Three Years Later…

via 

Tonight, I put you to sleep for the last time as a two year old. You asked me to stay and snuggle with you.  And with your daddy gone, I obliged because for that minute the world stopped.  I asked you questions and your answers got quieter and by the end of that minute, or two or three, I knew you were ready to go to sleep. 

Tomorrow, when you wake you will be three. I know that really doesn’t mean a lot to you.  Heck, you are almost three years old. You pretty much concern yourself with trucks, chocolate milk and The Lorax at this point not how old you are going to be tomorrow. 


But for me tonight, I sit here on the new couch in our new house and I think about how much you have grown in three years.  The person you are becoming, the changes you have made and even the little things that have stayed the same. 


Three years later, you still want me to carry you like a baby to bed. 


Three years later, you play a musical instrument every morning on the way to school and remind me to play mine- You the strum your guitar and tell me to play my trumpet as we listen to country music.


Three years later, you tell us that you want to snuggle in our bed in those early morning minutes when you wake refusing to accept no for an answer.   


Three years later you are predictable like me- asking for a drink the minute we walk in the door and telling me you don’t like jeans every morning as you get dressed.


Three years later, I look in my rear view mirror when I am driving and when I catch your eyes we both smile- easily, without hesitation. 


Three years later you are silly with your sister and can make her laugh just by talking to her and she can make you mad just by sitting next to you. 



Three years later, I see myself in you.  You don’t wake up well. You tell us to go away once we get you situated with Disney Junior and juice each morning.  I don’t blame you buddy…mornings are rough. 


Three years later, I see your daddy in you.  You are a master negotiator.  When we tell you it is time to go to bed, you ask for five more minutes and we say one and you usually respond with two more minutes and then proceed to tell us that you will watch for two more minutes, okay? 


Three years later, I am prouder than ever to be your mama!
Happy Birthday Buddy Boy! I love you to the moon and back!

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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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The Donut

I have Brady with me every single morning. Every single morning we make our way to school together.  We have a routine.  Part of it includes getting my coffee at Starbucks in the drive thru. Then one day, I had to go in because the line was long and I was in a hurry. Brady is 2.5 so he is pretty capable of walking and going in with me. Now our days go something like this even though this was one I am about to tell you about was extraordinary ordinary day…
“Mama we go in?”


At some point in every morning he asks me this. Sometimes before we have even left our own house.

“No buddy not today. Mama is in a hurry and we need to get to school today quick.”


“Mama we see the cows?”


“No buddy. We don’t have time to see the cows today. Mama promises when school is out we will go visit the cows and horses so you can see them, touch them and talk to them”


He loves to go the “long way” to school each day after stopping to get coffee so he can see the cows grazing at Wagner Farms. It is out of the way but it is usually our way.

“Mama we go in please. I want donut. A white one.”


I glance at the clock wondering if I have time and I know that I don’t but I do. I always have time, it’s just a matter of making it.  

“Right there. Park right there mama.”

I pull in and park even though the drive thru lane is empty.  I unbuckle him from his seat and before I can ask he reaches up for my hand.  We walk from our parking spot to the door. I open the door and he runs to the counter.

“Mama drink coffee. I eat donut. You pay mama?”


“Yeah, buddy I will pay.”


My order never changes. A venti, nonfat,e xtra hot, no foam, no water chai for me and one petite vanilla bean scone for him.  The employee hands him the bag and he carries it with pride. He doesn’t open it because it’s not time. 

Tank You”


I am speechless as I watch how polite he is unprompted. He is mine. I swell with pride.

“Your son is gorgeous. How old is he?”


I notice she is sitting with her daughter and they are enjoying a cup of coffee together and I miss my mama.  And then I look at him and grin.

“Thank you. Tell them how old you are.”


“Two.”


“Tell them your name.”

“Bwady Ischer”


“Brady Fischer. That’s right. Go sit down and let them be. Say goodbye buddy.”


“Bye. I eat my donut now. I go to school.”


He climbs up on the chair careful not to drop the bag and opens it slowly, methodically pulling the scone out.  As fast as he gets up he jumps out of the chair each day and walks the bag to the garbage and puts his bag in there.

I throw the bag in the garbage. I throw it away before I eat my donut.  Ew yucky goes in garbage.”


 He told me it goes in the garbage. He walks it over and places it in. Hurriedly, he climbs back in his chair as I wait for my coffee and he begins to eat. Quietly eats as he looks out the window watching the comings and goings on Lake Avenue. 

