Archives for September 2013

OOTD {Week 6}



Okay, okay so I am not doing a great job of blogging more than twice a week. But, I am staying on top of getting dressed every day each week. Wednesday I spent it out on a low ropes course so I was pretty casual with my clothes so no picture was taken. I think the little guy in one of the pictures is pretty stinkin cute.

In other news, I just upgraded to iOs7 after taking approximately 3,000 pictures off my phone and moving them to my hard drive. Scary that I had that many and how much my kids have grown since getting my iPhone.

We (meaning Glenn) set up the DVR and I think we might bite the bullet and start watching Breaking Bad. I compare every series to The Wire, which I think is the best ever, and I have high hopes! And plus also the Amazing Race and Homeland come back Sunday! TV for the win Sunday!

Date night tomorrow night and family pictures tomorrow!

Friends, food and beer tonight and some fall planting Sunday will round out what is gearing up to be a nice little weekend!

Happy Friday friends!


A Day

Growing up in Bloomington-Normal, I keenly remember going out Market Street and getting on I-55S to head to southern Illinois to visit my grandparents when I was a kid. I remember our big blue and silver conversion van and how my brother and I would lay on the bed in the way back seat. We would read books, play Uno and sometimes nap.  We traveled frequently to see my grandparents since both sets lived within a couple miles of one another.  I remember feeling so old when my parents would let me walk to the Corn Barn across the alley from grandma’s house by myself.  I remember walking with my grandpa in his garden that he methodically weeded, watered and cared for daily. And I remember sitting at my grandparents bar watching the Cardinals on tv while my grandpa sat in his chair.


And now my kids are getting these experiences.  They are old enough now that traveling is not a burden and car rides don’t make me shutter.  They are willing travel and adjust with ease when we exit off of I-55S at Towanda.  We come late and go straight to bed- sometimes with a popcorn as a quick snack.  Pancakes the first morning we are there that everyone helps to make.  And milkshakes are a must before we leave.


We spent Saturday at Rader Farms having clean, simple, easy fun.  Towards the end of the afternoon, I sat down with my mom on two Adirondack chairs near the huge gymnastics mat where Brady was landing after jumping from hay bales and we both looked at each other and said, “These looked pretty good. What an awesome day.”  The weather, being with my parents who are so amazing with my kids and my hometown are the perfect ingredients for a fall day.


Earlier that morning when Cate woke up a little too early with a yucky nose and a little bit disoriented, Brady and I made
the trek up from my parents’ basement to their second floor. I picked her up realizing that all she needed was me.  The three of lay on a king bed in the room and fell asleep. Both kids slept within two inches of my face so instead of sleeping I listened to them breathe.   I was keenly aware of how lucky I am and tucked this small moment deep in my vault of memories.


Having an almost 4 year and an almost 2 year old is not exactly a cakewalk.  But they are portable and flexible and little and just need to be loved.  They want to ride in wagons, swing on tire horses, touch every single pumpkin in the bunch, take tractor rides, jump like wild men, and be little. So, this weekend I let them be little.






OOTD {Week 5}

I am sure you are as tired of my excuses as I am of giving them for why I haven’t posted since Monday. Well, I will just join one of my favorite link ups today with the hope that it counts for something. And yes, I have pictures from the week. Everyone loved my green dress Thursday. Guess what? It’s from Target like three years ago and all I did was add a belt from Loft and it was hit!



Changing all of our clothes, decorations and flowers to fall stuff. It’s coming slowly but surely here in Chicago and I think this is the most pleasant transition in to fall we have had in a really long time! The low 70’s every day, sunshine, cool breezes at night make me ready almost anxious for fall.  Crazy but I am dying to wear a sweater and jeans but feel like I should be happy I am still wearing some late summer stuff so I will patiently wait.

Remembering that I am only one person. This week is one of those weeks where I just  can’t shake the feeling that I am not doing everything well enough.  School for some reason has me totally overwhelmed and between meeting with contractors, trying to work out and have some me time and do all the other things working parents do I just feel like I am coming up short

Needing to really do some thinking about our home specifically our kitchen and make some decisions. I still owe you a home tour but our kitchen is a source of issues right now and I just need to do some sketching, some dreaming and some reality thinking over the next few weeks. If this is my forever home (i.e. the house we live in until our kids graduate high school) then I really want it to be a space and a place that I love and enjoy.  So, a kitchen renovation and outdoor patio space need to happen. We are working on it but so far I am disappointed.

