Project 52 Week 12


Nothing says Brady like pants that are too short because he grows like a weed, a basketball in hand because sports is his life and hair that needs to be cut because it just doesn’t stop growing.


A Non-Kindergarten Post and Update

{Digging back in the folder of posts I never hit publish on with this one. It is not timely and probably irrelevant to most of you but this me documenting our life}

August 2014

With the anticipation of a new school year and all the posts about kindergarten starting for so many kids there is a different conversation in our house.  Brady, fortunately and unfortunately, does not make the cut-off of September 1st to enter kindergarten since his birthday is October 19th.  And Cate for that matter won’t make the cut-off either since her birthday is September 2nd (GOD HELP US).  Glenn and I both know that this is for the better in the long run.  I have read about all the benefits socially, emotionally, physically and academically.  But none of those things matter right now and it is really hard to make an almost five year old understand at this moment why so many of his friends, namely his two best buddies from daycare, are in kindergarten and he is not.

Some days he is fine with it. Really okay with it because he gets to come to school with mom for one more year and we are filling his afternoons with tennis, baseball, soccer and swimming.  And other days, he wonders why he can’t go to kindergarten and ride the bus.  Yesterday, he asked if they would still come to his birthday party.  And today he asked when he turns five in a month if he would get to go to kindergarten too.

There is so much conversation about kindergarten readiness and I will tell you as a result of daycare, he is ready. He meets every readiness standard already. I won’t bore you with his skills but yes he is so very ready.  So as a result I worry about boredom in Junior Kindergarten at our daycare. I worry about him spending his days with quite a few kids who are so much younger than him even though this will be the story the rest of his life.  I worry about him making good choices when some of the older, positive influences are gone. I worry about the connections to those boys he keenly calls “his best friends”.  How much do we push to maintain those friendships and how do we handle it if those boys, naturally, move on?

And then there are things I don’t worry about.  He plays soccer and tennis with older kids because he can and holds his own. He is being challenged to get better. He gets mad when he someone scores on him and kinetically his coordination is years ahead of his peers. Two of his friends on our block are two years older than him and he does pretty well most days with them.  He’s got some raw athleticism that is helping him bridge the age issues were facing.

I know that this is just the beginning of our journey with Brady and Cate and their ages. The first, the oldest, the choices and the mistakes.  But I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that keeping him little for one more year is okay for now even if he thinks “it’s not fair”.


Brady is fine in Junior Kindergarten, but I would be lying if I told you he is totally happy.  He tells us it’s boring some days.  But there are other days he tells me something he learned that literally blows my mind.  As much as I still believe he is MORE than ready academically, the best thing about another year of preschool is that emotionally he has had some time to grow, to make mostly good but a few bad choices and a year to still be little a bit longer.  5 is emotional.  More emotional than any other age that I can think of so far.  And I think this year, the growth has been there.  Sure, he could have gone to kindergarten, but I think he would have compensated for his immaturity emotionally with athletics and at some point that would stop working. He has new “best friends” and his love for his teachers is what I think keeps him happy and going. So, for now, I fill out the paperwork and worry about kindergarten for next year.



Friday Randoms V.7

Lots of radio silence on the blog right now. I am done apologizing for it when it happens. I love this space but when I don’t love it is when I feel the pressure to be here and that’s how it felt the past two weeks or so.

But, it’s Friday and I’m ready to get back in to giving you glimpses in to our life.

This article I think is such an important lesson in the use of social media. It was written for the New York Times, objective and sends such a clear message about the importance of understanding the impact of things posted online.   Added to that, when we were in Lake Geneva this past weekend, a dad we met at a bar told us if he could give us one piece of advice (he was there celebrating his 20-something son’s engagement) it would be to know your kids passwords to everything and to check social media constantly to see what they are posting. Not sure I agree on this one but still something to think about.

