Archives for June 2012

Home

I am sitting on the front porch of my parent’s home writing this listening to the faint sound of cars on one of the main streets in their town. There are insects buzzing, leaves rustling but other than that it is pretty quiet at their home, in my hometown. 

Home is a funny word if you think about it. Some people talk about it literally as the place where they dwell, that they drive to at the end of the day or a place to keep things they buy.  Others say it abstractly and define home as if it is synonymous with family.  Me, well I sit somewhere in the middle I guess.

Home is where I can take my shoes off and stay awhile.  Home is where I can be myself not worried about others’ opinions or to do lists that always seem to be a mile long.  Home is just simply that place where I am a mama, wife and daughter. Home is with my family regardless of town and I am happy to be home. 

This girl gives the best hugs and when she does you don’t want to ever let go. 
We are settling in for the week at my parent’s home.  It is not the home that I grew up in, where the memories are deep in the walls, the basketball hoop on the uphill driveway has rust from one to many games of horse and my old room was covered in cork boards with pictures but it is home simply because it’s where my parents live, they welcome us with open arms and that is enough.  Every time I leave my home and to go to their home, this anxiety creeps in my body making me wonder if I am capable of making the trip, doing the majority of the parenting while I am gone and if I should even leave my own home where routines are familiar, there is a second parent and I am completely comfortable. 

Then I get here, I settle in and so do my kids.  We fall back in to routines that are similar to home, paw paw and mimi become their favorite playmates and I remember why I miss this home.  
Life stops or at least slows down dramatically.  And I finally feel like summer vacation has begun.  Maybe it’s escaping the fast pace of the city that wears you on you eventually or the fact that I can hear crickets chirp when I go to bed.  Either way, I am relaxed, reflecting and content at this moment. 

The biggest dilemmas each day surround how we will get to Starbucks, where to swim and eat ice cream and who is going to push Cate or water the flowers. 
My kids sleep better, my mind is more at ease and I am better at reflecting and being grateful for all the things I have instead of what I want.  I miss my husband when I am home remembering why he is my partner but know knowing he deserves a break and that he misses us.  I also appreciate my parents.  I appreciate them as parents knowing they fought the same battles I do- “No do not throw the blocks.  It is nap time. We have read two books and now it is nigh-nigh time.  We do not spit out our food after we jam twenty crackers in our tiny mouth.” And I appreciated them as grandparents.  Seeing them with my kids is fierce reminder why our kids need their grandparents in their lives. 

 They are best buddies. 

We are crossing things off that summer bucket list while we are down here  including the pool, the farm, the splash pad, the museum and fire station,  But we are also just slowing down and I need it. It’s good to be home. 
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Tidbits of Talk {Volume 21}

Tidbits of Talk

Happy Friday Friends! I am back with Tidbits of Talk because it is probably my favorite post of the week and I feel like I have so much to say and haven’t been doing it lately.   We are headed to TWO weddings this weekend and then are essentially off for three weeks of vacation. Lots of pool, beach and other adventure time coming our way so I am sure I will have plenty to share on this blog and pictures overload.

~ I got a message from a college friend on Fb letting me know she reads this little blog and asking my advice about something. For me that was all I need to keep writing for a while. We were friends in college, lost touch, and yet 10 years later I find myself reconnecting with her as we discuss motherhood instead of what bar to start drinking at on a Saturday night.

~I am obsessed with Coke right now. Not Diet Coke. Real sugary coke. From McDonald’s. It is $1.10 with tax.   Someone stop me please. This is going nowhere good. I am staying up later, sleeping worse and the calories and sugar can’t be good for me. I drink very little pop but right now it is my daily obsession.

~I took Brady to the beach on Tuesday. I was trying to figure out how to get sunscreen on my back. I asked him to spray his on me since he knows how to do it and loves to make is spray.  I figured some of it would end up on my back. Nope. Nada. Zilch. Zero. So, I have one bright red back to show for it.

