Currently and This Space {May2016}

When I originally started writing a blog, I think I was writing for one pure reason- that it felt really good. I was trying to remember things about having babies, buying houses and learning to navigate adulthood, what felt like an unfamiliar world. I used this space to record memories about my kids.  To write each of them letters that someday they can hopefully look back on and read when I’m not around or they just need to “feel me”.  I’m still adamant I’m going to get them on paper in a journal of some sort so they have them.

I didn’t care how good my pictures were as long as I had one of that exact moment I was trying to capture.  And I’m going back to that.  I no longer care who reads this as long as I have a space to write my heart on.

I find life going by at warp speed and suddenly I am trying to stop the train.  Hit the brakes with everything I have because I am afraid I am going to lose the memories of the little things that make this journey so incredibly worth it.

So, I am taking this space back to remember, to record and recount all those things.  Sure, I might tell you about some book I read or what we ate that was delicious (like the prepared fish taco mix from Whole Foods last night) but mostly this place is for my memories.


Reading Angela Duckworth’s new book “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance”.  It’s a really interesting read and as a teacher who believes in the comprehensive high school experience for a student it validates my belief that passion and hard work trump an “A” in an AP course.

Watching as Brady continues to gain a sense of independence that I am still wishing was a few years away.  He is choosing to play with friends anytime over us and all of the sudden he is starting to do his own thing.

“Brady- what do you want for breakfast?”

“Don’t worry about it mom. I’ll figure it out.”


Listening to Cate as she lays on the couch with an iPad. The poor girl just falls apart the last week of school every single spring. Two years ago, she caught the stomach flu.  Last year she got Hand, Foot and Mouth and this year she has strep.  I smelled it on her the minute I got near when I picked her up sick from school.  The bright side, is this one can be fixed with meds. And fast.

Eating anything we can put on the grill at this point.  The reality of living in the Midwest is that we have to use our crock pot and our stove a lot in the winter when it is just too damn cold to cook but since the temperatures have finally gotten in to the 50’s we are using our grill for a change. Those fish tacos last night were awesome by the way.

Wearing almost a uniform these days. I live anything that is denim, stripes, gray and or black. I find myself wanting to buy other things but I have finally realized what does and doesn’t look good on me as I get older and the trends don’t seem to be as important. I am ready to live in workout clothes as summer approaches and the gym is in my daily plan.

Wanting to purge and organize and decorate and clean and redo spaces in our house.  I feel like 4 years later, our home could use some sprucing and updating. We have rooms that still haven’t been touched and walls that need love.  So, I am on a mission this summer to make decisions, pull the trigger and get things moving. I know I say this every year, but it’s time. I might even do a little DIY work in our mudroom. Anyone want to help?

Looking Forward To the end of the school year which is early next week. We have paid a heavy price for our school being under construction. We have had a 5 day week each week which is not typical for schools. But, the payoff is here because we are getting an extended summer that put us out in mid-May and not returning until late August. I need this break. My family needs this break so I can be a mom.  And I’m ready.

Thinking about the weeks to come and the anticipation of big life things. I have discovered my ability to cope is stronger than I thought yet it doesn’t dull the pain that comes with hard things. I wake up each day with a stronger sense of priorities than I ever have.  Maybe that comes with age and the not so easy things but I know that right now my family matters and past that I’m indifferent.  I go to bed thankful even on the hard days because I have learned we are living a lot of life right now and it’s the good stuff.  The stuff you remember on hard days and stuff that make you stronger.

Hopefully, I’m back in this space.  Kindergarten is coming to a close for Brady and our first year of JK is ending for Cate.  There is so much to remember and celebrate.





Friday Rambling {March 2016}

There is no real post today. This is just a random number of thoughts I was thinking about today as we try to finish the week off before spring break.

I was texting one of my besties two nights ago and it went something like this….

“Why is it that at the end of every day, I feel beat up? Like I am seriously beat up? I literally keep asking myself each night if I am getting the flu. ” (Which is my biggest fear right now after watching G get it.)