We all have a cold right now that just won’t seem to go away. I am the most worried about Cate who I feel like has had one since the middle of January.  With temperatures and wind chills insanely cold right now, I am counting the days down to spring break. 5 weeks. 5 weeks people. I can feel the sunshine on my skin.

Last weekend we snuck away for literally 24 hours with Glenn’s college friends (and my friends too) to Lake Geneva.  We don’t stay in the nicest place, or do anything fancy but it is always such a good time.  The people are just good people.  The time is so needed.  We laugh a lot, drink even more and just get to relax.

Brady has been really funny with words and language lately.  He sounds out everything. He enunciates words with major emphasis on every single syllable.  It’s hilarious and annoying.  Sometimes it’s the word you say. Other times it’s something he sees on tv or reads on a piece of paper.  But then, last night, out of nowhere he just started reading.  Reading people.  The words on his new pajamas.  And then the words on the tv.  My mind was blown. I screamed. He covered his ears and grinned.  It’s a milestone.  I’m happy since I love to read but so sad because it is just another indicator that the baby in him is long gone.

This was a really boring and uninspiring food week for us.  The freezing temperatures, nasty head colds and life just left me cooking some boring repeats.  I am already menu planning for next week and looking forward to trying some new recipes.

Stay warm and have a great weekend!






Project 52 Week 4



Project 52 Week 1



Five Things on a Friday

Happy Friday! This week was just an “off week” for us.  When we don’t have school one day and testing on another I just feel like the week becomes a jumbled mess. I guess I should get used to it since there are hardly any 5 day school weeks from now until Christmas Break. (9 weeks if you are counting. Yikes!)

1. This big guy turns 5 on Sunday. I just can’t even fathom that he is days away from being five. Every fall I think about that crisp, rainy fall day we brought him home and how much our lives have changed for the better since then.


2. We are taking family pictures tomorrow with our steady photographer, Heidi Peters. Here’s a sneak peak of what we are wearing. The temperature is making it more complicated than it need to be but oh well.

3. I just finished Elements of Style by Erin Gates and really can’t say enough about the book. It was so easy to read and gave me some confidence. Do yourself a favor and grab it to read. Decorating seems less scary all of a sudden.

4. I read “Me Before You” by JoJo Moyes this summer and sobbed through most of it. Have you heard about the girl in Oregon? I just can’t stop thinking about it and her choice to die instead of suffering and I’m anxious to see what happens on November 1st.

5. My high school football team is 6-1 going in tonight’s game and there is this buzz at school where there is zero school spirit and excitement school wide about sports.  Maybe it’s because it’s expected and happens with frequency but the idea of fall football playoffs make me giddy.   Maybe it’s my small town roots and #fridaynightlights love but I’m ready.

Have a great weekend folks! I’m ready for it.


Summer Memories

Dear Brady and Cate,

Boop Boop Hallo! Well, it’s here.  The day where schedules change, wake-ups are forced and earlier and I no longer get to spend my days with you.  I want to tell you some things while I remember them about this summer while it feels fresh and real in my head.


First of all, I want to thank you for letting me be your mama this summer. I had so much fun.  You two are the best of friends for the most part and it was humbling to watch you play, hug, love and occasionally fight.  I want to remember how slow the mornings were. Each morning I sat with coffee in my mug and stared as you watched Curious George together side by side on the couch until your bellies rumbled.  I want to remember how many parks we played at and how many days we ate ice cream before dinner.  I will remember the lazy days where we swam with friends, ate dinner outside and managed to stay up way to late.  I will be grateful for all the days I got to throw pitches for hours and the insane amount of times I was asked to put the baby’s diaper back on.

I may go back to work today as a high school teacher but it is no way shape of form what defines me any longer.  This summer I have done a lot of soul searching and I keep coming to the conclusion that I was meant to be your mama. You two are my purpose.  You are the tipping point on tough decisions and the easy answer when people ask me what drives me.

