Friday Randoms V.16

Oh man, quiet over here in blog land. Some days I will tell you I literally just had nothing to write and other days I knew I had things to say but wasn’t really wanting to put them out there for all to read.

This week was just weird.  And hectic. And weird.  When we have a busy weekend, I feel like we don’t recover really well the next week.  Coupled with the fact that Cate has had a cold for a long time and a fever showed up Wednesday night which feels weirdly fitting for this week.  I caught a cold earlier this week and I am still suffering through it.  I feel like I have been sick every other month since Christmas.   Prior to this year, I have been pretty healthy but this year has not been great.  Add to that, work has been a beast.  I’ll just leave it at that for now.  A beast that I am not dealing with very well right now.  And I have to chaperone the prom on Saturday night.  It is a lovely night.  Really lovely night once you get there.   But getting there and the days leading up to it are hard.  No one likes being out on a Saturday night at my age until midnight, with teenagers and without booze.  The upside of all of this is that my mama is on her way and my pops will be here tomorrow so there’s that positive.

If you saw my Facebook post last weekend, my ma scored big at the Lilly Pulitzer for Target extravaganza last weekend. She braved the crowds since mine was not even bearable and managed to score quite a few things for Cate and I.  I’m dying to try them on and keep thinking some returns might make their way back in to the store soon. A girl can hope right? Have you seen the resale market? Ebay sellers are charging the same for this merchandise as it costs for regular Lilly stuff. Insanity I tell you.

Brady is in full t-ball swing. We followed the rules and put him in the 4/5 year old league for non-Kindergartners and let me tell you- big mistake playing by the rules. He was huge. A beast among babies and his athleticism really showed.  So we moved to the kindergarten league where tons of kids not in kindergarten are playing but it is pretty much the same and we are waiting for him to say he is bored. I’m not ready for him to get older but I am ready for him to start playing more organized sports. I need something to challenge him on that front besides Glenn and I in the front yard.

Around the Internet

I am truly a loyalist and a lover of J. Crew. But lately, some of their stuff has my head scratching.  This article is so funny and on point.  Bring back the classics. Please.

This article is interesting just because I know people that this situation is theirs but I fall in the others category where it is not the case.  I don’t feel like I “get it” or it “resonates” with me because honestly I work because it makes sense financially,  for insurance and because I love it.  If one of those things changed, I’m not sure where I would stand. If there is one thing being married to my husband has done, it has made me have a more critical eye with money. Scary.

And finally, this video had tears running down my face.

What We Ate

Monday- Grilled Kabobs

Tuesday- Grilled Chicken and Scalloped Potatoes

Wednesday- Sushi and Sandwiches

Thursday- Burgers

Friday- ?

Happy Weekend. Enjoy it… I know I am ready for some time with my mama and pops.



Travel Wear

I am trying to be really practical when it comes to packing for vacation. Two small kids, an airport, a week worth of stuff is just a lot to manage so I want to be comfy when I travel and be able to wear some of the things when I am out there. I don’t want to wear shorts but the thought of wearing jeans sounds terrible too since it will be in the 90’s when we get there.


It might be the perfect time to try the pants ( I have been wanting them all winter) and all of a sudden I am a big fan of Lucy Activewear.  I am thinking my Mia slip-ons are the just the right things to wear in the airport and slip on and off. I can wear this stuff again when I am out hiking, walking or getting a run in since I am confident our kids will be up early!

What do you like to wear when you travel?


Friday Randoms V.4

­­­­­­­Happy Friday! Oh my gosh this week has just been brutal. I don’t know what it is but I have to tell you I feel like I am just off. I am just not feeling it. I’m tired, grumpy and just feeling funny.  Maybe it’s been the start of a new semester, the weird schedules, and Cate being up a lot of nights this week.  I started to wonder if I was even getting sick maybe but I think I am just in a funk right now. Wah… I don’t know what it is but as I told Glenn I feel like I could complain for hours but I really have nothing to complain about.  Ugh…

If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen this. There is something so special about my Brady James.  Unprompted he showed this to his teacher and said it was a note for me.


We have a lot going on this weekend but it should be fun stuff which makes me happy. Glenn and I are going to see American Sniper tonight and tomorrow he and I have date with our sweet girl while Brady is at a birthday party extravaganza. And then of course there is the Super Bowl. I am dying to make this Supreme Pizza Dip. I have a feeling it will be a hit!

I shared this article on my facebook page.  As an educator, I just don’t agree with PARCC testing.  As a parent I am teriffied.   I am soon going to become the mom of a kindergartner and the standardized testing world is problem my biggest worry if we navigate the public education system.  The only hope I have is this our school district.  This letter gives me some confidence that public school systems will join forces in eliminating our testing system.

Food for the Week

Monday- Spaghetti Squash Pizza Bake (it was delicious and even better as leftovers)

Tuesday- Sushi (Our cleaning ladies come and I refuse to cook in a sparkling kitchen)

Wednesday-  Skinnytaste CookbookSanta Fe Crockpot Chicken  over Rice

Thursday- Glenn was working late  so the kids had breakfast for dinner since they beg for Paw Paw’s pancakes and loved this new gadget!

