Ivy’s Favorites at Nine Years Old

Once a year I like to interview my children to find out what all of their favorite things are. It has never failed to be informative, surprising and amusing.

Ivy, what’s your favorite…Ivy

Color – Blue (Which Clara objects to because blue has always been her color, and so either because Ivy is so nice to her sister [unlikely] or doesn’t actually like blue best [much more likely] she never chooses blue anything).

Animal – Horses

Food – Tortellini casserole (Even when it has green stuff in it!)

Clothes – Dresses

Dog – Penny (A whippet owned by one of the summer cottage renters at my parents’. She seems nice but I’m offended on behalf of my dog just on principle.)

Cat – Cassie (Cassie loves her best too.)

Person – You and Dad

Thing to do – Read

Thing to do inside – Play with LEGOs (Oh so true, it’s LEGO mania around here lately. Have I showed you my new favorite mini fig?)

Chore – “I don’t have a favorite chore.” *giggles* “That’s funny why would I have a favorite chore?” (insert mom sigh)

Time of day – Ivy: “Bedtime.” Me: “What? why?” (Because bedtime sure doesn’t seem like anything anyone around here loves.) Ivy: “Because I like laying down, it’s fun.”  (Okaaay…)

Place to go – FloridaIvy

Song – Lady Gaga (She couldn’t pick just one, and her love of Lady Gaga is all John’s influence, just so you know.)

Flower – Lilac

Farm Animal – Horses

Thing about school – Reading

Friend – Natalie and Hija

Movie – I don’t remember, I mean I remember, but I’m trying to think about it.. Can we come back to this one? … Secretariat, I can’t think of it so I’ll just say Secretariat – oh wait, it’s Enchanted.  I love that movie!

Thing to do with Clara – Rolling around. Messing around. Messing around with pillows and blankets and sometimes mattresses. (I hate that plan, it involves mattresses pulled off beds and lost blankets and despite anyone’,s best intentions, it’s never fixed before bedtime!)

Thing to do with Jane – Dress up, she’s the one that loves dress up. (I found this answer hilarious for reasons I can’t quite articulate.)

Thing to do with Dad – Checkers (She’ll be able to beat me regularly soon.)

Thing to do with Me – Just hang out with you. Probably working out… sometimes… (Yeah, I’m not always a fun mom…)

Book – Rainbow Magic (This is where I repeat: I’m glad she likes to read, it doesn’t matter what she’s reading I’m just glad she likes to read. I’m glad she likes to read, it doesn’t matter…)

Meal – Dinner

Thing to do in the car – Read

What do you want to do when you grown up? –  Marine biologist, … Studying sea turtles, I love sea turtles, maybe leafy sea dragons. (That’s excellent because I always wanted to know more about leafy sea dragons!)

When you get older what kind of problems to you want to help solve? – Bullying (Hint: Start with your behavior toward your sisters!)

Anything else? – I love the ocean. (Poor Midwestern child, that ocean is so very far away!)Ivy with gosling

Looking back:

Ivy’s Favorites at Eight Years Old

Ivy’s Favorites at Seven Years Old

Ivy’s Favorites at Six Years Old

Ivy’s Favorites at Five Years Old

Ivy’s Favorite Things


My little brother got married on Saturday!

But, in the midst of all the preparations and rain…

Mom and I saw a bit of rain while prepping for my brothers wedding!

A photo posted by Behind The Willows (@behindthewillows) on

… my camera stayed tucked away safe and dry.

When the big day arrived the sun came out to shine on their beautiful day but my camera never did.

Never fear, I’ve got a plan…

Formal wedding pictures are wonderful for framing and keeping forever but lets give Tyler and Sarah a peek at all those informal moments the wedding photographer might not have been around for!

If you were there for their big day send me your pictures and I’ll keep adding them to the gallery below, a little extra gift for the newly weds!

Congratulations Tyler and Sarah!



Book At The Door: August Giveaway

I’ve got a book here.  It’s been read once or twice but not yet lost it’s shine. It’s a book I’ve loved for years, loved so well I have my own copy in a special place on the shelf.  But this book, still with it’s shine on, is begging to be read and I love to share the books I have loved. Which brings us to the big question…

Would you like it?

Book at the Door

If further incentive is what you need here, art work courtesy of Abbie, is the first line.

"124 was spiteful."

“124 was spiteful.”