Cleaning nothing. I admit it. We don’t clean. We clean up.  But the $95 that we spend bi-weekly to have our house cleaned from top to bottom is on the top of my things a working mom should have!

Feeling energized about teaching this year. This is the first year since I have had kids that I have really enjoyed teaching. Perfecting my craft. Thinking, reflecting, planning, and creating all words I would use to describe my work this year. The classroom is my home, my safe space and I just so excited about the school year. It probably helps that I really like my kids this year and only have one prep!

Happy Friday Friends!


Apple Holler Farms

Rarely on the weekends do we have no plans but this weekend was wide open.  We talked casually all week about what to do but never committed.  On Saturday we woke up to a picture perfect almost fall day.  It was cool and crisp when we woke up requiring pants and jackets.  By mid-morning we were comfortable in shorts and could even take our jackets off.

We continued tossing around ideas and we decided on Apple Holler Farms in Sturtevant, WI.


We knew it was going to take us 45 minutes to get there so we quickly got organized to leave.  The only bad news of the day, both kids fell asleep on the way there and I knew the minute I saw both sets of eyes closed that no nap was happening in the afternoon. #carnapsaremymortalenemy

$5 to park in a lot and we were ready.  You pay for the adults ($12 per person) and kids under 6 are free to ride and pick with you in the orchard.  We took an awesome train attached to a tractor ride out about as far as you could go in the orchard to where the Honeycrisp were growing.  We left our stroller at the orchard entrance but you can take it on the tractor ride or use one of their wagons.  When were dropped off, I was panicked about how far we were with two small kids and no stroller. But honestly, it was fine. There were tractors everywhere and everyone was so friendly.

Brady and Cate  had SO much fun.  Trying to fine ripe apples with no worm holes.  Cate especially loved plucking them off and screaming “I did it. I got one” and Brady was excited to fill his bag.


We grabbed apples while we walked and ate them.  I might have pinched myself asking in that moment if life could get any better.  We even got a family picture.

The best one I got thanks to a really nice man!

The best one I got thanks to a really nice man!

Cate started to be naughty- picking apples from the ground taking a bite and throwing it down to grab another one- and gross so we decided we were done picking.

We caught a wagon to head back and it drove us through this enchanted forest where the trees had wooden animals hiding in them for kids to find. Brady and Cate loved looking for animals and ended up on their knees looking out while waving saying “Hi Everyone”.



There was an awesome petting zoo area- we didn’t venture there.  There was a huge slide that you rode down on a burlap sack that our kids loved. Tons of space to run and just have some fun.

The food was unbelieveable. Apple cider donuts, apple fritter donuts, Spotted Cow Beer and even Cider Boys Raspberry Smash that is fruity and so delicious. There was a restaurant and a barbeque smell that was out of this world that I am dying to try next time we go there. When we left a few minutes before noon, it was packed. The parking lots were full, the line was long for everything and there were people everywhere!

It was one of those days that I the feeling of contentment kept bubbling inside of me.  Proof that life is getting easier with an almost 4 year old and a 2 year old and hope for all of the experiences to come.  This place will become our tradition.  And I even made an apple pie with some of those apples which you saw if you follow me on Instagram.

And no, Apple Holler Farms did not pay me to say all these nice things about them. It is just that cool of a place that I wanted to talk about it.


OOTD {Week 3}

Happy Friday Friends! If you haven’t figured out by how late this post went out this week kicked my butt. I’m not even sure why because it was a relatively quiet week, a normal week in our house, per se with the exception of my parents visiting. So, I promise to be back next week with some new posts and hopefully they won’t be late.  Next week is jammed with work commitments for both us so I need to get my sh*t together this weekend if I have any hope of surviving the week.

The weather this week went from 90 to 60 in the span of five days. I wore lots of dresses and tanks because I think that the warm weather is coming to an end.  Maybe another week but I want to make sure I get some of these cute things in before we have snow.  Kidding.   Good ole Chicago never seems to ease in to a season.   Happy Weekend! Bear Down Chicago!



Monday Memo

Happy Monday Friends! After last week being relatively easy with two days off of school, this week is going to hurt a bit. On the upside, my parents are coming up on Wednesday and spending the night before they head to the PGA tournament in Lake Forest so that will help get us through a five day week.  Let’s get this memo started shall we?

