Saturday, August 30, 2014


What I thought would be a quiet, perhaps even a little boring, weekend has already started filling up. This morning, Mike and I took the kids into Chicago to meet up with some old law school friends who are in town this weekend. Heidi and Max live in New York, and we don't often see them. You know you're in a different stage of life when you realize the last time you saw someone was prior to one of their children being born. We tend to measure our lives in child birthing cycles now, I guess.

Their sweet curly-haired daughter is three and Anna immediately adopted her. Handholding, chit-chatting, and hugs and kisses. It was the closest Anna will get to babysitting in the near future and she couldn't get enough!

After a quick brunch, we walked around Millennium Park and visited the Bean. The Jazz Festival was in full set-up mode so we steered ourselves through the vendors and into the full lawn of the concert area. The kids ran til they got sticky and sweaty and we sat and chatted.

Our friends had to scoot up to the northern burbs for some wedding festivities so we decided to swing by the Art Institute. Mike's parents gave us a family membership for Christmas and we've used it several times. A Magritte special exhibit had been on our to-do list for awhile and we finally got to see it today. Anna begged to visit the Thorne Miniature Rooms and we bought her a book (surprise!) in the gift shop from the 68 rooms series, which is loosely based on the rooms in the basement of the Art Institute.

My feet were aching after all the walking. Thankfully, we are headed for an evening of leftovers and Star Wars...  

Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday... or we made it this far!

Well, the kids should be home in two hours. That means I've got two hours to, ya know, think. The first week has gone relatively well and the reality that this is seriously happening every day has sunk in with the kids. Anna had no temperature all day yesterday so she made it back to school today.

Our fingers are crossed that next week will be a bit cooler. They've complained so much about the heat and I don't blame them a bit. I can't stand sitting around and sweating, which is exactly what they do because there's no air conditioning in their school.

Labor Day (or Neighbor Day, as Abe calls it) completely snuck up on me. I planned nothing whatsoever, so it looks like one last trip to the pool and, perhaps, some ice cream will be our major social outings. Some friends from NYC are in town and we may be able to catch up with them. Other than that you will find us hanging out and being lazy.

Mike and I had a good meeting with our architect today to discuss the initial plans for a house remodel. We're both pretty giddy about it. This won't be a McMansion by any means, but it will work better for us. We'll be reclaiming a ton of space upstairs and shifting bedrooms to that level and the kitchen plan included an island (be still my heart). There is still so much to figure out like, um, the cost! But that giant cliff is still in the future. Now we just get to enjoy the idea of what our home could be.

Our thoughts have been on home renovation so much that Abe asked me the other day if I personally knew the "home brothers." No, sweet boy, I don't know the Property Brothers. But I would love to have them design our house if they're in the neighborhood. Abe keeps piping up with ideas about what should happen with our house. Make a garage with a bathroom! Paint my room RED! Put in a giant pool!

Sure thing, kiddo.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

First Day Photos!

First Week

So it's Thursday. Day four of the first week of school and wouldn't ya know I've already got a kid sick at home. WHATTT?? Yep, a little cold, nothing too serious, but Anna came home from school yesterday with a runny nose and a 102 temp. Soo here we are.

School started on Monday and I think it's gone relatively well. The first day was a little rough for Anna, but Abe had a grand old time. Kindergarten agrees with him so far, but he does think there's not enough time to just play. Me too!

The first day was weird for me. Mike worked from home so he could walk the kids to school with me. They loved that. We came home to a quiet house after Abe's afternoon kindergarten and sat on the couch... it's an eery silence when the kids are gone. Although I'm very grateful for the quiet time each day and believe this will be good for everyone in our family, I was still a little weirded out. A new rhythm, I suppose.

Yesterday, I went to get my monthly allergy shots. Alone. Yet another little item on my to-do list that suddenly got quieter. However, I got some laundry done and ran a couple of errands and sat on the computer to sign the kids up for a couple of things (which is the HARDEST thing to do when the kids are around). That felt great. Almost too easy, if you know what I mean.

Tonight's dinner is in the crock pot and another load of laundry just finished. People, it's AMAZING what you can do with a teensy bit of kid-free time.

Mike will be home later today from a quick business trip and then we get to meet with our architect tomorrow morning to see some initial drawings for a potential remodel. This has me super psyched!! Fingers crossed that we can make something good happen here!

I'll post first day pics soon, but they're on two different cameras and I haven't been able to transfer them to the computer yet. Tootles!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

It's starting...

Tomorrow we will visit Abe’s kindergarten class for a walk-thru visit. Tomorrow night we will have soccer practice, our third practice of the season. Last night was my first church committee meeting of the year and next Tuesday will be Mike’s.

School starts Monday. Block party and soccer game on Saturday. The kids will start yoga soon on Tuesdays.  And there are a couple of other odds and ends to add to the weekend calendar this fall.

It’s starting. I’m trying not to overschedule, but stuff just adds up and September is always intense.

At the moment I’m actually looking forward to having a schedule again. I think I just need a little structure to help me get my mojo back. However, the kids are pretty quiet on the subject and I think they’re having some anxiety about the great unknown.

We’re going to head to Chicago for one last visit and lunch with Mike and then the weekend will go quickly with the block party.

I’m hoping the kids will be distracted from their worries and the regular ol’ tensions that erupt during the course of the day around here. The kids are arguing more and more lately and I’d really like to see them have some peacefulness prior to THE BIG DAY next week. We’ll see… as they grow, so do their personalities.