~I have been selling stuff like crazy on Craigslist. I am on a tear right now and my husband is pleased because we are getting rid of things from our house.  I would love to do something fun with the cash but I am thinking it will go to buying Cate’s nanny a nice double stroller if we are in the city or to buy  Brady a strider bike. Any recommendations for a double stroller? Hard to justify $600 when Brady is not totally interested in riding in one daily. 

~I took Brady to Trader Joe’s this week. Weird place. I still just don’t get the obsession some people have about it but he loved being able to push his own cart and put things in it. The employees were great but I am still not sold on the food. I couldn’t find much that I thought my family would eat so I am not sure I can work it in to my groceries.

~One minute my mama tells me my flowers are “too wet” and now I am pretty sure they are dead. The summer heat is making me look incompetent in the gardening arena.  I am terrified to even try to grow basil at this point. What gives? I have never had issues keeping flowers alive like this before.

~Cate is so close to crawling. Watch out everything. I fear for Brady and his toys the most.

~Cate has all these crazy teeth and she is getting more. So many more that must be so painful that she is biting her own wrist leaving bite marks and bruises to show for it. Breaks my mama heart…

Photo: My favorite girl and I.  http://instagr.am/p/MHUfFzhNXv/
~ We spent some unplanned and planned time with one of Brady’s oldest friends and his mama yesterday. It’s weird. She and I are both so busy with our lives, jobs, families etc…yet yesterday I was reminded quickly why I see her as such a good friend, enjoy any time I spend with her and look forward to our kids growing up together.

Photo: My best boy http://instagr.am/p/MJqTD3hNQJ/
Happy weekend! The pride parade is in town here which means traffic jams and people everywhere! See you next week!

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The Beach {Brady Bucket List}

The summer fun continues and Chicago weather has not disappointed us.  It has been in the 90’s every day this week; brilliant sunshine has given all of our skin a glow, and the wind. Goodness, the windy city it living up to its reputation this week.

I grew up around the water. I am not sure I know why or how, but I know that I was in the water my entire childhood- swimming lessons, lazy afternoons with my parents at our public pool, parties at the waterpark and then working as a lifeguard for almost my entire teen years and early twenties.  Vacations in our household always revolved around water whether it was in Florida, Lake of the Ozarks or the Caribbean.   And for whatever reason, I still love the water.  When we lived on Lake Shore Drive, the best thing about our building was the amazing pool we had on our second floor and having Lake Michigan in our front yard.  Fortunately for me my kids love it too. Taking a bath is a favorite activity in our house daily.   
Notice Cate being her typical busy self trying to grab at Brady. Brady usually cares but was cooperating for this shot. 
Sibling love 

Brady has been talking about the beach for months. I am not sure how it even started. Maybe from watching Mickey Mouse but honestly one day he just kept telling me he wanted to go to the beach.  That is where his trucks go when he runs them across our kitchen floor.  He asks me daily if we are “going to beach to play in the sand”? The proof that he loves the beach is in his shoes when he comes home for school. Sand in every crevice of his socks and shoes from the playground at his daycare.  He plays in it at any opportunity. If we go to a park that has a sand pit, he finds it.    

We ventured to Foster Avenue Beach. We had to take a lot of stuff since it was in the high 90’s.  A cooler full of water, fruit and snacks, a beach bag full of toys, towels, sheets, a stroller to get the stuff and him there and sunscreen.  The toughest part of the day was getting to and from the beach. 

Once we got there, he was in heaven. Seriously, in sand heaven.  He immediately started digging and throwing sand.  
He filled his buckets, patted the sand, he dumped the buckets, and did this cycle all over again. He even ventured in to the water.  He realized it was shallow and got daring enough to sit in it since I did.  The water was pleasantly warm and the beach was packed.  We used buckets and dump trucks and shovels and cups.  We poured water in to holes that we dug, we stepped in the holes, we buried our feet and  just enjoyed the morning.  He would “plop” sand on my legs as I sat at the water’s edge and every time he did it, he smiled. 

Look at his monster feet at 2.5  
We had sand in every crevice and found some on the kitchen floor and his bedroom floor when I was putting him to bed last night. I think that is just what I needed to know that our beach day was a success.  

