Monday This and That

I went home this weekend after my parents returned from a 2 month stint in Arizona.  The trip served a dual purpose- to cheer on the New Trier Girls Basketball Team at the Final Four State Tournament and to visit Mimi and PawPaw.  What is it about driving down I-55 that makes my shoulders loosen a bit, my breathe to slow down and a feeling of peace to come over me?

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15 schools days until spring break.  I’m counting.  I’m list making. I’m checking the weather forecast daily and I am ready.  Just ready for a week away from the world with my three favorite people.  I’m dying to buy this cover-up.



We have slowly been working on our house after the major kitchen remodel we did last year.  I have had my heart set on painting our fireplace for a year.  Glenn finally agreed.  He is actually really handy so imagine my excitement when I got this picture and then the second one.  Love it. I have all these ideas to decorate the mantel for spring!


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It’s Monday.  The weather is finally starting to show signs of spring and I am ready to tackle another week. Back for more later this week.


Our Kitchen- “The Before”

When we were looking to move, I knew that we were going to need to do work to almost any house we bought if we wanted to live in our targeted location.  I was thinking almost a complete gut job would be necessary in a couple of the homes we looked at even thought that was the last thing we (meaning Glenn) wanted to do.   When we bought our house we were pleasantly surprised that the kitchen was updated.  We didn’t pay too much attention to it.  It had newer stainless steel appliances and granite countertops.  I know we talked about the size since it was smaller and some potential issues but there wasn’t a deal breaker and it didn’t stop us from buying our house.

I knew a kitchen remodel would be in our future.  I didn’t realize how necessary it would become and how dysfunctional our kitchen actually is our daily use of it.

The dishwasher doesn’t fully open because it is located too close to the stove.  (Seriously?)


There is little functional counter space and lots of dead counter space.

The fridge is fine but bending over has caused us to hit our heads one too many times.

The pantry is shallow and the shelves are all one size.


The floor tiles are separating and gross.


Below are some of the pics from the realty website where our house was listed.



There is a narrow walkway that is the only way from the front of our house (the bathroom) and our kitchen and to our family room.




There is no lighting above our table and the flow is weird from the kitchen to eating area.




I realize a lot of this makes me sound spoiled and ridiculous but these are big things to our family and our long term home since I firmly believe and remember from my own childhood that the heart of our house was and still is the kitchen.  A gathering space.  A homework place.  And the room in our house used the most.

So, while we were soaking up the sun as a family in Florida on spring break, the demolition began.  Want to see the pics of what it looks like now? It’s coming soon!


Close to Home

On Sunday, we woke up eager with anticipation of a day with friends in the south suburbs. We were playing on watching the Bears, chasing kids and catching up on life. We saw the threat of weather before we left but didn’t think much about it. My mom texted me and I could read the fear in her texts. And as the sirens were blaring, the game delayed, the first reports came in, I remember being frozen in front of our friend’s tv.

Severe Tornado Outbreak Hits Illinois


Washington, IL destroyed by a tornado. Illinois. Miles from my hometown. The funny thing is that when you live in Central Illinois home is not just your town- big or small. It’s all of them. It is the area. The tornado hit home. So close to home. And so many people lost everything. And I know you have seen the coverage from the local papers to the national nightly news. The path is incredible to look at and the stories are so so real and close. My Facebook filled with reports of people safe, others declaring they lost everything and loved ones looking for information. I spent Sunday watching the status updates, news stories and tweets tell me what I already new. Central Illinois had been in the path of a violent storm.

Monday morning I found myself consumed with reading about it. And early in the morning a smile came over my face.

My high school’s football team was beaten by Washington High School’s football team last weekend in the quarterfinal state playoffs. But this week, in the wake of the tragedy, they are using our facilities and fields and the Pioneer Nation I am so proud to be a part of answered the call and will feeding the team after practice as well. 8 kids on the team lost their homes. We are given them equipment and anything else they need.

And the high school they are facing on Saturday is even more remarkable. The school is paying for charter buses to go to Washington, IL to pick up and take their fans to the game in Springfield. Paying for their opponents to bring fans. They will feed the fans, the players, their families and friends before and after the game. They attempt to give them some normalcy when life is anything but.

This is the spirit of Central Illinois. Where family is your community. Where doing good trumps the desire for a victory and people rally around the ones in need instead of worrying about themselves.

I have been reading, listening and watching and know that Washington will rebuild and will rise again.

And in the meantime, I remember that there is good in the world and Central Illinois showed that to me again.


Gallery Wall {Room by Room Series}

Remeber this post about sharing with you pieces of  our home that I am falling in love with?  Well, I’m back with my first post since then about something so simple but so special to me.

This fall has been a big week in terms of getting things done around our house.  I should have quite a few others projects to share with you in the next month or two.  I am not a quick decision maker but I knew when we bought this traditional Georgian that I wanted a gallery wall on the stairs.  Up and down. Up and down. Every time we go up and down I want to see things that make me smile and family pictures do that. Remember?

Here is the final product.



So simple.  So me.  I love it. What do you think? Here are the details.

Wall Color: Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter

Light Fixture: Ballard Orb Chandelier

Frames: Etsy Once Upon a Time

Images: Lewis Sisters Photography


Lists of Five Things

I looked at the calendar today and realized I go back to school in five weeks exactly.  Then I looked at my list of things I wanted to do with the kids, to the house and for myself and realized there is no chance most of those things will get done.  And if I am honest, it frustrates the heck out of me.  The balance being at home is really hard for me. When my kids are home I don’t want to drag them to Pottery Barn I want to play, and swim and bike and enjoy the weather.  I feel really funny about putting them at daycare in the summer when I am home because they deserve some time at home with their mama away from the grind we do 10 months out of the year.  I found myself spending my one day this week that was kid free shopping, working out, having lunch and reading at the pool for an hour and yet I am mad at myself that my walls are still bare and there are so many rooms that need attention in our house.

Some of you will tell me I am just lucky I get some me time.  Some of you will tell me, including my ma, that I need to have days like these.   I get it. I know that as a teacher I need some down time. Some time to be me, relax, decompress and just be.  But I also know how precious time is when I am kid free and can actually work on a project.

So, today I am making a 5 Things List. 5 things I want to do with the kids before I return to work, 5 things I want to get done in my house and 5 things I want to do for me.  Sure, it could be 500 in some categories but I am trying to keep it attainable and doable and then we or I will make another list.

5 Things for the Kids

  • Go to the zoo- Brookfield or Lincoln Park
  • Go the beach
  • Go to Ravinia Kids Music Festival or the Wednesday night Concert in the Park series
  • Ride the train and have lunch with daddy
  • Go to a waterpark

5 Things for the Home

  • Finish the wall art in the living room above the couch
  • Buy an accent piece for the entry way
  • Mark out and decide on dining room table
  • Re-finish vintage buffet for dining room (Bradyism “Can I get a little help here?”)
  • Get kitchen office area organized

5 Things for Me

  •  Get new running shoes
  •  Get a massage
  •  Buy a pair of black pants
  •  Take a huge bike ride in the Forest Preserve or one the lakefront
  •  Spend an afternoon at the pool alone with a book.

Totally doable right? Right. So, I am going to hold myself to it and check in weekly with you before I go back to school to show you what I have done. Hmmm… where should I start?