This is childhood

ri web

RiAnne, 18 months.

Six Word Fridays: pine

Buried within the tall green grass
A single brown cone lay resting
Scattered seeds taken by whispered breezes
Birds carry the future further still

Vision achieved: A Mad Hatter’s Tea Party

It’s been about two months since I first decided to create a Wonderland for my kids. I blame the random searches of the internet for my obsession. I was browsing through Etsy – like I often do – and happened across an adorable mini top hat in pink and lace splendor. It was 100 percent NOT me, but 100 percent perfection for our little lady. Despite my best efforts to have a budget, I splurged and bought the chapeau.

So, having purchased a hat for my little hatter, I decided she should be completely adorned in “madness” wear. I contacted my favorite custom ladies, Amber and Nadine, the mother-daughter team behind Nana’s Creations with Love, and shared my then-sketchy vision.

The two were up for the challenge of making an ascot and lace romper that resembled a collection of storybook sketches I’d found of the hatter. And the result? Pastel perfection.

My Alice couldn’t be traditional, so I asked a boutique to craft a purple outfit just for our adaptation.

The kids and I made several trips to Pier One, where I scored mini tea cups for a discount (the metal holder needed slight soldering to be stable). Two large designer mugs and our handpainted tea pot completed our collection.

I found an awesome pattern for a felt rabbit mask and set to costuming my hares. Already-owned collared shirts and ties set the formal mood.

My final touches included sculpting a mushroom and crafting an always six o’clock time piece.

We chose a “scenic overlook” as our setting and carried our party up the aged wooden steps in muggy 90 degree weather. The temperature was motivation enough to shoot efficiently as my four models’ enthusiasm quickly withered in the sticky climate. theyy performed their parts perfectly and our images are more than I’d imagined.

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Beyond the Fence

Summer is an incredible opportunity to discover the great outdoors with your favorite animals. Dog Fence DIY encourages exploration beyond the fence!


We live in a dog “un-friendly” neighborhood. While it seems like every one of the townhouses that surround us has a furry family member, neighbors really aren’t that into canine communes. Nevertheless, in the quiet of early evening, the many prized pooches can be heard bellowing to one another a la ‘101 Dalmatians’ from house to house.

Nero is lucky. He’s one of the few dogs with a fenced in yard. In good weather, he can explore the small area free of the confines of his leash and harness. He can jump, run, sun bathe without a care. But it’s a luxury that most others aren’t afforded.

Venture outside in that golden hour just before sunset, and the sidewalks and grassy common areas are replete with dogs of every breed, size, color, and age. We dog people – as vilified as we are in every Home Owner’s Association memo and newsletter – are tenacious about our pets. We tote bags in our pockets – some to pick up after “the business,” some to pack away little doggy treats from our people-only visits to local restaurants. We plan whole family escapes to “pets welcome” establishments and locations with open spaces and slow moving vehicles (or reduced traffic volume). Often it takes a little more planning (and sometimes additional deposits or fees) to include our furry son, but for long trips it sure beats kenneling.

Let it snow!

They promised a little dusting – – reward for enduring the 12 degree temperatures the last few days.We awoke to a blanket of snow across the ground, the powdery snow that wafts in the winds. It floats from the sky into the soft glowing street lights and is illuminated like fireflies. We layered and bundled – piling on clothing to protect from the biting morning cold.And we played. We tossed fluffy snow. We ran. We laughed. We made snow angels. We grew wet and cold quickly and scurried indoors.

Incognito: the Trial Run

As we’ve tried to do every year, we’re building our October’s end personas on a budget. A tight budget.

My girl ‘Kea, just gave birth to her beautiful baby girl, so we didn’t get to craft costumes for our “womb mates.” Trust when I say I missed it.

So, the eldest (who still needs a blog moniker) wanted to duplicate his “Killer Clown” from the family day face painting event last spring. He found a stocking-material mask already embellished as a spooky character for $1. We’re working on perfecting the look and ultimately will have added two tattoo sleeves and a hat of some sort.

Hubs elected to show off his gifts from our summer cruise to the Bahamas – a “Surrender the Booty” pirate shirt and a custom made walking cane. (I love it that Ya calls the shirt “Kill the Butt.”) We added tattoo sleeves (it’s cold at night) and a Captain’s hat to complete his style.

JD, who had no idea what he wanted to be and who has never really had the “Trick or Treat” experience, stood in the store looking at costume accessories in awe. He picked a few $1 pieces to create a law enforcement theme. Adding a long sleeve shirt and a burst of personality, he surprised us.

Who knew thirft stores offered so many gently used costume selections? Oma makes an almost weekly run through the two large stores in our area and found several adorable costumes for under $5 each. As usual, we’ve acquired one more than possible to wear, so Chi insisted on a photo shoot in the costume it’ll be too cold to wear on Halloween evening.

And then there’s me… the portly clown. Oversized, ill-fitting pants, tee, suspenders and dundundununun Afro circus wig.

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