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.


Books of 2015 {February, March and April}

I thought I was going to update you each month on what I was reading. Well, then life happened and I didn’t read a single book in February.  Weird month to not read since winter was in full effect, but I didn’t. However, I have since picked up my pace and been reading quite a bit lately.

Shotgun Love Songs: A Novel

Quick Review: I had a hard time getting in to the book and it lasted longer than I would have liked but the story was interesting not something I had read before.

Thumbs Up

All the Light We Cannot See

Quick Review: Again, a slow start. But a Pulitzer Prize later, I could not stop turning the pages. I

Thumbs Up

The Nightingale 

Quick Review: Hands down my favorite book I have read this year. It is about WW2 and occupied France. I was sobbing at the end on a Sunday morning in our dining room finishing it.

Prodigal Son

Quick Review: Predictable, easy to read.


The Liar

Quick Review: Easy to read. I was turning pages like crazy trying to finish this monster book. Good chick read.

Thumbs Up

Okay, so there is what I have been reading. How about you? What do you have for me? Summer is almost here which means I will have some time to dive in to some books.



Friday Randoms V.16

Oh man, quiet over here in blog land. Some days I will tell you I literally just had nothing to write and other days I knew I had things to say but wasn’t really wanting to put them out there for all to read.

This week was just weird.  And hectic. And weird.  When we have a busy weekend, I feel like we don’t recover really well the next week.  Coupled with the fact that Cate has had a cold for a long time and a fever showed up Wednesday night which feels weirdly fitting for this week.  I caught a cold earlier this week and I am still suffering through it.  I feel like I have been sick every other month since Christmas.   Prior to this year, I have been pretty healthy but this year has not been great.  Add to that, work has been a beast.  I’ll just leave it at that for now.  A beast that I am not dealing with very well right now.  And I have to chaperone the prom on Saturday night.  It is a lovely night.  Really lovely night once you get there.   But getting there and the days leading up to it are hard.  No one likes being out on a Saturday night at my age until midnight, with teenagers and without booze.  The upside of all of this is that my mama is on her way and my pops will be here tomorrow so there’s that positive.

If you saw my Facebook post last weekend, my ma scored big at the Lilly Pulitzer for Target extravaganza last weekend. She braved the crowds since mine was not even bearable and managed to score quite a few things for Cate and I.  I’m dying to try them on and keep thinking some returns might make their way back in to the store soon. A girl can hope right? Have you seen the resale market? Ebay sellers are charging the same for this merchandise as it costs for regular Lilly stuff. Insanity I tell you.

Brady is in full t-ball swing. We followed the rules and put him in the 4/5 year old league for non-Kindergartners and let me tell you- big mistake playing by the rules. He was huge. A beast among babies and his athleticism really showed.  So we moved to the kindergarten league where tons of kids not in kindergarten are playing but it is pretty much the same and we are waiting for him to say he is bored. I’m not ready for him to get older but I am ready for him to start playing more organized sports. I need something to challenge him on that front besides Glenn and I in the front yard.

Around the Internet

I am truly a loyalist and a lover of J. Crew. But lately, some of their stuff has my head scratching.  This article is so funny and on point.  Bring back the classics. Please.

This article is interesting just because I know people that this situation is theirs but I fall in the others category where it is not the case.  I don’t feel like I “get it” or it “resonates” with me because honestly I work because it makes sense financially,  for insurance and because I love it.  If one of those things changed, I’m not sure where I would stand. If there is one thing being married to my husband has done, it has made me have a more critical eye with money. Scary.

And finally, this video had tears running down my face.

What We Ate

Monday- Grilled Kabobs

Tuesday- Grilled Chicken and Scalloped Potatoes

Wednesday- Sushi and Sandwiches

Thursday- Burgers

Friday- ?

Happy Weekend. Enjoy it… I know I am ready for some time with my mama and pops.



Scottsdale Spring Break

My husband’s only request when we talked about spring break for this year was he did not want to go back to Florida. I am from the school of tradition and he is from the school of trying new things. So, given that he has finally conceded and realized that we will also have to travel at spring break I agreed to try something new.  It’s all about compromises right?

We knew we needed to go somewhere that weather would not be an issue.  We concluded we could go to Arizona or Mexico.  I am just not ready to travel internationally with my kids.  So, it was Arizona or bust.