Friday- Hmmmm…

Have a great weekend!



So You Wannt Know About Cate

So You Want to Know About Cate.

Happy Birthday four months late to our little big girl! Almost 3.5 years old and some days I swear she is a teenager.  I can’t believe that we sang happy birthday to Cate for the third time already. It seems like yesterday we were driving to Prentice at 5am in 90 degree heat to bring her in to this world and here we are three and half years later we have a little girl who has no baby left in her.  Not one little bit no matter how hard I try.


In the past year Cate has grown more than I ever thought possible. She is verbal, so verbal that some days it is scary.  She finishes our sentences, remember things from weeks ago and can predict what we are going to say before we even say it.  She asks to go back to Santa’s Village at least once a week even though we have only been there once and it was in July.  She recognizes all of her letters, can write her name and will “read” stories to herself daily.  She is observant about everything and asking questions like, “Why do you smell good or why do you not have your jammies on” on nights I have to go back to work. Cate loves to sing with “Shake It Off” being her current favorite.


This past February marks the beginning of glasses. Thank goodness for Miss Patti who was in my ear enough that I finally broke down and took you to the doctor.  And those glasses for Cate have been the simplest thing we have done with her. She loves them… she wears them; she asks to put them on in the morning if we forget and Craig is her friend since he fixes them so frequently.  I was so scared that she would be teased but her daddy wasn’t worried. She is strong willed, fierce and a leader and I should have known that it wouldn’t faze her.


Cate has an intensity that is new for me. Everything she does is at 100%.  150% for that matter.  She laughs louder than anyone when her daddy chases her or picks her up upside down.  She cries harder when we tell her no to one of her many requests.  She negotiates the hell out of anything. One more minute.  One more jelly bean. The negotiating is exhausting and complicated and Glenn and I both know that someday this will work to her benefit.   Cate loves with little fear of rejection. Her kisses on my neck when I get her out of her crib are intentional and her hugs are stifling when she is willing to give them.  She is stubborn and strong willed. She makes simple things at times really really hard.  She is as much a girly girl as I still am a tomboy.  She loves to play with princesses or your make up table and anything art related will widen your smile.


In the past year, Brady has started to see her as a play mate more and she has found a way to idolize him more than before.  And Cate does anything to get her brother’s attention even if it gets her in trouble yet she always make sure we know when he plays with her toys and or isn’t “making good choices”


Cate’s obsession with Peppa the Pig is scary.  She cares for her baby dolls like they are her own and she rarely can be found far from the Play-Dough table.  Art is her new obsession- scissors, glue, markers and crayons and the mess is where you are happiest.  Cate loves to shop with me and will go anywhere I want as long as she can come.


As fierce as Cate is, she is sleepy and snuggly and sweet and funny. This little girl has a piece of her daddy and I’s heart that I didn’t know existed.

Cate Frances, I love you more than the policeman and the best and most. Stay fierce but stay little big girl.




Life Updates

I find myself wanting to write a lot these days. Sometimes to just get something out of my head that I can’t seem to make sense of that putting on paper will hopefully become clearer or about specific events or moments that I want to remember forever.

Since, I last gave you an update we have hosted our first Thanksgiving quite successfully.  My parents joined us for a few days and we smoked a turkey on the Big Green Egg and had all the sides you could want.  My mom made a new corn casserole recipe that was to die for and I even think the turkey and wild rice chowder we made on Monday was worth talking about.

I got to spend a couple of hours shopping with my mom.  I love shopping with her but I love talking to her uninterrupted in person more.  Her clothes advice isn’t too shabby either!

We’ve all been a bit under the weather since Thanksgiving.  The throw up from Brady has been the worst of it.  While throwing up he wasn’t upset about being sick he was sad he missed slipper day at school.  It was pathetic and adorable all at once.  We have all had the sniffles, Cate’s I think might be a sinus infection or in her ears. It’s bad and she sounds awful.  She’s had it for over a week and the snot is now yellowish/green.  I am just praying we are healthy for the holidays. That my only wish right now.

We decorated our house for Christmas inside and out and it just makes me happy. Plain and simple.


We have two baptisms this month so we are going to have lots of church and family time in December.  We survived the first one unscathed and in all honesty our kids were amazing.  True troopers between being in the car, sitting in church, sitting thru a long meal and driving home.

I’m hoping we’ll survive the next few weeks and get some good quality family and down time after Christmas.  I think we all need it.

I’m not giving up writing here. So, bear with me as I get my fingers on a keyboard again.  Who knows when I will be back but I really love this little space.



Hello Monday

Hello Monday! Last week was not one of my finest.  I could rattle off why and who I blame but it doesn’t do a lot of good so I have decided to embrace this week and be better.  So, I am starting to with some hellos to this week to get me off on the right track.

Hello five day school week which should allow me to get ahead and be present and maybe even play some catch up from last week. 

Hello Take Your Kid to Work Day. Teachers open up their classrooms and plan things that are kid friendly.  I am so excited to have Brady come to school with me.  He finally gets it and we are going to have a blast!