Her response was perfect.

“Because you work out, run two kids around, work full time and manage a house, etc… I feel that way every day too.”

After that response I found myself oddly at peace with the way that I feel right now and her explanation and just sat with it.  Instead of being cranky about it or feeling sorry for myself or even trying to rationalize it, I just sat with that response and accepted that’s life right now and it’s okay.


I heard a line in an interview yesterday from a candidate that I keep repeating in my head.  It’s a woman I have an indescribable amount of respect for as an educator.  She was talking about balance. She said…

“We need to do a little less, do it better and enjoy it more.”

I feel like I need to adopt this mantra going forward.  Such a simple statement and simple goal to have in mind.


My little family is so ready for a week in the warm weather and the desert.  I think it’s fair to say all of four of us are ready for a break.  I keep reminding myself that we get to move a little slower, be a little sillier, stay up a little later and take a breath from life as we know it.  I can almost feel the sunshine on my face, smell the sunscreen on my kids and my shoulders start to release from the load it’s carrying just thinking about it.




Currently {February 2016}


Reading- I haven’t been reading a lot if isn’t for school.  I am hoping that as spring shows up and we head off to spring break, I might get a chance to dive into a novel.  For work, I am reading “Originals” by Adam Grant. It’s super interesting and totally different than his first book called, “Give and Take”.  I just started “The Ramblers’ for pleasure but I am struggling to keep my attention on it.

Watching- Billions and we finished Narcos.  I love me some “Brody” from Homeland.  I don’t find him attractive per se but I think he is so good on both shows. Some days I wonder if we need cable because we are starting to watch so much Netflix and premium channels like Showtime. I’m excited the Amazing Race is back on and Grey’s Anatomy is the show I just can’t quit.

Listening- to anything country right now especially playlists on Pandora. We have the Amazon Alexa and she works so well with Pandora.  Luke Bryan is coming to Wrigley this summer so I have been listening to his station for most of this month.  I need to get tickets to this show.

Eating- healthy healthy stuff like Plentifuls. My husband has really gone to eating super healthy and so our dinners are looking different and I honestly feel better than ever.  I am starting to believe that food is fuel. I still love salty chips and was introduced to Plentifuls. They are lentils turned in to chips. They are awesome and the perfect “fix” for my salty cravings.

Wearing- I haven’t gotten to a capsule wardrobe but the month of February I have pretty much stuck to grays and black.  Something about wearing the same colors takes the pressure off…I keep changing shoes and jewelry but it makes it so much easier. Also, I am planning clothes for the week on Sunday night and that makes the mornings so much easier.

Wanting- Some new spring stuff including a new swimsuit.  Every single summer, I vow I am going to get a new swimsuit. This is the year. I feel like I owe it to myself to have a suit I feel good in and love to wear. I look everywhere but can’t decide if I want a one piece or a tankini. Wondering if I can accomplish this before we leave.

Looking Forward To- I am  counting down to spring break. We are headed back to the desert and I’m ready to soak up some time with my favorite people and some sun.  We really need this right now… we need a break for the pressures of life and while I am worried about being gone, I know that my little family needs this week together. Maybe we will bring spring back with us.

Daring Greatly

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
~ Theodore Roosevelt

Brene Brown references this quote time and time again in her second Ted Talk, her book which I am currently reading which was a #1 New York Times Bestseller and in almost every speaking engagement she makes.   She spoke at my school two years ago and now she’s back again.

Everywhere I look I hear this quote.

And tonight, as simply as I wander downstairs staring at the pile of magazines I haven’t sat down and read, look at my counter cluttered with homework and mail that needs to be packed and addressed I am struck that today, on this day I am daring greatly.  A day that started at 4:40 in the morning for a one hour workout that is as much for my mental health as it is my physical health. A day that included teaching, meetings, drop offs, appointment scheduling, feeding, bath herding and reading, I am struck that this is what is means to be daring greatly.  Trying to do something, everything, and so often coming up short and erring in some way.

I am in the arena.