Where We Stayed: Westin Scottsdale Kierland Villas

The Basics: Overall, we had a lovely week at the Kierland.  It is a five star resort and we realized that between their shuttles, golf carts and proximity to everything we probably didn’t need a rental car. The main resort was huge.  I mean it was massive.  We chose to stay in the Villas which were separated from the main resort by a golf course.  We had a one bedroom villa with golf views.

THE GOOD- We were on the first floor which with kids was awesome. The resort was clean and the staff, specifically housekeeping and the pool staff was so friendly.  And the concierge was really helpful.  Our pool was QUIETER than the main resort pool.  There were outdoor bars at both resorts so we could easily get drinks after dinner and let our kids run. The shuttle service between the resorts, the Kierland Commons and Scottsdale Quarter was awesome.  Our kids loves the activities at the pool, the games all around the pool area and the constant activity.  The food options at the pool and for room service were great which included large kids menus.  The bagpiper each night was so cool to watch and listen to in the evenings.


MY COMPLAINT- Being new to the resort, we did not realize that some things would be impossible to do.  For example, they really promote and our kids were really excited to go to a kid’s only pajama party while adults ate at one of their gourmet restaurants.  The problem was they were fully booked for the pajama party every night we were there in February.  Would have been nice to know that we needed to do that way in advance.


  1. Both pools opened at 9am and there was a line to get in by 8 each morning if you wanted a deck chair.  If you want to rent a cabana at either pool, do it in advance. They were booked for the week well before we arrived.
  2. Buy an inner tube for each kid. It could be used on the water slides, on the lazy river and in the pools the entire week. Best money we spent.
  3. Book your Pajama Party, Kids Club (we didn’t use this), and cabana in advance if you want access.
  4. Do not use the hotel crib. They promised it was a full size crib and it was a mini. It was tiny. Cate was a trooper and slept in it but just rent one.  On that note, we used Sweet Pea Baby Rentals for car seats and a stroller and I can’t say enough great things about Sarah and her services. Our Bob Jogging Stroller was in amazing condition and our car seats were clean and easy to get installed.  Sarah was so easy to work with.  If you need to do rental of gear in Scottsdale, use her! She was the best we used on any vacation.

Where We Ate:

Breakfast- We ate breakfast in our villa most mornings but ventured to a great place across the street from our hotel one morning called PERK.  It was great food and inexpensive.  Cute diner with really great breakfast.

Lunch- This varied by day whether we were at the pool and ordered to our deck chairs, were out and about and ate at places like Corner Bakery or In n Out which was ridiculously good.


Sunday Night {GRIMALDI’s}- The pizza was super thin and the sauce was on the sweet side but it was really good. We ordered a house salad that was okay. Easy meal for our first night.  RECOMMEND

Monday Night {Catina Laredo}- This place was awesome.  It was not overpriced and the food was fantastic.  Glenn had spinach and mushrooms enchiladas and I had ahi tuna tacos.  We had tableside guacamole made and great drinks.  Probably our favorite meal. HIGH LY RECOMMEND

Tuesday Night {Brio Italian Food}- This was probably our worst meal of the week. The food was generic, portions were tiny and it was expensive. Honestly, it felt like bad chain food.  SKIP IT

Wednesday Night {RA Sushi and Room Service}-  We ordered room service for the kids and picked up RA Sushi for Glenn and I. It was fine but by no means great.  The room service kids menu was great and our kids ate everything! It was quick, affordable and the service/delivery was great.  As for RA it’s a SKIP IT.

Thursday Night {Zipps Sports Bar}- This is a hidden gem! We went in with LOW expectations but wanted to watch some of the Blackhawks game.  The food was fantastic, our waitress was great and it was reasonably priced.  The wings were fantastic (think Schooners style) and our burgers were huge! HIGHLY RECOMMEND

Friday Night {Benihana}- It was a cool experience and one that we promised Brady. I by no means need to go back but I am glad we went since Brady loved every minute of it. NEUTRAL

What We Did

We were not super scheduled out in Scottsdale but we had some fun.

We went to a Spring Training game that was a blast except it was REALLY HOT. Sloan Park was unreal.  We made it 3.5 innings in the outfield grass.  We took a pedicab to and from the stadium which was really fun.  Our kids loved that. The stadium was new and beautiful and there were tons for our kids to do when they weren’t watching the game.