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Brady Bucket List- Navy Pier

This summer is about Brady. 

Without getting too defensive…yes, I know I have a sweet nine month old named Cate but honestly, the best advice I got from someone when our family expanded was to “meet Brady’s needs first”.  I think we have done that pretty well but I can always do more.  Cate is with a nanny she loves and we have to pay her regardless of how often we use her in the summer.  Not to mention, Cate needs routine and structure and sleep and attention and all of those things are really hard when you have an almost three year old who has boundless energy.  So, I am committed to making good use of time she is well taken care of and I am trying to enjoy Brady and make as many memories as possible.  
  
I wanted to create a Brady Bucket List for this summer…a way to hold me accountable for getting out and about and exploring the city with him.  Things beside the park, Costco and a daily trip to Starbucks.  Something to list all of the things I want to experience with him.  If you remember last summer, we spent a good portion of it in a big blue cast and me obscenely pregnant,  so this summer he we are ready to do it all. 


My parents came in to town on Wednesday night and Thursday we decided Nave Pier was calling our name. The weather was perfect.  They have a wonderful Children’s Museum which is free if you have a membership to any other Children’s Museum in Illinois.  That was the purpose of going but there was more, so much more.  



He was in awe the entire morning. 

We started walking along the water looking at the boats, the water, the people on the boats and anything else that made noise.  He just kept saying “big boats” and “mama look” and I honestly just kept clicking on my camera.


We kept talking to him about the ferris wheel, confident he would refuse to ride it. But as we approached it, he kept saying “ I want to ride that eeris wheel” and “I want to go high”.  So we stood in line, got our tickets and were the first group placed in Car 1. 





He kept looking around like he didn’t know where to focus. His eyes darting from Lake Michigan, to the skyline, to the boats below. And for one second, he said he wanted to get off and I think we all panicked.  In his defense, we stopped and we were swaying. Even my tummy felt a bit funny. 


But rest assure, he loved it. All of it.  He even asked to ride again. 

We made it to the museum and I can honestly tell you I wasn’t sure what to expect. But it was better than I imagined and huge.  
There was a fire station complete with coats, a truck, hoses  and even a fire truck.  



There was a construction zone complete with a digger, tools and hard hats.  

 There were bowling pins and dominoes.  Have you ever seen a 2.5 year old be so precise before knocking something down? 


There were city buses, cars that needed gas,  new license plates and tires.  



And of course there was a water tables that had him in his own little euphoria.  


He was so busy and had so much fun that as we were walking out I thought he might fall asleep standing up and then when he asked me to carry him and his head was on my shoulder I realized that this is life the way it should be lived.  Doing things, exploring things, enjoying things.  




There were rides on shoulders, snuggles, silliness and most importantly memories made. 


We grabbed lunch in the food court and his eyes were so heavy. His lids blinking with every bite. 


And the way home was a struggle to keep him awake- each of us pulling out our own tricks to keep his eyes open.  Chicago Lake Shore Drive traffic did us no favors thanks to a Cubs game and construction.  


When we got home we were rewarded with a 2.5 hour nap that would have gone longer if I would have let it. 

I remind myself that not everything has to cost money and there are going to be days that we do go to the park and Costco but when I can, I am going to take advantage. I want the memories and pictures to remind me what a special age this is and what a special little boy I have. 


Next up, the beach!


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To The Man I Love and My Kids Call Dad

On this day simply stated, 
we love you. 
Happy Father’s Day and Happy Birthday! 
Two for one combo this year! 
Love, 
Kristi, Brady and Cate

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A Meme…I Just Can’t Do Tidbits Right Now

Life right now is indescribable in words. This is not the place for my thoughts or emotions so a meme is replacing tidbits of talk this week and I guess it will have to suffice for missing last week as well. My husband is away for work, my parents have been here and I just don’t have it in me to try to write tidbits of talk because frankly I can’t so a meme it is…


Current Book(s)– I just finished Kelle Hampton’s “Bloom”. Have you read it? Honestly, I was moved to tears more than I care to admit but they were happy tears and I found myself celebrating my kids and husband and doing some serious reflecting. She is a blogger I read religiously and I am glad I sprung for her book. I still have “Insurgent” on my ipad as well.  I am struggling with it because I read the first book “Divergent” so long ago…like last May and I can’t remember characters and I am trying to decide if I need to reread the first to read the second.


