for that blurry deliciousness.**

in case you don't have time to be a photography fanatic and we lost you at 'wide open,' here's a quick primer: small f-stop = wide aperture = shallow depth of field = lots of bokeh. i don't actually get it either.

but here we go, a (brief) world tour of wide open apertures:

in switzerland (2009)

and hungary (2010)

and my exotic very own backyard (this morning)



**[sidenote: so this is the one beautiful thing about wretched eyesight. remove one's glasses, and voila. bokeh everywhere.]

more on depth of field here:

18 May 2010

brainstorming. with help.

it’s that scurrying-about time of year, when the littles focus their cerebral reserves on end-of-term projects, and the mama directs her reserves to devising thoughtful teacher gifts. (or, more likely, the mama surveys her ingenuity tank, finds it empty-bellied, and scours the web for tutorials.)

just in case you too are scrabbling for handmade gift ideas, here’s a gathering of my favorite finds (all photos used with permission):


[giant paperclip bookmark from noodlehead]

2. pretty little album from brooke at inchmark

3. coffee cozies (to hold gift cards and handwritten kid-notes) from erin at house on hill road, (pdf pattern here)


[fabric basket tute by ayumi of pink penguin]

5. chubby hobby's market tote


[decorative thumbtacks by jessica of how about orange]

are your vibes less of the crafty sort and more of the buy it quickly sort? for primary grades, thoughtfully-selected picture books make perfect gifts as well.

[as a former first grade teacher, i have leanings toward anything artfully rendered with a good helping of funny, such as the olivia series, or nearly anything by kevin henkes. many educators, however, may already have these titles on hand. if you aren't familiar with your child's classroom library, you may want to select something less popular but equally enchanting, such as last night i dreamed a circus.]

anyhoo. after much debating, i'm thinking we'll make little tote bags circa kristin's birthday, and i'll let the boys decide what sorts of teacher goodies to fill them with.


(that is, unless one of you shares the Best Idea Ever in the comments and i make that instead. when it comes to homemade gifts, i'm embarrassingly easy to persuade.)

14 May 2010

today i opened an anonymous, beautiful piece of mail.

i'm sitting before this computer, half-blind with tears, near-drowning in the splendor of our God.

whoever you are, bless you.

13 May 2010

this post brought to you by the color of happiness.

yellow is the bestest color. it makes me want to turn cartwheels and click my heels together and greet all my neighbors with 'cheerio!' (don't you wish you lived on my street?). this week's youcapture challenge was to photograph yellow, an assignment i thought would be easy-peasy, but it turns out that as profusely as i love the stuff, it's in limited supply 'round these here parts.

sad story.

here's most of the yellow i could muster up.







it's like portable sunshine, is it not? indeed.

i'm off to do some heel-clicking.

you all can do some clicking of your own to view more happiness here:

(see how i did that? with the 'clicking'? i am such a clever girl.)

11 May 2010

beauty in the ordinary.

scraps and snippets of our weekend:


friday found me attempting speed photography, namely shooting dandelion puffs faster than my five year old could blow them. she's quick, that kid.

saturday morning soccer was a whole lot of gale-force polar wind. no pictures of that, as i'd loaned my stripey grey and cream mittens to my youngest boy and could barely feel my fingers, let alone use them. :)

sunday afternoons are often merry processions of card games; monopoly deal and connect four and memory. elle and i recommissioned a deck of 'pass the buck' cards into a zany game of memory, cracking ourselves up when we selected the lone buck.

green onion blossoms are so perfect in their pointy, star-shaped purpleness. my kids gather them by the fistful, and while this wasn't their direct intention, i could not imagine up a more cheerful mother's day gift.

monday was the hubby's birthday; it's that time of the year that we're the same age again, which tends to rain on my parade, but ah well. in honor of his special day, i attempted to let him sleep in, but i might have set off our smoke alarm with the griddle, and also might have dumped an unorthodox amount of baking soda into the whole wheat pancakes for his birthday breakfast due to a principle called I Am Too Lazy To Use Measuring Spoons. hypothetically.

he said not a word about either, which is a shining example of why i love the man. (happy birthday, babe.)

which brings us to tuesday, where i am unwrapping the gift of ordinary, beautiful weekends.

tuesdays unwrapped at cats

06 May 2010

you capture: spring. and other, less-related happenings.

some of my favorite bits of spring are the ostrich ferns that catapult coils into the air, coils that fan and settle into broad plumes, enveloping the northeastern corner of our sunroom in a jungle of chartreuse.



they wave and tower and rustle against the screens, and i find secret pleasure in stealing away to that corner of new green to read for a few moments, or to sit and absorb their whisperings.

soon summer will scorch them into overgrown blighted prickly things, and i'll cut them back to the earth where they'll wait patiently, dreaming up next year's coils.

also, and completely unrelated to spring, my kid does this thing where she copies me. lately she arranges photoshoots, constructing a camera from legos, lining up her cortege of generic polly pocket dolls, snapping away.


between frames, she'll offer bits of encouragement to her subjects: 'delightful!' and 'oh, that one was simply perfect!' (i find this behavior both amusing and terrifying. amusing because she wants to be just like me. terrifying because she wants to be just like me.)


and then comes my very favorite part, when she draws up the photographs.


i never adequately understand or anticipate the workings of her mind, but kid-brain, i adore you.


04 May 2010

tuesday, unwrapped.

today i'm unwrapping the gift of a five year old who loves to smell my coffee. (seriously, if i leave a cup unattended, her nose is liable to be in it.)


who, if she had her way, would spend the whole day in her sunshine pajamas.

4may4 4may2

who harbors strong opinions about scooby doo ('horrible and scary'), and is pleased as punch with a well-placed dora band-aid.

who narrates her life in song.

who thinks peanut butter toast is perfection on a plate.

who relishes trips to the mailbox and backyard picnics and shadow puppies.


yesterday i phoned the lower elementary school to make elle an appointment for kindergarten round-up. she's going places, this kid. and while it occurs to me to nurse a bit of self-pity and nostalgia, i'm mostly taking joy in her becoming a person apart from me, with her own purposes and faith and persuasions.


she's ready. and it's a beautiful thing.

tuesdays unwrapped at cats