We spent a morning at McCormick-Stillman Park.  It was huge and had tons of things to explore. We rode the train and carousel, got to walk thru a Presidential Pullman car and they had a HUGE park that was covered where our kids could have played forever.

One morning we went to Cracker Jax and did the whole amusement park. We played mini golf, rode bumper boats, kid go carts, played in the batting cage and games.  It was not expensive and our kids had so much fun!


We had such a great vacation in Scottsdale.  I am not going to lie… I missed the water. I missed waking up to waves being able to walk in the surf each day but Scottsdale blew my expectations away. The sun was shining every single day and there was not one ounce of humidity which was great.


Project 52 Week 14

I did not take my fancy camera to AZ. So, you get a collage of Instagram pictures that I posted over the past week. az


Come follow me on instagram!


Monday Ramblings

Well, hello Monday! I guess it was inevitable that after a week on vacation we are back at it in full daily routine mode. I’m planning on telling you all about our vacation to Scottsdale later but I will tell you this much- it was really sunny, really hot and a lovely break from our daily reality. I’ll give you all the details in the next week or so- where we stayed, what we did and what we learned.

Our return from Scottsdale was made a bit easier since Mimi and PawPaw were at our house waiting for us.  They had dinner ready, Easter baskets completed, eggs stuffed and our refrigerator full. Honestly, that took a ton of stress off my plate. Seriously, we had a 2 hour delay leaving Phoenix so the travel day home was long.

We had our first Easter Egg Hunt at our house and it was so much fun. Cate and Brady are so compeititive and so in to the spirit of holidays.  5.5 and 3.5 are pretty awesome ages.  Look at his face (taken from my instagram account).


I can’t believe that April is already here! I guess that is great news since we are on the final countdown to summer vacation and all the fun that comes with it. The beach, the pool, the lazy mornings and long nights outside.

April is a really hectic month for us.  Full of good stuff but it’s hard when you have been gone for 7 days to not feel overwhelmed when you get back. I have to do lists inside to do lists that I need to tackle.

I want to tell you about my Orangetheory obsession and what I’ve been reading.

But for now, Happy Monday folks!



Lust and Bust

Well, hello Monday! We are out in the desert soaking up some seriously needed sunshine and family time.  I think the build up to traveling is enough to make me crazy but I have to tell you that I typed this before we left because my laptop is at home- right where it’s supposed to be.

As I’ve gotten older and in all honesty, since I have become a mom, I have found that shopping online is an easy way for me to keep my wardrobe updated with relative ease. I would rather shop in person, but it just doesn’t always happen.


The dress was a bust. I feel like it was way too busy for my small frame and I am honestly tired of chevron. Really tired of it… so as cute as the color combo of mint, red and black and the crossing stripes are it just didn’t work for me. I tried it with wedges and I still couldn’t make it work.  Darn it. Bust.

The top is a lust. I have been looking at this shirt online for two weeks now. It’s not in stores yet. It’s in my shopping bag online.  My worry is the stripe is ivory.  If it’s white, I’m buying it! So cute right?


Friday Randoms V.12

I made it. We made it. To one of the most glorious days of the year.  The last day of school before spring break. I am  committed  to traveling at spring break. To taking a week to get a away and find the sunshine.  I need it. Seriously, I need it. And my kids are so excited.  From a time perspective, it feels like a month away. And when we come home, it’s a 9 week push to summer.  All of this makes me happy.

Around the Internet…

I saw the link to this article in my Facebook feed.  To be honest, I am not the biggest fan of this blog writer but this article made me think.  What do my kids think? Am I the best party planner or the life of the party? I think I know the answer and it’s not the right one.  I think as the school year trudges on slowly, this week coming up will be a chance to be present and be the party.

I watched this video and was reduced to tears last night about. Love is so tricky. And it’s easy to love someone when things are good. But loving when it’s hard. Well, it’s just that. Hard. I dare you to watch this and not tear up.

What We Ate…

Sunday Night- Big Green Egg BBQ Ribs (3-2-1 method) with Brussel Sprouts and Bacon

Monday- Spaghetti with Shrimp

Tuesday- Leftovers

Wednesday- Chicken, Rice and Peas

Thursday – BRINNER (Glenn was gone and this is my go to)

Friday- NO CLUE.