I am daring to be a change maker in education who refuses to believe anything but that every single day it is my job to change one students experience for the better.   I am daring to be the mom that I had growing up who loved me and gave me her full attention regardless of what else was going on in her life.  I am daring to be a wife that gives her husband the attention he deserves and the support he needs for us to parent together.  I’m covered in sweat, dust and blood and just trying to hang on.

I am the woman in the arena trying to have it all. And you know what, I still don’t.   And it’s not for lack of effort.  It’s not because I don’t try and want to do better or be more.  Some days I come up short as a mom.  Hell, most days I go bed telling myself I will be better as a mother than I was the day before.  Other days, I walk away wondering if my husband deserves better.  A better partner and bigger cheerleader.   And every day, I walk out of school thinking how I could inspire more, lead better and teach with more passion. And I feel like I failed.

But you know what?.  So what if other mom’s judge me because my kids go to daycare.   Or I don’t get a perfect meal on the table every night.  Or that I still have a couple pounds to lose. I am here. In the arena.  And I am daring greatly.  I’m daring to be in the arena “marred by dust and sweat and blood” to be here.  To live in the today.  To love hard. And be me.

{This post has sat in my drafts folder for 1.5 years.  It’s funny how much and how little things change in 1.5 years.}


This Space

I haven’t written in this space since early November.  That actually sounds about right to me.  I’ve written a lot of things in my head since then.  A couple of time I have actually put some things on paper.  I have never hit publish.  I guess in some ways I am a fraud.  I have always hated the people on social media, whether it’s Instagram or Facebook, who only show you perfect.  Their house perfectly in place all neat and tidy, their kids perfectly dressed and smiling at the camera and their perfectly crafted meals that are always organic and balanced.  I’ve always promised myself that I would show every side. The good, the pretty, the bad and the ugly.  And since November, I have not done that.  I’m actually not going to either.  Because while, I haven’t written here I have also realized that there are some things that are so personal, so close to your heart that they aren’t meant for this space.  Maybe that makes me a sell out or phony. Or maybe I won’t be back in this space for some time.  Because honestly, real life right now is really messy and emotional and complicated.  And I’m keeping that close. That’s all I have at the moment.  And I am going to be okay with it.

1.28 Quote

Currently {November 2015}


enjoying: the indian summer temperatures we have been blessed with this past week.  70’s in November is just gorgeous and perfect. The color of the leaves and trees, the crisp breeze and warm temperatures make the Chicago winter a faraway thought even though we know it could show up tomorrow. Seriously, this fall has been just awesome and this weekend was the perfect fall weather.  Even this week, we have been lucky to have the sun shining and temperatures totally enjoyable.

dreaming: of having a series of days where I have no schedule and responsibilities.  Seriously, I dream of reading when I want, organizing and purging our house, exericising when the sun is actually up for the day, shopping in stores without feeling rushed and preparing food and actually enjoying it while I do it. Does this exist?

loving: I am still loving Orangetheory.  I am a junkie to the place.  I miss it on the mornings I don’t go and feel like for the first time ever I have found a workout that works for me.  The last of the baby weight is finally gone and I finally have some confidence that I am on the right track. I find myself making better food choices as a result and even drinking more water. But most of all, I actually feel better than I ever have since having kids.

watching: my sweet buddy lose every ounce of baby and become a kid.  He ran off with friends on Halloween, would rather play with neighbors than us when we get home from school and seems so big to me all of a sudden.  He’s emotional, opinionated and funny.  I found him unprompted reading to Cate the other morning and playing a game with her after dinner.  He’s growing up faster than I care to admit and I think this is just the beginning.

reading: anything and everything.  I just finished The Kitchen House and started The Japanese Lover.  At school, I haveThe Warmth of Other Suns” by Isabel Wilkerson.  I have stacks of magazines including Food and Wine and Cooking Light at home that I am itching to read  but for now they are staying put until I get some time to read.