  • I am starting to panic about Halloween already. Our neighborhood goes all out for every holiday but Halloween was a shock to us! People do creative, amazing and full blown decorating for Halloween. And we did nothing last year. So, we started to strategize and got a plan this weekend.  It is not going to be be fabulous but it is a start.  Now to execute…


  • Let’s talk about the weather. Middle of September and it is going to be in the mid 90’s.  Really? Where was this weather in July? So annoying.  The upside is that I can still wear some cute summer transition to fall stuff that I haven’t worn yet for my #ootd series.

weather week

  • Have any of you followed the 40 Days of Dating blog? I caught it on twitter one day, starting reading over the summer and have been hooked ever since. Except it stopped.  Supposedly because they signed with an agent and have some kind of movie deal in works. Boo. I was so disappointed. Then, I go and check today and blamo it is up… all 40 days and it’s over. And I’m sad.  Please if you are going to read it, start from day 1.  That means you need to start at the bottom of the screen. So interesting. And apparently there is more coming.  I am hoping the ending is not cliché.


  • Working out at 5am week 3.  And guess what? I actually love it. I go to bed a bit earlier but I find that I am more productive and less sluggish when I work out in the morning. I am also less antsy in the afternoon since I know my workout is done for the day.

Enjoy your week!


OOTD {Week 2}

Easy week for me to get dressed! No school Monday and no school Thursday means I only had to get dressed two days this week for real.  Today, I am sporting a bright red t-shirt supporting our PAC (contract negotiations team) and my teacher’s union because we are working without a contract currently.  With the weather staying warm I am trying to squeak in as many skirts and dresses as possible before I am relegated to pants, leggings and jeans.



White jeans in September? I think so. I think that fashion no-no doesn’t really exsist anymore right? Happy weekend friends! We are going to sneak in some beach time, Brady starts hockey and of course the Bears are on Sunday at noon!


Cate {2 Years}



Dear Cate,

Last night, for the final time, I put you to bed as a one-year old.  Every night we never know who you will want to put you to bed and last night you picked me. I was quietly so grateful because I wanted that time with you.  The hurricane of the day seems to all but be still in those quiet minutes.  We went through our familiar routine. We sat down in the glider and you curled up with on my shoulder and I started to sing the A-B-C’s but I couldn’t choke it out as the tears rolled down my cheek.  I sobbed and then cried as you started to sing and I didn’t.  You started singing the A-B-C’s.  My big girl.  So, I sang with you. And I sang with tears like I have many nights before.

I am not sure what provokes the tears. In that moment, I feel so many emotions. Inadequate, scared, proud, full and raw.

Tonight, I put you to bed for the first time as a two year old.  And I was thinking about how big you seem to me all of sudden.  How your hair is long enough to go in a ponytail even though you refuse to let us put it up.  And how every time we leave the house you run to put your shoes on in the mud room and then exclaim, “I did it” with a fierce sense of pride even if they are on the wrong foot.


There so many things I want to remember about you at this age like the way you say “awite” when we ask you to do something or you emphatic “yes” to most of our questions or the way you say “ucky” when you don’t want something on your plate.

I want to remember how much you love to climb, scream, giggle and terrorize your brother. Monkey see monkey do.  You emulate him constantly and to be honest there isn’t a better model.

I want to take a mental picture of the moments when we are so exasperated with you and we want to scream at you but your dad can’t help but smile and laugh because you are exactly what he dreamed for…his little girl.

I love the way you sit in the fridge when you discover grapes and the way you blow bubbles in the bath so you can secretly drink bath water. I want to remember how everything belongs to everyone.  Brady’s milk, Mama’s coffee, Daddy’s juice.

I want to remember the hard stuff too from the past year…the molluscum, the eczema, whooping cough and the sleeping woes that came with each of them.

It’s surreal to think that you weren’t walking on this day last year and now your only mode is fast and faster on your feet. What you lack in pounds you have in personality.  Just yesterday at your party, you exclaimed, “More presents” as you opened your last gift.  You tackle Brady when you give him hugs. And you flail yourself into a pile on the floor when you are told “no”.

I know this growing up thing is what is supposed to happen Cate. But promise me something. Promise me you will stay little.  I say this to you ever single night with the hope that when tough days and tough choices are a part of your life you will remember to stay little.   Stay little and remember the simple things like taking a walk with me on the cool nights when you need your blanket.  Stay little enough to know that the safest most sacred place in this world is with your daddy, brother and I.  I want you to stay little.  Little enough that I am still enough for you.

Stay little my sweet 2 year old,