Are you intrigued? I hope so. This one has been a long time favorite of mine. If you’d like the book, just do a bit of googling (unless you know that line as well as I do) and leave the name of the book in the comments. If you are the winner I will send you not only one of my all time favorite books but a print of Abbie’s artwork as well.

Now if you are thinking “That sounds great but who is this Abbie person?” let me help you out…

While it’s true that Abbie is a published writer and poet, I met her along her blogging journey on  Sidereal Catalyst. There she often writes about her personal journey with depression and anxiety and there you will also find that she is the fiercest mental health advocate.  This passion of her’s inspired her to start the mental health resource, Depression: Catalyst for Change. You can also find Abbie on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Go on, pop on over to her corner of the internet and say hello.  Just come back and leave a comment with the book title so your name makes it into the hat for the drawing!

Contest will be open through August 23rd.

The winner will have the honor of receiving a quality print of  Abbie’s artwork in the mail as well as the book.

Artists of all kinds (Yes, you photographers and you who says you can’t draw and you who just wants to practice hand lettering and you who is selling paintings online and…all of you!) if you are interested in providing a small piece of work that includes a first sentence, I would love to hear from you!  

Authors, have I read your book and tagged it as a recommended read? Would you like to donate a hard copy? Let me know! 


The Chains of Good

Recently my best friend’s sister-in-law was murdered.

It has been just as tragic, raw and sad as one would hope to never need to imagine.

But the other day my friend told me a thing that brought tears to my eyes in a whole different way. She told me that through all the hard and sad and horror that has been going on, what has really come clear to her is that evil deeds exist as points.

Single instances.

But good makes chains. Chains of loving people, kind words and gracious acts. Loving family and friends lead to kind strangers.  And the good deeds from all of them exist in chains that can stretch on and on.

I’m linking to the Go Fund me account that has been set up for the family. I’m not expecting you to donate, though the family would be grateful.  I just wanted to remind you that even the small kindness you add to the world makes a difference when they join the chain.

In Memory of Jenn Ward


The Sports Gene by David Epstein

Fair warning, it’s happened again.

I read a book that I found so interesting I can’t help but randomly throw it into conversations. Luckily for me, with the Olympics coming up, I have plenty of opportunity to chime in with random tidbits of information.

The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance

It just sounds fascinating doesn’t it?



Even if you aren’t like me, someone whose life long athleticism and latent biology background get all tingly at the title of this book, I still urge you to try it.

Then, when the Olympics are on, you can say things like, “Ahh, I knew he was a swimmer, that long torso just gave it away.”and “Did you know it’s not about height of basketball players as much as how far they can reach?”  Then once you’ve hooked people you can expound on double muscle genes in Belgian Blue Cattle and why the runners from Kenya are again sweeping the podium.

Would I recommend it? Yes. It’s time for the Olympics! Get in the spirit of things! (And it should be noted that even the person in my book club who admitted to having very low expectations of this book, said she was happily surprised with how much she enjoyed it.)


Sack Nasty by Ra Avis and July Book at the Door Winner

And the winner is…I won a Book at the Door with Behind the Willows

A Mouse!

She correctly identified this month’s book as Sack Nasty by Ra Avis and will have a copy of the book and the first line art mailed to her. What a lucky mouse!

As a Book at the Door feature I, of course, recommend you read this book too.  And, as always, I believe you can use the first line to get a feel for what’s in store for you.

"They say she is property."

“They say she is property.”

“They say she is property.” starts this compilation of poems.

That’s not just any run of the mill first line. That’s a sentence that demands your attention. That’s the kind of beginning that can give a person chills. Those are the kind of words that once they have your attention may not be kind to you. And that’s the kind of thought that betrays a glimmer of hope hiding behind it.

Which is all exactly what you should expect when reading these stories from the author’s time in prison.

Attention grabbing, powerful poems that wring your heart, make you consider things that you, perhaps, wish not to, and show some of the darkest sides of human nature right along side the light. And that is why, when asked…

…Would I recommend it? The answer is – Yes.

Once you have read these poems, or perhaps even before, check out The Women’s Prison Book Project because, sometimes, there are little things we can do to make a difference.

The Book at the Door winner was chosen using a random number generator from http://www.random.org 

Artists of all kinds (Yes, you photographers and you who says you can’t draw and you who just wants to practice hand lettering and you who is selling paintings online and…all of you!) if you are interested in providing a small piece of work that includes a first sentence I would love to hear from you!  

Authors, have I read your book and tagged it as a recommended read? Would you like to donate a hard copy? Let me know!