quoting: the past president of Illinois Wesleyan Minor Myers who said, “ Go into the world and do well.  But more importantly, go into the world and do good.”  So true and so simple.  We met the family our senior class will build a home for through Habitat for Humanity and I found my eyes with tears.  Some days, I just feel like I or we don’t do enough for the people that need help.  Some days, I feel so fortunate for what I have realizing how easy it is to take for granted.  This family has adults who are employed, willing to do sweat equity to build their house and are humble enough to ask for help.  So we do and it is some of the best work I do as a teacher and the most gratifying.  My hope is that I teach my own kids about what it means to help others. It’s not Calculus but so important.

thinking: about my sweet girl Cate and what is going on in her brain.  School is not her favorite and I don’t blame her.  Lots of boys and one other girl makes the day hard.  But keeping it together all day, means all the emotion comes out in full force at night. The tears, the screaming and the fear of us leaving paralyze her.  She’s waking at night, scared to go to bed and is really taking a toll on all of us.  We are baffled as to what is really going on.  Is it the chicken or the egg or something different all together? What I know, is that I’m tired of the tears but sadder about her fears and willing to do anything to fix this.

drinking: one to many Moscow Mules on Saturday night.  I hate hard alcohol but I sure love that cocktail.  We were out until 2am and I can’t tell you the last time that happened.  The SoHo House is one of the coolest places I’ve been to and a night with my husband with zero responsibilities was totally worth it.  It was fun to a be a couple not mom and dad for the night.  Marriage can be hard and so easy to put to side in the grind of life, but every time I make it a priority I remember why it’s so important.

listening to: the new Adele song that I just can’t stop singing.  I really truly love her music and something about it just speaks to me.    I play it in my car and hum in my office constantly but it’s beautiful and she is one crazy talented lady.  Also, can we talk about the new Meghan Trainor and John Legend song? How catchy is that one too?


Brady {Six}


BradyDear B,

Every year when your birthday rolls around I think that this letter will get easier to write and the truth is that every single year, before I type one word, my mind gets fuzzy and my eyes well with tears because I am truly praying for time to slow down.  Not to mention that life with you is so fun, so all consuming and so dang busy that I am two weeks late on publishing this letter.

Where to start….six years ago you rocked our world and taught us what it means to love with our whole hearts and souls.  Six years later, you have still stolen my heart.  There is this piece of me that is forever holding on to you- my first born, my gentle giant and my bubba.  You are still as easy going as you were in the early days.

You are still my snuggle buddy, the one who needs a hug each night after you take a shower and get ready for bed and the one I sleep with when your daddy is gone.  You are the one who still responds with “and back” each night when I say “I love you to the moon”.

For as naturally athletic as you are, we are seeing just how much you love sports.  From soccer, to baseball, to football and basketball, you are almost always found with a ball in you­­­r hand.  You rarely if ever stop moving.  Even bone tired, you will continue to toss a football in our family room (yes, it will need to stop at some point) with your dad.  You are competitive, wanting to win and spirited when you play.  You don’t get why peers don’t try as hard, run as fast or care as much as you do.  You love your football tracker helmets, football stickers, baseball cards and Rush Zone.  You literally eat, sleep and breathe sports.

You are toothless in the front right now, and your grin literally lights up a room.  Your smile can take away any sadness I carry.  You are genuinely kind, sweet and gentle.  For as big as you are, you are still so gently. You are accommodating to others rarely putting yourself before your friends. You let kids tackle you for no reason even though I know you hate it.  You let your sister go first even though it kills you. You are just good…at your core, you are a good kid.

Kindergarten has been a pretty easy transition. From thriving in the classroom to new friends, you have shown us how adaptable you are.  You hate homework, especially the challenge work, but you know what, you do it.   You love riding the bus.  You love field trips that your enrichment class takes.  You love morning care and the chocolate milk and tolerate after care.

