the balance of home with a little bit of babaganoush.

i just hung up the phone from talking with my brother.
‘i’m sad,’ he said.
i am too.
we dreamed together of what it would be like if we all lived on the same street. of babies running back and forth and impromptu saturday morning waffles.
it is sad leaving…but the resounding theme of balance (like i was reminded here and here and here) resurfaces as my sadness for leaving is melded with this craving for the satiation of home. and i am grateful that i am privileged to travel ‘home’ in the summer…to the old familiarities of cool nights and cricket sounds and lightning bugs that dance above soft michigan grass. but that i have come to love the ocean sunsets, skittering lizards and palm fronds that dance above not-so-soft florida grass of my new home as well. and there is a sweetness to being away from family…like the reunions. when enough months have seperated us from seeing each other that when the time comes, everything is sweeter…hugs are tighter…and minutes are cherished because they are oh-so-valuable.

so it has been this trip. and my absolute utter and complete exhaustion stands to prove that we have done it right.

the girls and i set out the other morning to the country where we found the greatest strawberry farm and orchard. we walked up and down rows of young apple trees…

(and savannah rocks for taking so many of these fabulous pics! photography runs deep in the blood)

fed some furry friends in the petting zoo…

where, after hearing the roosters up close, lainey walked away with the best cock-a-doodle-doo i’ve ever heard. honestly, i think it’s the clearest phrase in her vocab now.

(bears a striking resemblence to a volociraptor, if you ask me)

and finally drove through winding dirt roads to find a vast field of strawberries.

we searched under leafy greens and little blossoms to find as many plump juicy berries as we could. the girls did better than lainey as most of hers made it straight to her mouth…and down onto her white dress.

it was an hour and a half out of our way and worth every mile.

especially when we finished our picking with a trip to the mill where we inhaled homemade sugared donuts, carmel apples and discovered the joy of homemade pickles…straight from the barrel. they were white and crisp and perfectly brined. ah, heaven.

splendid day…

wedged between other splendid-ity…

like late-night dairy queen with grandma…

where lainey slept through most of it (this ergo carrier has saved me…thank you, donna!)

…but awakened, all bed-headish, to finish off a baby twist with sprinkles.

and speaking of delicious. i’ve been dreaming of babaganoush from this place for six years.

i’ve had it now twice this week after i found my car driving itself there. nothing better i’ve ever put in my mouth.

and then we had that barbecue in my brother’s backyard where lainey enjoyed his pond…or more so enjoyed washing the mermaid’s hair over and over and over.

and swimming and cousins and cozy breakfasts and evening walks…it’s been so fulfilling.

(the ladybugs always find us. we love our ladybugs.)

i couldn’t be happier. so full of love…but so ready to go home and enjoy it even more. ready to tackle summer projects…coffee with friends…and our anniversary night out in a couple weeks.

oh, this girl has been a trooper. a love. i can’t say enough for how proud i am of her little travelin’ soul. we fly home late tonight and i expect her little blonde head will lie heavy in my arms on the plane. oh, i will kiss her. i will kiss her and tell her what a big girl she has been on this trip.

daddy, we can’t wait to see you. xoxo


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  1. Um….I see a baby bump Kelle!!!! OMG that is so exciting. Where did you find the strawberry fields up here, I would love to take Alan. I miss you tons and will see you soon. I totally feel for you with the feeling of leaving. So glad you had fun with your family. xoxo

  2. awww kell. this is my all time favorite post…ever. i sees a widdle pregnant belly, i do!!!!!! little baby all growin’ and safe in there!!!

    i want to cry at your words bc you said it perfectly. the bittersweetness of saying goodbye to family in michigan…so hard, but saying hello seems so much sweeter.

    these pics are so beautiful. can’t choose a fave, cause i love ’em all.

    i’ll miss you so much…and my little lainey bug too! i’m off! not saying goodbye cause i will see you soon!
    safe travels, kells!