Playlist– Hmmm, I rarely have my nano in my ears because I have been into yoga for a workout and when I do run I am listening to things like Black Eyed Peas, Girl Talk, Rodney Atkins and LMFAO. Random right? I listen to the Wicked and Rent soundtracks when I cook dinner and blast any country music playlist I can find on Spotify.


Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure – Dairy Queen Ice Cream cake. Confession…we told Brady it was all gone and it is not and after he goes to bed I keep sneaking a piece. And last weekend I left a fork and piece in the freezer on a plate so all day long I could have a bite when I wanted one.


Current Color – white. It is so crisp, so clean and just adds a pop to everything.  Not exactly the most flattering but I still am loving it.


Current Drink – Coke. Every since I had Cate, I just can’t drink Diet Coke which was my faithful drink for lunch. Now, when I crave carbonation I just crave the sugar from the real thing and I am so tired that the caffeine does not even bother me.


Current Food – It is hot and windy and sunny and blue skied in the Windy City right now so I am loving anything we can throw on the grill. We had some amazing Copper River Salmon the other night, chicken is a stand by and Brady loves hot dogs on the grill and so does his mama.


Current Favorite Show – Game of Thrones is the newest show I started watching and Mad Men gets me every week. I was so hestitant to watch Game of Thrones probably because I didn’t want to admit my husband was right but now I get it. I don’t love history but the plot, the huge amount of characters and the fighting is pretty easy to watch. And who doesn’t love Mad Men? If you aren’t watching these two, you should be.


Current Wishlist – Honestly, I wish for a long weekend with my husband. We so need some time right now and I think we have earned it.  We need some time away from our daily grind and I am not optimistic we will find it but a girl can hope. And I wish for silly things like cold beers on my deck, sun kissed kids and stress free days at the beach. I should be able to make most of these things happen sooner than later since I am on summer vacation.


Current Needs – I need to clean off my external hard drive, purge some things at school and home and I need to get my life organized. I put so many things off and tell myself I will deal with them when school is out. And now it is so I am going to tackle some things. Since I have a hoarder personality, this is big and no one should get in the way because I am motivated.


Current Triumphs – I have survived the toughest week in my life this past week and I have the best partner next to me. Honestly, he hates to be talked about on this blog, but this week I am grateful for him, our marriage and the true meaning behind the word partner. We may not see eye to eye every day about every issue on every level but he is my partner.


Current Bane(s) of my Existence – I plead the fifth.  (No really you don’t want to know.)


Current Celebrity Crush – Yikes, I have watched very little TV but Don Draper is a daper looking man…for an older guy.


Current Indulgence – Random, but there are these parmesan crisps things that are sold at Whole Foods. You used to be able to get them off the salad bar and pay next to nothing for them. Now, Whole Foods got smart, packaged them up and they are EXPENSIVE.  What isnt’ in there and I still find myself buying them weekly. And not sharing.


Current #1 Blessing – That I have a happy, healthy family.


Current Slang or Saying– Womp, womp, womp…. I swear it is my response to most things.


Current Outfit-  I have been rotating between running clothes, maxi dresses and bright shorts and tees from J.Crew depending on the day. 


Current Excitement- I am excited for summer vacation to really start. I am excited for the Brady Bucket List that I plan on documenting on this blog.  He and I have quite a plan for our summer and I am ready…


Current Mood – Confused

Who wants to answer these questions next?

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Cate {Nine Months}

Cate {9 Months} A Few Weeks Late

I wrote this huge post two days after my girl’s 9 month birthday, transferred it to blogger and swore I saved it.  Then, I went to edit and publish it the next morning and it was gone. How does that happen? I don’t know but since then my life has been turned upside down so the post has not been re-written. And honestly, I am sad. I wrote a post that shared a secret with you about something I do with my kids but maybe it’s meant to be my secret so here I am with a new post about my best girl. 

