Archives for December 2013

2013 A Year in Review

Around this time of the year I instinctively start looking forward at a new year.  I think about goals and lists and even dreams for the 365 days that lie ahead.  And I have a post ready to go about our year to come.  But rarely do I spend time reflecting on the year that has passed and all that comes with it.  So, I spent some time tonight after using flipgram thinking about this year as it wraps up.

This 15 second clip was only a small sampling of my Instagram pics for the year.

(Are we following each other btw?)

I vowed in 2013 that we would settle in and down for the long haul.  Every month I can remember things that happened so I thought it would be cool to see the year recapped in my memory.

January- The flu hit me hard.  We joined Lifetime and I felt like I was back at it from a fitness perspective.

February- Medical stuff in our families made this month tough.

March- Spring break in Florida. I flew alone with two kids and survived and we had an awesome week in the south soaking up some sun even though it was unusally chilly!

April- We were hit with record rains and we found out the meaning of community when it comes to our block. It caused us to remove a massive tree that was a huge liability in our front yard.

May-  The month was a blur trying to get to the end of the year.  Cate started daycare again for her second time and did remarkably well.

June-  Poor Cate got so sick after her return to daycare that she ended up in the emergency room.  Brady started a sports camp and loved it.  The weather was erratic causing power outages and trees down.

July- Brady experienced his first Fourth of July fireworks show and loved it.  We spent some awesome days at the beach and pool.  We took the kids to Navy Pier on what seemed to be the hottest day of the year when our air conditioning also went out.

August- Daycare, back to school and end of the summer stuff kept us busy! The  beach and Oz Park were highlghts!

September- Cate turned 2.  We went apple picking for the first time ever and had a blast and made it Rader Farm.

October- Brady turned 4.  A trip to Virginia to meet my niece.

November- Thanksgiving.  A quick trip to California that showed exactly why so many people love it out there.

December-  We did Santa and cookie decorating parties. And holiday happy hours and silent auctions for work.  The zoo lights and more. We got our share of sickness. We did dinner with friends and spent the entire month celebrating by eating and drinking.

Looking back I feel lucky to live the life I do. And 2013 was so good to us.  So, now its time to look at 2014. And prepare. And dream. And wish.  Until next year…







May it sparkle and be magical with the ones you love! Merry Christmas from our family to yours!


Monday Memo {December}

Stopping in to say hello on the Monday before Christmas.  We are leaving for my parents today after a couple of quick errands and I think you deserve a few quick updates don’t you?


  • Brady’s bout with pneumonia seemed to spread to all of us. I am on a Zpack, actually my second since the first is in our garbage somewhere, for a nasty respiratory/sinus issue.I tried to fight it but I gave in yesterday.  Good news, is that I am feeling better. Bad news, my stomach is unhappy with the antibiotics. Worse,  Cate was not spared either. She has been saying for 5 days that the same ear hurts and we just weren’t convinced she knew what she was saying. We took her in to the pediatrician on Saturday morning and low and behold she has an ear infection in the ear she’s been complaining about.  Mom fail. Meds for everyone.
  • Long story but it ends with us having to buy a new car for business/tax reasons. So, we are obviously selling a car too. If anyone is interested, we are selling a 2004 Acura TL.  It’s in great shape and has low miles.  I can give you details. Send me an email or leave a comment and we can talk.
  • Every holiday has been amazing with a 4 year old and 2 year old but Christmas is just so special. And magical.  Every night we talk about Santa and search for Christmas movies and rehash what is on the list.  But, it’s the little things. The pulling of paper chain links to countdown to Santa, to looking at lights on our drive home from school every day , to making cookies on a random Sunday morning.  I am actually sad to see it all end.
  • Two weeks off and my brain is swirling with to do lists, exercise regimens, organizing, purging and gatherings.
  • We had a Holiday Happy Hour on Friday night and I think it might become an annual tradition. A blend of our friends from school and daycare as well as neighbors led to more kids than adults. We drank, laughed and kicked of Winter Break with a great night.

Happy Monday Folks!



I can’t remember the last time we had a white Christmas.  Yet, this December we are not lacking when it comes to the white stuff.  And we will have a White Christmas.  Really, snow is so beautiful.  Except maybe when it needs to be shoveled or it causes kids to fall face first and cry.  (What? This never happened to your kid walking out of daycare? Just mine. Carry on.)  On Saturday, we woke to the most beautiful untouched blanket of fluffy white snow that I have ever seen.  The snow was coming down fast and furious all morning and the world seemed so still and so quiet.

We spent the morning at a cookie decorating party with so many friends who are more like family now.  (More on that later.)  And when we left, we realized the temperature was actually enjoyable.  Well, maybe not enjoyable but manageable for us here in the Midwest.  So, after naps, we layered everyone up and went outside to play in snow.  For a long time.  I  did not last long.  But the three below had a ball. Throwing snow balls, tackling one another and building Mistletoe Mountain (a Mickey Mouse reference for those of you that don’t know that one).