  3. so glad others said it, cuz i see pregnant belly too!!!! rock that bikini with your bad baby carryin’ body! love love love it!

    hopefully next time we can see each other and our littles can play.

    love the pic of somer and the ladybug. have a safe flight back today! xoxo~

  4. I love these Michigan pics. Makes me really homesick. Glad I’ll be there in a few weeks . . .

  5. oh so sweet love them all. the strawberry fields oh my heaven. and lets just say that lainey is just the best little one ever. such a trooper happy soul. and just beautiful inside and out. have a safe trip home. can’t wait for morining coffee talks. can’t wait to hear all about your wonderful trip. you neices are just heaven too. so happy your trip was great but happy you are coming home.

  6. Hi Kelle,

    What an amazing trip – I really enjoyed ‘traveling’ with you guys! You are inspiring me to organize my own cross country road trip with my sister!

  7. Ummm…baby bump…priceless
    fabulous pics of you & LL…priceless
    strawberry fields…priceless
    family lovin’ & LOTS & LOTS of memories…OH MY WORD!!

    Glad you had a great trip ‘home’!

  8. Carin’s girls have grown up so much! They are beautiful! And that LL still has her cute little babyface!! (oh, that dress/shirt) Looks like you had a great trip! (understatement of the year)

    Welcome Homee!!

    (learned how to spell ‘palm fronds’ today…thought there was a “z” somewhere in there)

  9. What great pictures of the time you had with your family. These are the memories that will last a life time.

    I do see a little baby belly and it is the most precious of all pictures. A new life to love!

  10. girlfriend…you absolutely rock! man…love your words, pics as it makes me crave my fam AND can’t wait to see you!!! miss you girlfriend. love you.

  11. This was your best ever post of the ones I’ve seen! Especially liked the bxw pics. Maybe it was the strawberry picking–made me think of and really miss Grandma/Mom–wouldn’t she just be completely “beside herself” surrounded by all these beautiful babies, leggy preteens, and lovely almost-adult great-grandchildren. She’d be fixing all sorts of pretty little plates with a big cookie on each one. “There y’ be” she’d say when all had theirs. :o)

  12. Great pictures of your trip. Thanks for stopping for a swim… was great to see you. I think you should have done a before and after of the strawberries though.

    I’m sure it is great to be home! Glad I finally got to meet Lainey. She is adorable:)

  13. Very nice! Great memories for all.

  14. um, you have a little bump, no? LOVE it. And all of these photos and your memories. I so know what you mean about the sadness of leaving family/sweetness of knowing there’ll be a next time soon…good stuff. Miss you! xo

  15. i’m itching for a new post, but mostly i’m hoping all is well!

    happy day …

  16. ah … the joys of pregnancy … this beautiful post has now made me absolutely CRAVING pickles and strawberries straight outta the fields.
    so glad that your vacation went wonderfully. and that you were able to spend (and capture) those moments with your family.
    it’s always a little good to get home though too.

  17. The ladybug picture is amazing. :)

  18. kelle, i have been catching up on your blog for a couple of weeks and am up to last summer. you are an inspiration and have a gorgeous, beautiful family – but to say i’m surprised would be an understatement – batawest lebanese is a GREAT restaurant! i saw that picture and immediately thought “oh my God, she’s in FLINT!” :-) i live in holly, just about 15 minutes south of there….and the other picture from dairy queen with bangkok cuisine in the background, in rochester, is right by my mother’s house :-) here i am, reading this blog about this wonderful family in florida and see pictures taken from around where i live :-)

  19. Ahh, love the blog, love you already!! Just found it tonight and I’ve been reading for hours! I’m lucky to live 25 minutes from Badawest, they are the BEST!!

  20. I realize this is a bit late, but I”m just catching up through your blog now…..(I;ve been reading for a few years, but haven’t actually started from the beginning….) Anyway, I spent some of my childhood in Ann Arbor before moving out to Utah and your descriptions of strawberry fields and lightning bugs conjured up so many memories. Good memories. I’m like you in that my family is at least a 30 hr drive away (I’m in Northern British Columbia and they’re in Utah.) I know what it is like to miss out on some family things. I get to see them maybe once every few years. Not sure why I’m typing all of this as you’ll probably not see it, but I just love so many things about what you write about. And we share a love of creativity. Thanks for writing :) ~Kara

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