I am ten days late ready to tell you about my best girl and all that is going on with her.  I had to go back to the letter I wrote her on her nine month birthday to remember some of the small things but this is what I will tell you simply stated…I am lucky. Lucky to be her mama and lucky to call her mine and every day with her reminds me the most important job in the world is to be her mama. 

As parents I think we are our children’s best and worst critic. We complain about the little things and tend to think our kid is special. I am no different. I think she is really special and the way she pinches me daily with her little fingers drives me crazy but what is really important is that Cate’s 100% healthy, thriving and that is enough.

Sure she is barely in the 50th percentile for weight and the 90th percentile for height but my pediatrician calls that healthy. What can I say? She HATES the bottle, barely taking 12 ounces a day and loves people food. It definitely keeps us on our toes and every day we just hope she has drank enough. The paranoid mom in me is worried she drinks so little that she will start waking up in the middle of the night hungry but my pediatrician assures me she won’t. 

She is showing very little interest in crawling or walking. She likes to stand for short periods of time and she is trying to pull up but she is such a runt that she is not strong enough. She still loves her feet. I mean it is not like she licks them for a split second, she literally sucks on them like she is nursing and will even attempt to do it in a sitting position. She also loves, I mean loves, to eat carpet. We can’t set her down on it because in a blink of an eye she pulls some up and eats it.  
She repeats a lot of sounds and when she is upset she says “ma ma ma ma ma”. She waves at the fan, people, her brother and anything else she feels like and making noise tends to be a favorite activity.

This month we started bathing our kids together. Brady loves to be the “engine” in the front of the bath and he tells Cate each night that she is the “caboose”.  She doesn’t care. She creeps on his space, makes noises so he will notice her and just loves having him that close.

She is everything a nine month old should be- curious, expressive, cuddly, and messy. And for that I am just grateful. We had her pictures taken last weekend and I am dying to see them. Hopefully this is the beginning of me writing again. 
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Tidbits of Talk {Volume 19}

Happy Friday friends! It is a new month (probably one of my favorite months) which means my favorite girl gets a month older. Glad that I am back in the swing of blogging and I anticipate with summer on the horizon I will find time to write even more frequently.

~Why do four day work weeks seem like six day work weeks? Seriously, I loved having an extra day off but these weeks always seem to go by too fast, I try to accomplish too much and it leaves me feeling like I did not get it all done.

~Wedding season is in full swing this weekend for us. This week is special because the girl getting married happens to be someone I treasure my friendship with probably more than she knows. She has taught me that it is not about how often you talk, but that you do talk and when you do you make the most of it. All I want is to see her happy and this weekend she will have her dream wedding and I can’t wait to celebrate with her. I am wearing this dress… weird but it is WAY shorter on me than in the picture.

~ I have been gathering a list of things I want to do this summer with Brady.  He and I’s bucket list so to speak.  I am counting the days down until we can actually go do some of them. 

~I rocked a pair of white jeans from J.Crew last week and I loved them so much I have them on again today. I think white jeans can be scary because they are not flattering but I love how fresh they make an outfit look and have a feeling I will be wearing them a ton this summer.

~ Game of Thrones. Okay, so my husband was right. It is awesome and a time suck and I am addicted. I only watch one episode a night as of now because it is about all I can handle but seriously who knew history could be so cool.

~ I know I am jinxing us but last Sunday on a whim we stopped lying with Brady until he fell asleep.  All week Glenn and I have been reading to him, tucking him in once at the most twice and he has been falling asleep on his own. Amazing how much time I have gotten back each night…

~I NEED some inspiration for Cate’s 9 month pictures next weekend. I have this vision but cannot seem to work it out so for now I have no clue what she is wearing… maybe it will be a naked baby shoot.

~Okay I am committing to the Instagram June Photo Challenge. It really shouldn’t be that hard to take one picture a day but I FAILED in May. Want to join me? 

Happy June! And Happy Weekend! 
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