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We do love family costume themes!

Thanks Sharon Gaietto Photography for the great pictures! You may remember her lovely portraits of River and Raven from Easter…Just in case you don’t here they are! It’s crazy how much River and Raven have changed in six months!


Let Halloween Begin!

Our first big Halloween event was Saturday morning. We have been to the Northcenter Chamber of Commerce Easter events for three years but this was our first Halloween party. The event started at 10am but we were still laying in bed at 8:30am, trying to decide what to dress up as. Yes, we have about 5 gigantic rubbermaid bins of costumes parts, wigs, wings, capes, hats, etc to choose from but nothing was speaking to me. I wanted a whole family type thing.

Then I remembered all the really beautiful Indian clothes I had picked up over the summer at the thrift store and some cool embroidered vests. And I had a lovely purple gown from the Goodwill in Superior, WI and my belly dancing belt with the purple wig. John in his usual long, crushed velvet robe and this year his beard was so long he didn’t need to wear the costume piece beard. Put it all together and we were bohemian gypsies!

My husband islooking all “Game of Thrones” and I have to say I like it!

Canyon was particularly challenging to photograph that day.

We lost the costume contest in a tie breaker. To a cute, but store bought, family of three witches. It would have been an honor to lose to the Dr. Who family but nobody knew what they were!

Mama Dalek…

The good news is we got a ton of candy. The bad news is while I was trying to wrangle River and three treat bags I dropped my very expensive camera. It didn’t fall that far, but it fell just right and I broke the $400 lens and I think I damaged the body as well. Sigh. It was my favorite everyday lens and worked great for portraits. Sigh again. I tried to use the body with a different lens today and it wasn’t focusing as it should but I haven’t really played around with it too much yet. Hopefully it works enough to get some good pictures tonight!


“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”-John Muir

After the Botanic Garden we picked up dinner from Culvers. We believe that fall fun is best followed with a fall treat. And right now our favorite fall treat is the pumpkin spice shake from Culvers. We don’t have them in the city of Chicago but since we were in the suburbs…

Then we were supposed to get on the highway and get home. But I didn’t want to go home. I wanted to go to the lake.

Me: Do we really want to get on the highway at 5 o’clock?

John: (driving) Yes we do.

Me: Oh.

John: You want to go to the lake, don’t you?


JOHN: No. We are going home.

Me: OK. I understand.

Highway entrance approaches. And he passes it! To the lake!

And rush hour on that street was almost as bad as rush hour on the highway. We are now in a part of Evanston that I have never seen. It’s freaking adorable with all kind of cute shops and fun restaurants. Note to self-get to know Evanston better. We finally reach the water.

It’s pretty, but not what I want. I know what I want. John knows what I want. But neither one of us wants to be the first to say it.

John: So what do you want to do now?

Laurie: Maybe we could drive by the lake some more?

John: North or South

Laurie: Ummmm, I don’t know. North I guess?

John: Of course.

We drive North past Northwestern University, and then surprise, surprise!

John: Oh look where we are! Wilmette.

Laurie: (pretending to be surprised) Really? I didn’t know it was this close!

John: Lies! You knew exactly where we were going.

Laurie: (controls happy giggles) No I didn’t! (Lie!)

So we were back at my current favorite spot, Gillson Beach! Canyon woke up as we took the turn toward the parking lot and started to make excited noises. The babes were asleep in the back so at first just Canyon and I got out. The beach was completely deserted which was surprising since it was still 75 degrees out. But oh yeah, the storm clouds were coming. I wanted to go to the water’s edge but Canyon chose the playground. I called John on the phone and asked if he would watch Canyon while I walked the beach.

I was excited about the storm. The clouds were rolling in but the water and sky around me were more turquise and inviting then threatening.

I laid down in the sand, feeling the energy of the approaching storm.

I dug my bare toes into the sand, trying to absorb enough beach energy to get me through the rapidly more real winter. I was happy. I was peaceful. I was free.

Then I looked behind me, to the playground. And the sky was dark and menacing.

But I still wasn’t ready to let go.

Canyon left the playground and started to run to me. I cheered him on, happy that he wanted to experience this with me.

I howled at the lake, opened my arms wide to catch my tie dyed son.

He did a happy dance.

Then the wind came.

And the rain.

Canyon stood still for a second, trying to process what was happening.

The temperature dropped 12 degrees, the wind howled and the rain poured down. Total sensory overload.

“Canyon, run! RUN!” I grabbed his hand and we started to run for the van, which in a storm like this seemed miles away. Canyon started to sob as the wind drove the sand into our eyes. He froze, howling. I stuffed my camera under my shirt, grabbed Canyon, stuffed my phone under his shirt and started to run for the van. He weighs 35 pounds, I was running in sand and my pants were too large and started to slip off. I am trying to keep my electronics dry and trying to get my hysterical child to the car. The cuffs of my pants caught around my birkenstocks and I could feel them tear. I kept running. I had to put Canyon down and we struggled through the sand. The sand was blowing so hard that I couldn’t see how to get around the fences. We finally made our way through and could see the gate. “Canyon, run to Papa! Run to the van!”

Finally we reached the van and John slid the door open from the inside. I threw my wet camera into the front seat as Canyon climbed in the back. My lungs were burning, I was soaking wet and completely full of life.

We started to drive home but the combination of dark, rain and rush hour had turned the 15 minute drive into well over an hour. The kids were all crying for milk and I gave them what was left which was totally not enough. So we had to stop in Skokie for more. It took us forever to get home.

But it was totally worth it.

John captured it all on video. I added the Cloud Cult.


“Just before the death of flowers, And before they are buried in snow, There comes a festival season When nature is all aglow.” Author Unknown

I love how this bee is soaking up nectar and pollen right up to the end of the season.

Another great day at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Now back to pictures of my kids.


The Running of the River

River is so in love with walking!

And she is fast!


My Beautiful Wild Boy-Canyon

So many photos of Canyon are blurry and/or shot from behind because he is always in motion!

I love taking him places that he can run and explore! But chasing after him or carrying him is exhausting. By the end of the visit John was so worn out he took the twins to the van and I raced after Canyon for at least another 20 minutes. He was barefoot and happy and free.

When his senses are overloaded he likes to ground himself-literally. He lays down and feels the textures beneath him.

It’s nice sometimes.


More From The Garden

Some iPhone shots from our day at the Botanic Garden.

We stopped for a snack. When we were there in March the twins couldn’t even hold their own bottles, and now here they are sitting at the table like little grown up people!

Yes, this photo is technically a mistake but it accurately portrays how John and I feel after chasing children around the sprawling estate of the garden all afternoon!


So We Went To The Botanic Garden

Thursday’s weather forecast called for temperatures in the high 70’s and thunderstorms rolling in late afternoon. We tried to be responsible adults and do a bit of housework but the lure of the outdoors was too great.

“Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn.” – Elizabeth Lawrence

Yes. The laundry and dishes could wait. So could the crumpled up leaf waste that was (and is) all over our floors. I had been saving containers of fall leaves from all of our trips, thinking that I would do some kind of Autumn crafts with the kids once the weather turned. But they got a hold of them first and they were instantly spread all over the first floor, like mulch. The vacuum will always be there but weather like that would not. We loaded up the adventure bags and picked up the twins an hour early from co-op.

It was hard for me not to turn off on the exit for Gillson Park beach and Wilmette, but John seemed pretty sick of sand and we decided that the Chicago Botanic Garden would be our destination. It seemed a good choice for what was probably going to be the last 79 degree day of 2012.

In the moment this was happening I kept singing that Kate Bush lyric, “It’s in the trees! It’s coming!”