I stood in the window frame watching my gorgeous kids and husband laugh and smile and play and I snapped away.  I couldn’t help but pause and remind myself that this is what life is about.  This is what makes the bedtime battles, the constant chatter when all you want is silence and the constant requests worth it.  Kids being kids.  No cares in the world.  Enjoying something as simple as snow with their dad.  I know I could have stayed out there but honestly, I wanted to be a spectator. I wanted to watch three people I love so uncontrollably play in the snow together.  I wanted to watch my life and reflect on how true blessed I am.  I watched two kids smile bigger than life.  I watched Cate fall 100 times and pick herself up every single time.  I watched Brady make snow angels and saw him run to avoid the snowballs being launched in his direction.



Christmas Wish List

Every year I make an attempt to give not so subtle hints to my better half about what I want for Christmas.  And every single year, I think he does pretty well on his own but I love to give him some ideas in the right direction.  And while I am sure he has his shopping done, maybe this will inspire someone when you think about what you want for Christmas.

For the “wannabe” photographer in me…

Beth Fletcher Photography Workshops– Okay, I have been dying to take one of these but as a working mom, taking a weekend day out to do this seems absurd.  But maybe, just maybe this would push me to do it.  I wrote about my camera frustrations and think this might be just what I need to get a kick start in 2014. Maybe at least I could pull it off in the summer.

Tripod– This seems silly and I don’t even care if it is a nice one or not, I just want a tripod.  For picture taking when I need a steady hand which I don’t have when I am struggling to keep it in focus and not shake.

For the fitness enthusiast in me…

The Wunder Under pants from Lululemon seem perfect for those cold mornings when I go to the gym at five. Full length with lots of coverage also means no shaving.  I wear the crops weekly for either yoga or just a trip to the gym and I have to believe I would love the full length ones.



And since I lost my Lululemon (read: expensive) yoga mat and cover (where the hell is it is what I keep asking) it would probably be worth it and awesome if someone would replace it.

And a 10 pack for yoga passes for Core Power Studio would be awesome for when I want to change it up a bit! Hello Yoga Sculpt!

And I love these sports bras and could use some new ones since my current ones I have owned since pre-kid times.

For the practical person in me…

Our house, like most houses is really dry in the winter and our upstairs furnace does not have a humidifier.  This one was given to us for our kids and I would love to have the same one in our bedroom.

I have been using the same cutting board for months actually years. Wouldn’t these be cute? The bright colors would be a nice pop to neutral room in our house!

Okay, in all honesty, I would love any or all of these under my tree but I don’t NEED any of these things.  As much as I love presents, Christmas has a whole new meaning when you have kids and that’s what it is about now.



Our Cards {2013}

I really like to pick out Christmas cards. I get excited in the fall for this challenge and task.  I labor over the decision for weeks and it takes me ages to make a final decision.  And then when I do, I am so excited to get them.  I track them. And wait for them.  And get excited to address them.  For the past couple of years, I have used Tiny Prints.  (No, this is not a sponsored post.)  I like Tiny Prints. No, I love Tiny Prints. The customer service has been the best I have encountered.  This year in particular we had an error and they fixed it for free. And I found a better discount code after I ordered my cards and they honored it. Win. Win.

This year we took pictures in October and I wanted to play off the colors we wore and the gorgeous colors in the background.  So, these were my final choices.

From my family to yours, Merry Christmas!

tinyprint1 tinyprint2




Catching Up and Settling In

The lack of writing on this blog would tell you I have writer’s block. I don’t really if I am being honest. I actually have a lot to say and so many things I want to tell you about but for one reason or another I just haven’t had a chance to do just that. So, instead I am going to brain dump some things and then hopefully I will get moving on some other posts for you. And yes, I still have been getting dressed every day. I just haven’t remembered to take a photograph and blog about it. Life is just messy and good busy and I am content with that being the priority for now.

I put my camera down for a long time and now for the life of me, I can’t figure out how to get back in the swing of things. I feel like I am starting over. I am frustrated with focus issues and just basics when you shoot in manual. So, I can’t decide if I should toss in the towel or try to teach myself all over again.

I went to yoga sculpt a couple of weeks ago and one of my closest girlfriends said it best when she said, “It just felt good to sweat it out”. I don’t buy in to the breathing and quiet and ohm stuff but I sure do appreciate the fact that for one hour I was unplugged, focused on me and sweating at the same time.

The week of Thanksgiving was short so I knew we didn’t need a major grocery store run. So we went to Trader Joe’s. I am still not sure I totally get the love affair but I am starting to understand it. We had some good au gratin potatoes and some type of chicken stir fry that was okay too. I get it. It’s easy to prepare food and as a working mom I appreciate that.

The countdown to Christmas is on. And as much as it killed me, we  waited to decorate to “respect the bird”. I know my dad would be proud and I love the way our home looks!

Brady and Cate are emotional, playful, hilarous, mischevious, lovely and I am totally smitten with them. I can’t remember a time I have been so content in motherhood as I am now. Doesn’t hurt that Glenn is good at laughing with me when one throws an epic tantrum or yogurt is flying at the dinner table.

Are you ready to see our Christmas card tomorrow?