Brady this summer you went from baby to boy.  Inevitably it was going to happen and this summer you morphed in to a little boy who wants nothing more than to be outside playing baseball, or tennis or soccer or any other sport the boys on the block are playing.  You are athletic and tall and competitive.  You play with anyone and love to just be in the game.  You showed us that your energy has no end and one of my proudest moments was when  you didn’t want to leave a soccer game on the block where you were the youngest by years because you just wanted to score a goal.  You learned to ride a bike this summer and those training wheels may just be off before it gets cold.  You’re still timid, which you’ve always been, but you conquered your fear of the pole at the park and the slide at the pool.  You love to be at the beach and the pool even though the water is still not your favorite.  I will never forget the way you run the bases after you hit a ball and the smile you crack when you score a goal.

Cate you have taken a big turn for the better little girl.  You are growing faster in size than you ever have and yet your personality is what’s shining this summer. You will go anywhere, do anything and have no fear.  I will never forget the smile on your face as you rode a big kid ride at Northbrook Days or the way you swing like there is no other place you would rather be.  You love to ride your big wheel and fly down the hills with your feet up high in the air.  You are happy, hilarious and your memory is scary.  You idolize your brother more than ever having spent the summer with him.  You antagonize him and call him “Brade” with that devilish grin we have come to know as your look.

I keep telling people this summer was quiet, uneventful and yet still so perfect.  I will remember rocking out to Katie Perry in the car one minute and Cate shouting “drink a beer” whenever the song came on the next.  I will remember the quiet mornings at the beach and Brady your first road trip to stay with Mimi and PawPaw.  I will remember this being the first summer that I felt comfortable in my title as mom and our life in the suburbs.

Here’s to a great year and looking forward to the next one coming.  If this summer is any indication, it’s gonna be good.

I love monkeys,




kids 136copy2.jpglargethumbDear Brady (aka B-man, Brade, or Buddy),

I can honestly tell you that this has been to date the hardest letter I have ever had to write to you.  I open it up and close it every day some days writing nothing and other days writing so much that I end up deleting for fear of overkill.  Today, four years ago you entered this world as our first child and you have blossomed in to a little boy.  I knew nothing about being a mom and four years later you are still teach me something every day about my responsibility to you.  I catch myself for a split second every time I tell someone what an amazing kid you are because of course everyone thinks their kid is amazing.  But then, I still say it, because you truly are a remarkable little boy.  I ask myself and my people what I did to get such an amazing little boy as my son?

I can honestly tell you there is nothing I would change about you. I love your shy smile when you aren’t completely comfortable with a new person.   I love your deep belly laughs when I tickle your back.  I love the pure patience you show when interacting with your sister and letting her chase you even though it isn’t much of a contest.   I love your silliness when we talk about words like “booty”.  I love your curiosity about Chicago sports, specifically the penalty box and “the beast”.  I love the fact that you require snuggles when you wake up from a nap.  And I love that most nights for the past few months, the pitter patter of your feet come in our room at some point because you just want to sleep close to us.  I love how soundly you sleep when we are close by.

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I can honestly tell you there is no place and no time I would rather be than here with you now. I don’t wish you were still a baby and I don’t want you to get older.  I am truly living in these moments with you and loving you.  Your love for superheroes reminds me that magic exists and heroes are real.  Your imagination gives me hope that there is still an innocence to being little.  And your need for us to still push you on the swing or tuck you in reminds me that you are indeed still so little even though you want to be so 037copy.jpglargethumbThis past year was a big one. We bit the bullet last November and potty trained you. You did not look back. One weekend later and we ended up being naps and night trained as well. In your true spirit, you blew us away with your ease in doing things.  That’s you nature bud. You are just an easy going, mellow kid who wants to be loved. You continue to be so mild mannered that some days I wonder where that came from.  Maybe from your paw-paw? Not your daddy and I.   You do big kid things like go with your buddy places without us.  ut yet you are tenative to try anything new.   You are an old soul in your ways that you respond yet you are such a little boy in others. Your physical stature leads most to believe you are school age but we know you are right where you are supposed to be.  You are so kind to others that at times it takes my breath away.