Here’s the tough stuff though…you tend to be a magnet Brady socially. Kids like to play with you and you will play with just about anyone.  You aren’t picky and if you have a preference you rarely make it known.  Maybe it’s because you are big and athletic, silly and the oldest.  Being the oldest also means you can be the leader and other kids will follow. That comes with some huge responsibility.  It’s hard to be you.  Just you. And do what you want to do and think you should do.  To make good choices, the right choice even if it’s the unpopular choice.   It’s hard to choose friends that you like, that you want to play with, and that you think are nice and fun to play with.  It’s hard to say no to ones you don’t want to play with because they aren’t nice to you.   I ask you every morning before part ways,  “What’s the hardest thing to do?” and you always respond, “Be nice to everyone”.  Be a good friend.  Be kind. Be accepting.  Don’t intentionally hurt other people’s feelings.  Love others the way you want to be loved.  Most of all though buddy, remember that we love you.  You. For who you are and what you love. Be Brady.  And I promise, you will be happy.

brady2I love you,


Cate {Four}

­­­­­­­“Though she be but little, she is fierce” “Though she be but little, she is fierce”

cate4Dear Cate,
I thought it might be time to write you a quick letter- to hash some things out.  Someday talking to you might be dicey with the whole teenage thing so hopefully these letters will be something you can hang on to.  You are turning four today.  Four years old and yet as cliché as it sounds it feels more like fourteen- with the sass, emotion, opinions and expressions.  I’ve watched you grow from being in the toddler world in to a little girl that idolizes her daddy, can hold her own with the boys, smiles bigger than ever in a ballet leotard and tights and is so attached to her mommy it is gratifying and terrifying all at once.

You celebrated your birthday for the first time with friends this year…you wanted a party and we tried to deliver.  You declared it, “the best day ever”.  You just want to be big.  To have a connection to your brother and have some attention.  You have blossomed in to an articulate, crazy polite, confident little girl who still makes me question my parenting on a daily basis when you cry.

4 Things I Love About You

  1. I love your deep, pure belly laugh when you’re daddy or I do something funny. You have an innocence when you laugh that reminds me your troubles are oh so small in this world.
  1. I love your intensity. Rarely do I praise this quality that you have because it is impossible to not loathe it when you are negotiating, interrupting or insisting on something.  Any other time, I praise it because I know some day this trait will be the foundation of you doing great things.
  1. I love how truly funny you are… not silly. Witty and funny. You’re humor is on point and funny. And you know that you are funny.  That’s the best part.  You learned this silly game from your daddy that can cut the tension any time.    “Look over there…” and we usually fall for it and look or do it anyways and then you plant the biggest, wettest, kiss on our cheek.   It melts your daddy and I every single time.
  2. I love your sense of adventure and your complete lack of fear.  You will ride any ride.  Climb any slide.  Jump in to any pool.  And you don’t think twice about doing it.  While your brother analyzes everything, you jump in feet first with no hesitation.  Not going to lie, it terrifies us and usually gets you in trouble but I think it’s awesome that you really think you can do anything.

I would be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to tell you four things little girl that you   should think about as you get older.  Things I wish I would have listened to my own mama about when she tried telling me when I was younger.

  1. You are you. Don’t ever try to be someone else.  People see right thru it.  Be you.  Be proud of you.  We are and always will be proud of who you are. Don’t ever stop being you- people don’t like you it’s their loss.
  1. Being nice and taking the high road is always the better choice. I’m not proud of it, but there are times that I have been the one saying hurtful things and it never ever made me feel better. Not one time.  Maybe in the moment in did but in the end, I felt worse. Remember that words hurt and are rarely forgotten so think. Think before you speak.
  1. Confidence is a good thing. As my dear friend Kristen tells me constantly, “I’ve never met a strong girl I didn’t like”.  Know what you stand for at your core and never compromise. Don’t ever let someone tell you that you can’t do something.  You can do anything love bug. If you think you can, you will.  Your daddy and I will be there to cheer you or catch you if you fall.
  1. More isn’t always better. For so long, I thought the more friends I had, the better off I was. But, you know what I have learned in the past few years- a couple really great friends is better than 100 okay ones.  Don’t be afraid to cut the dead weight and focus on the ones you love.  Keep your family first.  Defend them, love them, prioritize them and find some true, genuine friends. Trust me.

