Wordless Wednesday: End of Summer Blues

This summer has gone by so fast and was so full I want need kindly request a do-over. Or at least one month extension of summer weather and activities with no football season to occupy all my husband’s time.

And no, it’s not a Fantasy Football thing. It’s a liquor store near a college campus thing. No way around it. College kids + football = party. Which is good business for us 😉

I know all this and yet I still find myself wishing we had done a few more things this summer. Gone to the Splash Pad a couple more times. Taken a family camping trip. Actually gone to Sesame Place like we wanted to in May.

But when I just uploaded all the pictures off my camera from this summer…I realized we had done quite a bit.

Let’s recap, shall we?

First off we headed out to Cape Cod to visit with our awesome friends and got to dip our toes in the ocean and eat fresh seafood and send lots of quality time catching up with dear friends.


We had a Memorial Day BBQ that was freezing and rainy. So it turned into a dress-up party.


We went to the zoo. Again, freezing and rainy. But we took a picture at our favorite spot outside the polar bears again.


The girls hung out at the Splash Pad with their besties. I could die from this cuteness.


Then we took an all-family weekend up to the cottage. And loved every second. And yes, Isora’s not in the picture. She’s so advanced she took this shot ::wink wink::


Then we stayed at the cottage for an all Sims girls week. And got to do a small hike amongst other less strenuous activities. I mean, something had to balance out all that thrifting/antiquing/shopping/eating.


And we played on the beach as much as possible. Which was a lot.


And we found out that not everyone in our family enjoys a warm gooey hot-off-the-fire marshmallow treat. For shame.


We also played widely inappropriate card games and drank whiskey until the wee hours. And laughed till we cried.


We watched baseball and fireworks on the 4th with our favorite friends.


Isora taught herself to climb up to the highest slides with ease.


We had after-dinner dance parties. And Cedella taught her Daddy to dance like a princess.


We made crafts at Grandma’s library every week and even made it into the local newspaper.


Cedella fell in love with an adorable therapy dog named Blue at the Reading with Rover program at the library. But those legs. Stop growing little girl. Just. Stop.


We finally confirmed that the Johnson family resemblance is a strong one when my Mom reunited with her cousin she hadn’t seen in 30ish years. Mom, Kit and Abbe and my Grandma Rose.


Then they danced their little booties off at the Deirmimas annual reunion.


Cedella found her inner Bob the Builder at the Chicago Children’s Museum. The look of concentration on her face is just priceless.


And Isora found absolute zen in the form of every swing she’s ever touched.


And I found my joy at a little place called H&M.


We ate cake. With our hands. A lot.


And we swam. In the fancy toddler pool at the country club. At swim class. In the pool at our Aunt Sabah’s house.


And in the tiny pool on our deck. Almost every day.


And we made Za’taar in our pajamas.


We had one of the most memorable and fun and exhausting and gorgeous summers ever. And I’m incredibly sad to see it go.

But now it’s time for preschool and sweaters and scarves and football and chili on Sundays and all those birthdays coming up.

Can’t wait to share the latest with you…I officially have a preschooler.


Wordless Wednesday: The Jewel of Detroit

Last week my sister Tracey and I took the girls to see what I think of as the Jewel of Detroit. In fact it’s one of the most extensive and important collections in the country world. The Detroit Institute of Arts. The DIA.

For Michael and I there are few things that are more important to instill in our children than a love of the arts (family, books and hip hop probably being the top 3…jk…ok not really kidding at all). I love encouraging Cedella’s artistic streak and allowing her the freedom to paint whatever she wants to paint without forcing her hand or trying to make her draw or color something specific. So in that vein I thought it would be a perfect time for her to see what all this paint on paper (or canvas as the case may be) could become. Sorry Isora…you’ll appreciate this in another couple of years

Walking up the front entrance and seeing The Thinker was, as always, such an inspiring way to start a trip into such an incredible place. Cedella said he looked like he was thinking about his family and he was very frustrated.

What the DIA has done to encourage younger patrons to really look at all the art is to create an I Spy game in many of their galleries. The child can go over, read a clue or flip the flap for a visual clue and find that object in the gallery. Cedella and TeTe ran around looking at all the paintings and sculptures to find the I Spy. Here they are looking at a Bernini model.



Another I Spy tab. She looks like she’s up to something…doesn’t she?


One of our favorites of the day…Rembrandt Peale’s ‘Court of Death’. It was THHHHHIIIIIIIISSSSSSS big.


Isora was on my back in my wrap when we passed this one. “Mama Baby” she said. Then she said “Milk”. Yup. Pretty much. Have you ever seen the picture on Pinterest of the baby sucking on a sculpture’s nipple? Yea. That’d be my kid. She’s a big fan. But isn’t it a beautiful portrait. I wish someone would paint a picture of me nursing my babies. Such a sweet and fleeting moment in parenthood.