Brady 4.5

Hello getting a physical for the first time in forever this week and taking charge and care of my health.  I have yet to find a doctor since I moved up here almost 11 years ago that which has been a big reason why I haven’t done these things.  I am trying a new doctor and hoping this is the switch that I need.

Hello a kitchen that can at least be walked in. We have a ways to go and the little decisions seem to be the hardest for me to make but I can almost smell food being cooked and see the bright color of fresh fruit on the counter.

Hello to finding the grace to parent with patience this week.  I am struggling to be calm and cool when I need to be the most and I think I need to make daily and weekly goals towards being the mother I want to be.

Cate 2.5

Hello getting back on to my yoga mat after this past week of colds and allergies not allowing me to get there.

Hello Monday. Let’s do this.



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…


Yours and Mine

This is our life

These are our days

This is us trying to find our way

Tthis is the love

This is the dream

This is us learning how to be who we are, who we are

Cause this is our life

I am currently flying at 35,000 feet after a series of delays on my return flight to Chicago.  The air is choppy and we are bouncing all over the place.  The sun is out which I haven’t seen since I left my home Thursday night.  The frustration of not leaving D.C. on time today has made me twitchy because I am impatient and there is nothing I want more than to tuck my babies in to bed tonight.  I know my husband’s tank is empty because every time before this trip, I have been the one home by myself.  It is exhausting and rewarding but it makes you appreciate marriage and co-parenting so much more.

I spent the past almost 48 hours snuggling a newborn and the quiet time with her gave me a lot of time to just be and talk with my sister in law instead of the chaos that I call my life right now.  I swear there is some secret society you join when you have a kid.  My SIL and I laughed until I cried about things, talked about tough stuff and spent the day just being together.   I even bought a rug.    I can honestly say I love her ,more than before and the mother she has become.  And she and my brother are pros at parenting.

This is our life

These are our friends

This is our family that grows and dance

This is our chance

This is our time

This is us making things to somehow leave behind

Wwhat will we leave behind to show

That this is our life

I kept laughing at my brother as he talked to his daughter about her body parts in the bath, told her sarcastically bad jokes when she was fussy and brushed her hair with the smallest brush I have ever seen before bedtime. But honestly, he is good. Damn good at being a dad and that makes me smile.  I knew he would be.  He has always had this ease with babies and a quiet calm that is soothing to anyone around him.

My SIL is a mom now. She’s in the club. And there is a softness to her that I don’t think was as obvious before.  Her voice instantly calms her daughter and she is gentle and loving and so easily a mom.

It’s really easy when you are holding a newborn to send a text and tell your husband you want another one.  (Not that I did that…okay maybe I did.)  But, as I am flying high in the sky and looking down I am thinking about how blessed I already I am and content I am in our life.  My family and the life we are creating and living.  I have two kids that I am totally completely in love with.  And a husband that I love more every single day.  I am looking forward to what the future holds.  Disney. Sports. Friends. School.   As our extended family grows, I am acutely aware at the immediate family that is mine.  And I feel so lucky.

Cause i am so thankful

For each moment that we share

Right here is everything i need

I love our life and I love you so much honey

Thank you for loving me

Oh, this is our life

Straight or a mess

These are our memories in progress

This is our work

This is our hope

This is us learning how to cope

And laugh and cry

Cause it’s all yours and mine

This is our life

Lyrics by Mary Beth Maziarz “This Our Life” whcih was our wedding song.


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.


6 Years Later and 1 Day Late

Dear Glenn,
6 years ago today, I walked down the aisle at my quaint, simple yet beautiful church on a hot, bright sunshine filled day in my hometown and said the words “I Do” to you.  We danced late in to the night, laughed until it hurt with our friends and spent a glorious extended honeymoon in Hawaii. (Let’s not talk about my illness mkay?)

We were young, carefree, excited to be married and start our life together. I don’t think I had a clue what that meant at the time. I think I am starting to now.

6 years later, 3 houses, 2 new cars, 2 kids, a promotion, and a new business is enough activity to probably break some marriages. Not ours. Even in our worst moments, you and I know that this life that we created is ours together.  Let’s be honest. That’s not to say we haven’t had some terse words or silent nights.

But the moment each day when I need you the most you are there.  Sometimes it’s to tell me to put my big girl panties on and be the mom I want to be and I am capable of being. Some days, it is to hug me when I feel like I have failed in my job or worse failed as a mother. Some days it’s just to tell me to loosen up and laugh a little.

If I am honest,  I feel like we are just putting band aids on certain pieces of our life to plug immediate leaks. The terrible twos and the bugs, trees and floods of the suburbs may just get the best of me. And yes, some days I am so exhausted by the two little humans we are responsible for that I feel like I have nothing in my tank to give to you.  Six years later I hope you that
every day I twirl my wedding rings when I am working, thinking or reflecting and I pause for a moment to think about you.  Every run ends with our wedding song as my cool down period.  Every time I stare at our kids, I think about you.

6 years later, I would say “I Do” again. Again and again and again.
I love you.