My coffee comes and I sit. We sit. We sit watching things move outside. He tells me about the trucks, we count the cars in the parking lot.

Two, one, free, four”


I grab my coffee and his small hand and leave the Starbucks. The donuts are starting to add up.  Yet suddenly, it doesn’t matter about the meeting I missed or the papers I can’t grade before class. I have time and I gave it him and he got his donut.

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Present- Mother’s Day

I want to remember this weekend. I want to place the stories, the smiles and the small moments somewhere deep inside my long term memory so that when sad, dark times are consuming me I will have this weekend to pull out from my secret hiding place deep in my memory and I will smile. I will remember how good and full I feel and how easy it was.  It was that good of a weekend because I was present.
There is something about a girl and her mama. I am talking about my own mama. Thanks to my husband (with help from his parents) I spent 24 glorious hours with my mama on Michigan Avenue. I have never been away from my kids alone since I had them. I have only spent one night away from Cate and four from Brady.  We shopped ’til we dropped but really when we returned to our hotel room we had very little in the way of purchases. We were cold and wet because that is Chicago in May.  But we conversations that never staled.  I am not sure we ever stopped talking.  We talked about simple things like what to wear to the three wedding Glenn and I have in June to big life things like wills and death, marriage, and life with kids and how much it changes your views. And when the time came for us to part this Sunday morning,  we realized we forgot to talk about things like calendars and wedding dates and vacations.  We ate pizza, drank wine, and fell back in to this easy routine. As I pulled away in a cab, I was lost in my own thoughts about how we became so close and how she is me, my better half and I am her and only hoping to be half the mother she is to me.  And it dawned on me that between the naps and bottles and drool that I have a special little girl and I am her mama, nothing more and nothing less.  And there is not much more you can want. 

And when I did return home, my babies were there with the man I adore.  There is something so raw when you watch the man you love with the children your created together.  He softens when they need him. We did the simple things like eat lunch and change diapers, all the cliché things that you do on Mother’s Day like plant flowers, exchange cards and play outside and some pretty special things.

I wanted to plant in the wagon…that did not go over well.
“I want to hug you.”

“Brady, you want to hug Cate?”

“Yes please. I want to hug Cate.”

“You can hug her anytime you want.”

And as his arms wrapped around her, I was present watching them interact. I watched him kiss her unprompted. Later, as I pushed er stroller, I caught myself imagining the future they have together as brother and sister.  I wonder if they realize that in that one simple moment, I was present and felt so full and yet moments later consumed with hope for what’s to come.

He’s not a baby or toddler any more. He is a a little boy who just loves all three of us like it is his job. 

And as the day wound down we landed in a familiar place…our bed.  Tonight as Brady was being his silly self and Cate was laughing at him while Glenn and I protected heads from taking shots from flying feet and knees, I caught myself as the breeze came in our windows thinking that today I was present.  I was present with my husband and my kids all day.  I never told my kids to wait a minute, the whining didn’t bother me and when I put both kids to bed I watched both of them for an extra minute to remember what they looked like today on a day when I present. Today, I was just a mama. 
A day where I didn’t worry about the teaching assignments I need to confirm for next year or the closets that have not been changed out for summer or that groceries and laundry were left for a day. 

And even as life got more interesting tonight (a secret for later), I found myself just thinking about today and how lucky I feel my mama and I got some much needed girl time and my sweet girl and I did too. Doesn’t hurt that these two guys were around all day either.

So this Mother’s Day weekend may have come to an end but I took some conversations, some looks, moments and pictures to make sure I remember. Happy Tuesday Friends!

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Tidbits of Talk {Volume 16}

Tidbits of Talk

Okay, so another week of me not blogging.  I want to and then I don’t.  I am just trying to be a mama right now and a wife.  Those two things are my priority right now…even if I am not always the best at either.  But, the delicate balance of being something to everyone gets hard.  And at the end of every night I look at my computer and I just don’t even open it because I find myself grading, lesson planning, or trying to get ready for the next day or just not thinking for a few minutes.  Lots of things going on in my head and life but I never get them written for you all to read about. Anyways, I digress…

~Brady officially is 2.5.  I posted about it last week but this weekend we are taking his pictures and I am just so excited because he is at a great age. I got the nicest note from a friend’s mom on facebook about the post I wrote about last week about him 2.5 and I can tell you that this blog is what I want it to be right now. A place for memories, a place to share my thoughts and connect with others who have had an impact on me in my lifetime. 