I love marble sculpture. I blame The David. I wasn’t a fan until I went to Florence. But look at how radiant it is. Also, at this point both children were acting a fool and all I wanted to do was sit and stare at this piece. Oh well. That’s what photos are for.


Diego Rivera’s mural courtyard. My absolute favorite spot in the entire museum. The light is spectacular. But the paintings. The subjects. The COLOR. It’s Everything.


We, the citizens of Detroit, had this genius in our possession for over a decade. And he made this modern masterpiece. I could never tire of looking at it. And I could always find some new story, some new reference, some new meaning. THIS is what art is meant to do.


For some reason this baby always captures my attention. Is it the birth of humanity? The physical embodiment of all the births and life on Earth? Is it my own children or their children? Ugh. I can’t stop thinking about this baby for weeks after I see it.


So I explained to Cedella that the artist that created these paintings was a man named Diego Rivera. And you know what? She thought it was her friend Diego of Animal Rescue fame and she was absolutely thrilled. And then…cause she’s actually 13 not 3…she pretended like she already knew that. Something like “Oh yea, Diego, yea, he totally painted this”. ::sigh::

Aren’t they the cutest in their Art Museum Dresses. I think proper places like this deserve proper outfits. Am I alone in this? Or are jeans pretty standard museum chic these days?


One I Spy involved Cezanne’s skulls. And Cedella thought they were way too cool. Next to Diego’s painting the skulls were definitely her favorite.


Isora was not really digging the museum at all. She didn’t want to go in the wrap and didn’t want to sit in the stroller. She wanted to run and touch and lick things. So we gave her a map to chew on.


This is a real painting. I have seen it on Instagram and other places but I thought it was a graphic design piece. It is a PAINTING. A gigantic one. And it looks like my sister’s good friend Chris. Isora was fascinated.


And then we found this cool little corner in the basement of the Alamo. In the African antiquities section. There was a bench to sit on and nurse Izzie, it was quiet and dark. And there was a video of several different African tribes doing ceremonial dances to honor their ancestors. Let me tell you, I think my girl’s had their first Roots moment. They were move and dancing and spinning like little tribal babies. It was awesome.

The video was only three minutes long but they replayed it for over 20 minutes. Dancing and spinning each and every time. Tracey was smart enough to take a couple of Vine’s of them going to town…

That was worth the price of admission folks. Which by the way is free for kids and free for Macomb, Oakland and Wayne country residents. So really don’t say “I really should visit there someday”. Go tomorrow.

Cause like I said on Facebook after this whole news bomb that the EFM of the city Keyvn Orr was going to sell off the DIA’s prized collection (which will never happen just so we can all remove our undies from our cracks) visit because this IS our city and it’s legacy.

This was once a great city that paid cutting edge artist’s to be in residency. A city that bought Van Gogh and Cezanne and Dega. The Paris of the Midwest.

Go because the DIA is one of the most exciting and eclectic collections in the country, and it’s in your backyard.

Go because Art is Cool.

Just go. You’re welcome.

And if you don’t live in the city of Detroit or the state of Michigan, you should come here. It’s quite lovely. I’ll show you around 😉

Happy Wednesday!!

(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday: Summer Sisters

This is a bit late in the day but it’s still Wednesday, right?

It feels like we went from winter to summer without so much as a crisp spring day to show for it. Last year was pretty much the same except that summer came in March and didn’t depart until November.

Seeing as there was snow and hail in mid-Michigan while we were on vacation last week in Cape Cod, we were so happy to come home to 70’s and sunny.

It’s been so hot that we already have the AC on.

But I love it. Love the warmth of a midday sun. Love the rich saturated clear blue sky. Love those fluffy white cotton ball clouds that pass by every so often. Love to walk barefoot in the soft green overgrown grass. Love the cool dark shade of a big ole maple tree.

And these two?


They love it too. I’m really looking forward to their first summer of playing together.

They are loving their bubbles and sidewalk chalk and tricycles and walks to the playground and generally being silly together.


And I am looking forward to a summer full of this sweet girl…


and her sweet smiles.


And can’t wait for another summer with this amazing young lady and her warm and loving side…


and her pensive and shy side.


And sisters.


I am once again enchanted and in love with every second of watching their relationship blossom. Sisters and BFFs.


Though we were having a terrible, awful, no-good, very bad day, we still managed to get this lovely family shot.


A big loving shout out to our amazing photographer Bobbi Rattai who always makes all of us look so good. You can find her on FB HERE

and online HERE.

Hope you had a great Wednesday!! Come back soon…vacation photos will be up Thu and Fri!!