Now that it's finally summer in Seattle (sort of), and we've had our first 80-degree day, my husband and I have been spending as much time in the backyard as possible. We recently purchased this umbrella for the deck and I decked it out with some lanterns. I think they're so romantic! I love it when the sun goes down, and we turn on the lanterns! J and I enjoy a glass of wine on the deck after the kids are in bed and it's just us (us and Paisley the dog!). I love summer! (P.S. If you're wondering what those oddball things are on our side table (besides the wine), they are our four-year-old's bug catching paraphaneila. He currently has a pet spider that he trapped.)

That gorgeous, delicate blossom? It's a blackberry vine! Yes, the wild, gnarly weed of the Northwest has a great moment of beauty in the late spring/early summer and if you blink, you'll miss it. Have you ever seen a blackberry blossom? I strapped the baby in the Bjorn carrier and took the kids out to the alley behind our home in Seattle and photographed the blackberries in bloom. Why, you ask? Well, they play a vital role in my recently completed third novel (I'm so excited about this story--can't wait to share more!), and I wanted to document them in bloom. The kids were also thrilled to go on an adventure in the alley. They love the alley, especially Russell (2) who loves rocks, and dirt, and mud puddles (are you seeing a theme here?). Look at those delicate, soft blossoms! You'd never know that they're attached to vines thick with thorns! P.S. I'm craving blackberry pie!

So, all last week, every time I gazed out my kitchen window at my garden, a strange sight caught my eye: one of my dahlias looked different. I'd planted a deep red/crimson dahlia, not a white one, and yet why did there seem to be white petals on the flower bush? The plant was too far away from the window to figure out what was going on with it, so I chalked it up to bad vision

We’ve had an awesome summer so far, how about you? Granted, I’ve been really busy, but that’s OK. I like busy. And, I’m blessed to be doing the work I love. It’s been the busiest summer yet with a ton of magazine work–currently juggling some terrific articles for Redbook, Real Simple, Woman’s Day and Glamour (stay tuned for future issues!), writing for (just agreed to do year #3!), finishing the edit process of my novel, and writing my second. Oh, did I mention we’re having another baby? I’ll be sharing boy/girl news here in a few weeks when we hear! For now, here’s a quick glimpse of summer in my casa–the slower moments with the kids. I want to remember all the silliness and beauty of these months, so here they are …

My first bouquet of the season! I cobbled together the following lovelies from my garden to make an arrangement for my grandma (who I got to visit on Friday night) but forgot to grab it before I left (doh!), so here it sits on my desk. Its contents: daisies, red climbing roses, mint (makes a great filler!), and chamomile flowers. Currently sprouting up in the garden for future arrangements: sweet peas, roses (more), dahlias, zinnias, a ton of herbs, lavender and a gazillion other things. I love this little tip that I read somewhere (one I've been practicing for the past few years): Keep a stash of little cheapie vases on hand. Buy them at garage sales, second-hand stores, etc.--the more unique, the better. Then, whenever you have a party to attend or are seeing someone you love (like my grandma), you can snip some flowers from your yard and create a really special gift with a personal touch (and, psst, it's a lot more affordable that a bottle of wine!). Mason jars work really well as vases, too. (I've used them in a pinch.) Do you have a garden?

Hi my dears! I have been away from this blog for a little while–busy at work over at, of course, and on my book, which I’m happy to report is finished and in my editor’s hands at Penguin (and my editor in Germany, too!) where it is now launching forward in the production process. Woohoo! I worked for about three months on the revise, and I couldn’t be more proud, and thrilled, about how it turned out. Of course, I’ll have two more opportunities to review the book prior to publication next summer, so that gives me some comfort. (A writer is never done revising, right?) The book is getting a title change, so stay tuned about that. And, I’m happy to share that I am nearly halfway through my second book, which I’ll be sending to my agent next week for review. I’ll be writing more here about my process (and inspiration!) for book numero deux, so, again, stay tuned.

For now, I want to tell you about this rose …

Oh my goodness, it's sunny in Seattle (crazy, I know), and I totally have spring fever. Here's a bunch of tulips for you. Aren't they pretty? This will be the shortest post in the world because I'm off to do some springy things: a.) walk my dog, b.) plant sweet peas (giddy!), c.) pour a glass of wine and enjoy it on the deck outside while the boys play! Hope it's springy where you are. P.S. I may have some exciting news to share soon, so check back for details!

Isn't this the most beautiful thing? This salmon-colored amaryllis was a gift from my mother-in-law. She brought it over a few weeks before Christmas when it was just a little sprout. Then, miraculously, it bloomed into this on Christmas morning. Of course, I had to snap a photo of it with my new macro lens. (Thank you Santa!) Swoon! This flower always reminds me of my late Grandma Cecelia who loved them, and had a pot on her mantel every Christmas.