My first attempt at PicMonkey. Not to bad right? 
~ This little thing above turned 8 months old earlier this week. How did it happen? I don’t honestly know. She tests us daily. I have a huge post coming about her but for now I will tell you that there is nothing cuter than a baby in a romper. God, I love a baby in a romper. You will see her in one every day this summer. And, no I don’t know why her hair is so crazy. I will take any tips on how to do girl hair. 

~ I had a skype date with this lady Sunday night. She humored my unshowered Sunday self and it was so good to chat with her. Whoever says internet friends aren’t real friends are crazy.  No awkwardness, no nerves, just me, her and a cup of tea for both of us.  Just what I needed…

~ The weather is one of two things that continually perplex me about Chicago. It has been as warm as 87 and as cold as 40 this week. Seriously, what the heck?  We have had our heat and A/C on this week.  Even more is that we had these UNBELIEVABLE storms all week.  And again last night. The hail was huge, the wind whipping, and the rain was coming down in sheets. And of course, my car was on the street…so I ran out to move my car in the garage and go soaked. Someone actually told me today that you get less wet if you walk instead of run in the rain. Is that true? 

~ I am thinking that I may attempt to do some planting this weekend. I am itching to get flowers in the ground and to see the pops of color in our yard.

Happy Friday friends! We have pictures, a trip to the zoo, and maybe an art festival and street festival calling us this weekend. Sounds like a perfect May weekend if you ask me. 

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Tidbits of Talk {Volume 15}

Tidbits of Talk   

Friday, Friday. I can’t believe it is already Friday.  I think I say this every week.   I kept thinking this week would go by slow since we were testing two days at school but it didn’t.  So, it’s Friday. And another edition of tidbits of talk is ready to go… at least I think so.

~Work is crazy right now. It is hiring season and firing season and the end of the school year which means the kids are crazy, I am crazy and no matter how hard I work, I can’t get it all done.  Yet, oddly when I do things like type this I realize I have more done than I thought.

~ Brady and I caught the plague last week. Literally, the plague I tell you. We were on the couch together home from school sick and we are still working on feeling better. We still have yucky noses, wet coughs, and struggling with fatigue but I am optimistic we are on the mend.

“I will smile all day at the doctor when I am not the one being poked and prodded”

~ I didn’t tell you but I rented a house for a week this summer at this place. People, I am telling you that I am already counting the days down. I must find a bathing suit, a mommy suit but a cute one. I am dreaming about sitting on the screened porch at night drinking a cold beer with my husband, sipping tea in the morning with my mama and driving our golf cart to the pool and pulling our wagon to the beach each morning.

~Cool story about the quality of customer service at J.Crew. I went in there on a Thursday to return some Crewcuts stuff and shop a bit for myself.  I have a woman there, Susan Small who I work with….like she sends me emails when new stuff comes in or the store is opening early etc… She was there on Wednesday but really busy. I ended up buying a pair of white jeans, four t-shirts that were on sale and a sweater.  I was in a HUGE hurry, paid, and left. After returning to work, I realized I had forgotten to take my teacher discount of 15% (did you know about this).  I was pretty bummed since I spent $200.  That is $30 off.  So, the next day, Friday, I called spoke the person who answered the phone who told me to bring my receipt in and they would adjust it.  I got home from work and was checking the mail. There was an envelope from J.Crew. Curious what it was, I opened it to find a note from Susan along with a receipt and gift card. It read, “Sorry I didn’t get to say goodbye. We are marking everything you bought down an additional 30% this weekend.  Looked at your transaction and applied additional 30% markdown and saw you did not take 15% for teacher’s discount so applied that as well. Thanks for shopping at J.Crew”.  That is why I love this store.

~ Gas and I do not really go together. If you ask my husband, it is one of the top five annoyances provided by me in his life. I hate to get gas and always feel like I don’t have time because I am usually just in time for everything. So, more times than not, it is on empty or daringly close. Yesterday was the closest call I have had in a while. I had one line left when I picked up Cate from her nanny and took her to the pediatrician for her flu booster. Do you see the side eye below? She’s a smart one I tell you. 
“I see what is in your hand and it doesn’t make me happy”
When we left there, I had no lines left. I went home and did not stop because both kids were screaming and we had been in the office for almost an hour. I left the house to go get my haircut and got ½ way there when the gas light went from yellow to red. Red…never seen that before.  I wondered if I could go get my haircut and then get gas but my conscience kicked in (aka what the heck would I do if I actually ran out and how long would Glenn remind me of it) so I stopped and got gas, was late for my haircut and then got a parking ticket thanks to the awful meter maids in Chicago. Sweet. 

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