everyone should own a picnic basket.
ours was a wedding gift…a bold and confident leap for the giver…to steer from the obligatory registry list, but indeed a well-appreciated leap. a treasured leap.
its sturdy woven wicker is padded with good insulation. it has hidden straps for its own little collection of plastic cups and plates. and, best of all…it fastens close with thick leather belts and gold buckles–and not the fake kind that look like buckles but really are just pointless decoys hiding easy snaps. they’re real buckles.
our treasured picnic basket stands out among all those gifts and, although it only has two and a half years of beach and backyard picnics to its name, i have great expectations for it and the places it will go. i look forward to the day of tarnished buckles and worn leather…broken weave and scuffed and weathered wicker. i look forward to the day the insulation is seared with the scent of fried chicken and potato chips. because that means many a’ memories…many a’ sunset picnics. many a’ impromtu backyard snacks-on-a-blanket. and, everyone knows…everything tastes better in a picnic basket. even frito lay and lunchables gain a bit of authenticity if they are pulled from an old picnic basket…and magically transformed into something good. something wholesome. maybe even something a bit old-fashioned.

today it was tunafish sandwiches layered with crisp claussen pickles and wrapped and twisted in wax paper. blood-red radishes. ripe peaches. and cold thin mints. all packed up in our real picnic basket and packed into the wagon along with a thick blanket, my camera and two happy girls. we wheeled over sidewalk cracks and dry pavement for two blocks until we reached the big tree next to the still waters of one of our little neighborhood lakes.

and this is what greeted us:

my heart did a little leap as i scolded myself for not doing this more often.

it was beautiful. and quiet. and as i smoothed out the folds in our blanket and unwrapped our lunch treats, i was calmed by the sight of it all and the way it sort of hypnotized the girls. the entire scene–us sitting there on the blanket, unfolding wax paper, eating real food, watching a sweeping egret, listening to sweet little giggles, kicking off our sandles to feel nature’s own blanket of matted dried pine needles and the stiff florida turf we’ve finally become accustomed to. it was storybook.

…and then it was back in the wagon for the trip home.

oh, i love days like this.



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  1. Looked like a wonderful afternoon!

  2. Oh, Florida. I’ve never been. It looks so deliciously green and swampy, in a good way! Did you read that Cookie mag article about Florida beaches? Sounds delightful. This post is a nice treat for my Friday night! Thank you.

  3. That picture of the girls sitting on the blanket is just so profound! It’s like they are sitting there and talking about what they want for their future. What big plans and dreams they have for each other and themselves.

    These should be a postcard!! Oh, how I love the way you love Lily when we’re not there to be her soft place. And then you include her on your blog like she’s your 2nd daughter!! I love how you love!!

  4. Did Lily take that picture of you and Lainey? She’s got some skillz!!!

  5. i love how you can make out the nipple of lily’s bottle. they look so grown up but then you see the bottle and remember, thankfully, they have many more years of firsts left.

  6. So SO SO happy and grateful to catch a glimpse into your daytime world with my Lily.

    I feel so lucky that she has you to love on her all day long…

    and then, at the same time, wish I could be the one. sigh.

    I know Kelly must feel the same pangs I do…only times ten million gazillion. :)

    Feeling SO SO full to see visual snapshots of what she does all day…and her happy smile fills me up!!

    Cherish your days with the two of them, my friend…

    shaky legs…
    baby skin…
    her scent and fuzzy head…

    you are more lucky than you know.

    Love you.

  7. oh, this post.
    can’t. get. enough.
    love, love, love tarnished buckles and worn leather…and the broken weave of the wicker…I am salivating.
    I love words.
    I love your words.
    Oh, I am inspired. Wishing I could call in (again) and just write. all day.
    From now on…I will forgo the registry…yes…and go for the picnic basket.

    love this post.
    love you.

  8. you had me a tarnished buckles and weathered wicker…wrapped and twisted wax paper, sweet giggles, cold peaches.

    this post is delicious! these pictures are amazingly beautiful and vivid and green and so michigan-ish. i don’t know how you find jungles, secluded lakes, old big beautiful trees like you do here in fl:)

    the picture of lainey and lily under the tree from a distance is georgeous. love how lily is holding her bottle and lainey is eating something unaware of the how precious they are.

  9. What I loved about the mastery of Seinfeld was the way the show could develop the everyday–to make a rich and detailed plot out of…really nothing at all. And you have the profound gift to take the casual and trace each shadow and nuance and make it poetry. Your readers join you on the grassy rug of a spring afternoon…and I can smell the verdant warmth of this lush picnic place and hear the laughter of the girls. Perfection…in a basket.
    And I get to babysit Lainey tonight!

  10. Kelle I love these pictures….
    the sun
    the trees
    the piggys
    the total sweetness

    I can’t tell you how much I enjoy watching your little sweet girl grow each day. I just want to meet her one of these days…..I feel like I know her maybe it is because you are such a good writer and photograher. Thanks for the window into your life!

  11. nikidbrown says:

    Love it! You will need to take that same photo with them in 10 years!
    Love it!!!

  12. Came back for another peek at the blanket picture!! I keep thinking about that shot even when I’m not on the computer!!

    It’s like they’re having secret girl talk sitting together. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” might be something we’d overhear!

  13. OMG the picture of lainey and lily on the blanket is the CUTEST picture I have EVER seen. It is unreal! Tears to my eyes good! Oh my how fun I love picnics. I have the same basket:)

  14. I have not posted in a while and I feel like I’ve been with you as you write each of your posts. Your words and pictures capture the world as everyone should know…forget about all of the bad and enjoy the small things. Love you!

  15. Picnic are the best. They bring you back down to the simple things. I felt like I was at an art gallery for nature.

  16. Beautiful! so so lovely. Funny the different climates we live in as I was bundled against impossible cold, driving through a fierce blizzard to go skiing when you were on your sweet picnic with peaches and thin mints and bare toes.

    Bug is sitting on my lap pointing at the girls and babbling on and on about them. so cute.

    My favorites are the two of you and Love, though. You manage some wicked self portraits, sister. Unless, as Kelly mentioned, Lily is skilled beyond her months. Quite possible looking at her sageness in these pics.

    Good to come home to some new words and images. xo

  17. Oh no you DI’N’T use real wax paper to pack up your sandwiches – that’s so Samantha-the-American-Girl-Doll of you, haha, love it! I love the picture of the two girls on the picnic blanket :)

  18. thought you needed an…eighteenth comment.

    I’m just sayin’.

    and mrc-w so made me smile with her clever words.

  19. 19.
    and counting.

    ok…however did I miss the pic of you and lainey below…the one of the two of you on the couch? oh…it is just so…honest and morningish and…raw.

    it belongs in a book.

    yes, I believe it does and should be submitted at once.

    I’m just sayin’.

  20. sandals and picnics and tank tops … oh my!
    i cannot. wait. until picnic season comes around again. we had a wedding gift giver that went straight for the picnic basket too.
    i love that thing. and fortunately / unfortunately … many of our picnics are held right next to the garden … and don’t require a basket. but we should do more that require a basket. shouldn’t we?

  21. #21…

    I drive around thinking about this picture! It needs to be a postcard sold at Target.

    Looks like God is sitting with them saying “I miss hanging out in heaven with you 2, how are things going with you?”

  22. 1. buy real picnic basket.
    2. winter in south Florida.
    3. Jonah can say Lainey.

    just thought i’d throw in #3.

    i Love this post. i love your self portraits! and I love girl scout cookies! your pictures tell a story, they are an ice cream sundae. your words are the cherry on top.

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