This morning when you woke up you asked me, “Mom even though I am big, could you still stay until I fall asleep?”   And the answer is yes, buddy. Always. I will always be here.

Happy Birthday little man!

I love you to the moon and back.


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 all images via the Lewis Sisters Photography, Bloomington, IL 




I’m going to tell you a story about a boy and girl. This boy and this girl met when they were twelve weeks old. They were loved and cared for by a woman who loved them like their own. The took music class together when they were not even a year. Their mamas became fast friends and even share a birthday.


They separated for awhile at the age of one only to be reunited some six months later at daycare.  They have slept next to each other on cots, played with each for hours on end, chased each other on the playground and had their fair share of tiffs.  They love each other unconditionally like siblings do. They don’t know anything else. They have been together forever. When one is crying the other is quick to console. When one is silly the other follows suit.


She’s fearless.  He’s timid.

He’s mellow and overly sensitive.  She is full of personality and quick to console.

Today with their friends they celebrated their fourth birthdays together.


And I stood with her mama and we wondered what the future holds… to Brady and Brooklym Happy Birthday Buds! The best is yet to come but my has it been fun to watch you grow!






Happy Friday Friends! Sorry it’s been a bit quiet this week. Life just got in the way and we have been having way to much fun! I will be back with a list update next week and some other posts but today I am linking up with one of my favorite weekly link-ups.  Currently I am…

Smelling the sweet and salty smell of the Neutrogena sunscreen my kids wear on a daily basis. I think that this smell will forever remind me of my kids and the summer weather because whether we are at the park, the pool or they are at daycare that I can smell their sunscreen anywhere.

Wishing we could get to the bottom of Cate’s situation. I was going to post about her skin issues but then they even took a bigger turn for the worse and now we aren’t really sure what is going on so until I know more I am going to hold off.  What I can tell you is that my poor sweet girl is so itchy and uncomfortable in her own skin that it is almost hard to watch. Every day when we take her clothes off to either get her dressed or give her a bath, I pray in that moment that it has all gone away.  So far, that has not been the case.

Loving these last few glorious days before I return to work next week.  I am in squeeze all things in and get all things done mode but it is good and fun and my kids are so content right now.  Mother Nature has blessed us with mild weather in the past few weeks to the point that it has been plain cold some nights.  The sunny days, cooler temps and less humidity have allowed for our windows to be open.  It has also meant we can enjoy our time outdoors instead of being sweaty all the time.  With no routine, I find myself saying yes more and accepting that my kids just want to be kids. The park, the pool and the beach all made their way into our week this week and we had fun. This is honestly the first summer I can truly say I am not ready to go back to school.

Pouring more water as I have gotten into a nice routine with exercise. I am a better person when I exercise and I feel better. Just happier, calmer and patient.    The more I exercise the more I feel myself wanting water instead of pop or lemonade.  I love adding fruit to my water just to give it a bit of flavor but to be honest there is nothing more refreshing to me than an ice cold glass of water.  A mason jar helps too right?

Talking to Cate before she goes to sleep.  Cate and I have this funny routine at night. She is a dictator about it.  She is our snuggle bed and will let you rock her all night if you want to and that part of the routine makes up for the other part.   It makes me think of that book “Love You Forever” because I honestly think I will be sneaking in to her room when she is older to rock her because she will let me and since she is my last baby I won’t say no to it.  However, when you rock her you have to sing to her. I don’t exactly have a singing voice and the only song she will stand for is the A-B-C song.  I swear if you recorded it you would laugh at my voice but the minute you start singing her breathing slows, her head settles in my shoulder and I usually tear up because I am full of  love that is greater than I thought capable.