I love you little girl.  Keep being you… with your messy hair in your face.  Your fifteen blankets over your head in your bed.  Your long legs that go for days.  Your imagination and inclination to make a mess whenever we turn an eye.  With your requests for juice the first words out of your mouth in the morning.  And your big grin with those raised eyebrows when you need to lighten the mood.  That little girl has a piece of my heart.  And I love her “the best and the most”.  Happy Birthday Caterade!




We Were Early

{This has been sitting in my drafts from when I didn’t post.}

We were early. We took a seat in the back half.  As I was sitting in the auditorium looking around, I only recognized two familiar faces- a neighbor and a colleague from my own school.  We were all there for the same reason. Dressed differently…some looking like they just stepped out of their offices, others coming from a workout or at least wearing the gear.  We were all here for one reason.

Kindergarten orientation.

How did we get here? How can we possibly be sending our first born to kindergarten when it feels like we just got him out of diapers and his first words were barely uttered? 

The principal, soft spoken yet assuring had a way of stopping my mind from racing and asking the same question over and over again silently in my head, “Will he be okay?”

Logistics, schedules, drop-off, the PTA, and curriculum all talked about yet all I could think about was, “Will he be okay?”

We started taking a tour with other parents. Unfamiliar and large the hallways seemed to wind in a way that didn’t make sense to me.  I felt disoriented.  Connected to none of them, walking in the back of a pack I kept thinking, “Will he be okay?”

I didn’t ask questions like the others. I didn’t talk to new faces.   I didn’t say much at all.  I was trying to take it all in- process what the school, this new place, meant for our family, our lives and our days.  New routines. A drop that does not allow us to get out.  A day that includes morning care, kindergarten, kindergarten enrichment, after school recreation, soccer and more.  And I kept wondering, “Will he be okay?”

We met 2 of the 3 kindergarten teachers.  Lovely, warm, clearly cut out to be with little kids.  We had casual conversations with other parents so confident about sending their kids to kindergarten and expressing their child’s excitement with smiles plastered on their faces and all I could think was,

“Will he be okay?”

For over 4 years, my daily commute to school has included him in the backseat. We talk. We laugh. We sing. We dance. We walk in to school together and usually a couple of times a week I get to see him in the middle of my day.

As we sat down to eat dinner after, my husband looked over at me.  Knowing that my mind was racing, consumed by thoughts of fear, anxiety and worry, he stared in to my eyes.  “He’ll be okay”.  So confident that our first born is ready for kindergarten.

I know he’ll be okay.  I know that he is so easy going that he will adapt, adjust and find his way. I know that routines will change and new friends will be found. I just hope he’ll be okay.

Brady edit

Real Talk

I really miss writing.  It’s cathartic and therapeutic. It’s a really great outlet for me to be real and put some things out there.  It’s also any easy place to hide and make life look like it is perfect.  It’s totally not by the way.

When I started blogging, right after we bought our first home in the city, I wrote because I loved having a space to document our new house and my first pregnancy.  I was naive about blogging, took terrible pictures (still do) and wrote just what was on my mind.  At the same time, I also got caught up in reading the popular blogs, mostly mommy blogs if I am bieng honest.  I was trying, not very hard, to be a “blogger” with these visions of it becoming something bigger, better, and more important.  And it never did.  I went from blogger to WordPress-even though I still have no clue how to use WordPress.  Most days, I am guessing it was just my mama reading.

And two kids later, a different house, a move from urban to suburban and a lot of other things along the way, I just kind of stopped writing for me.  And for my kids.  I still write them 2 letters a year.  But, I stopped documenting some of the little things that I want to remember.

But, here’s the thing.  I still miss writing.  In the summer, I find my mind restless because I am not writing.  About all kinds of things- food, photography, kids, life, exercise and just news.  So, I am going to give this writing thing a go… maybe not here.  Maybe not in this space- that part I don’t know about yet.  For now, I’m staying.   Regardless, I am going to start writing again for me- not worrying about who reads it or how many page views I get.  I am just going to write.