This will be the summer that flew by with lots of little weekend trips and camps rather than a big family vacation. The coming year will bring a lot of changes also, and not just with Abe starting school. We are contemplating a home renovation and that will throw our family a major curveball next year. 

Nothing ever stays the same, does it?

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Let's Run the Numbers

By my count, there are only 18 days left until school starts on Monday, August 25.

18 days.

Now four of those days are already accounted for because we are taking a quick trip to Missouri. That leaves me with:

14 days.

And in those 14 days I've got quite a lot to accomplish...

  • Eye doctor for Abe
  • Yearly check-ups for both kids
  • Collect up all those doctor forms to give to school
  • Attend the Day Out with Thomas event at the Railway Museum
  • Attend a birthday party for family friends
  • Participate in two soccer practices and one soccer game (though we're skipping due to Thomas event)
  • Select FIRST DAY outfits
  • Find FIRST DAY signs for kids to hold and take pictures with
  • Facilitate a church women's group gathering
  • Clear out old artwork/papers to make way for new artwork/papers
  • Make a billion water balloons for block party; attend the block party
  • Get Abe a haircut 
The kids both had little camps this week and so I managed to declutter Abe and Anna's rooms a bit and box up most of their school work in their keep boxes for last year. It was a lot of pitching old papers, but I did want to keep a few items. Of course, I forgot all about the art wall in our dining room.

I hope next week will be warm here because I'd like to veg out at the pool (when we're not running to doc appointments). This summer has been great, but I'm plum tuckered out and I don't seem to have a creative bone left in my body. I know that school will suddenly be upon us and I will regret not having done a few more things with the kids, but that's life, right?  

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

A Renaissance, of sorts

Ain't to party like a Renaissance party...

Actually, that's true. I'm being serious. There really is no thing like the Renaissance Faire. And the world can probably only handle one, so this is a good thing.

Our first foray into this little world last summer caught us by surprise. It's nothing we ever dreamed we'd enjoy, but the kids were over the moon to enjoy the costumes, the accents, the jousts, every single bit of it. And rather than re-hashing my summary from last year, I'll link to it here.

We knew we wanted to visit again this year, and as I looked at the calendar last week, I realized that we only had this weekend to accomplish it. Every other day is filled and school is so closely caving in on us. We needed to make it happen - fast

So we made the trek to Bristol, WI, on Sunday. 

Anna was excited to don her flowers and ribbons from last year. Plus, she wanted to dress in her Arrietty costume again. There's a fairy element to all of the faire's activities and Arrietty seems to be a part of that magical world.

She immediately blew our minds by asking if she could ride the ponies. This child does not typically ask to participate in things involving animals. In fact, she feels much better when animals are on the pages of books, rather than standing on the ground before her.

It was an act that stunned me. And, for all those people out there who are thinking what's the big deal??? just know that it was a big deal.

I'm hopeful that this newfound bravery will carry her through an upcoming birthday party where there will be pony rides. But, as always, you don't know which way the wind will blow until the day comes.

After the pony ride, Anna visited with a woodland fairy in a clearing nearby. The fairy was so enchanted by Anna's gold shoes that she stopped to admire them. It was charming.

We took in a joust, which was less enjoyable this year due to the heat and our decision to sit in the sun. We left a bit early and headed out for a traditional lunch of one giant turkey leg, and some pizza and a brat. When in Wisconsin...

And then, of course, we headed to the pirate ship. Abe has been wanting to swab the deck again since last summer. It didn't disappoint. In fact, we decided the kids were old enough to go by themselves (and the parents were old enough to stop paying the $5/person entry fee) so Mike and I sat outside the ship and enjoyed a soda and the music coming from a nearby tent.

It was hot and we were ready to head home by early afternoon. We'd all had fun, but air conditioning sounded wonderful and the turkey leg wasn't sitting so well in my stomach.

Everyone agreed that we'd like to make it a summer tradition. It's such fun. If you have one nearby, I'd recommend giving it a try.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Sand man

Sand must have some sort of magical power over my children. They absolutely love to play in the sand at our pool, maybe even more so than the actual swimming pool. Abe can lose himself for hours in the sand box. Despite three sessions of swim lessons this summer, I still find Abe here most of the time:

Anna has fallen in love with swimming and I can say her loyalties are more equally divided. However, she spent most of last year in the sand area also. Anna's imagination has just simply transferred from sand to water. Mermaids. Go figure. She finds her way back to the sand area for long periods of time every day though. 

I think what amazes me so much is that kids (at least my own kids) can quickly embrace the wide open canvas of sand. Adults simply don't do that any more. The tunnels, the islands, the castles, the highways. Sure, we could entertain ourselves for 20 or 30 minutes, but I've literally watched Abe stay in that sand pit for two hours, oblivious to the world around him. 

Our hope for Abe to finally start swimming underwater didn't really pan out this year. I guess it's a good thing we live in Chicago and not by the beach. However, he has a lot of fun wearing his swim vest and paddling around, chasing after his friends. I think he will accidentally dunk his head underwater while playing one day and then that will be that. 

We suffered through our first set of swim lessons with me threatening and bribing and it never really worked. Once I decided to just sit quietly and see if anything came of the lessons, I realized that our timing is off. He's too fearful of the water right now. Perhaps next summer Abe will loosen up, and, of course, he will be taller and stronger. 

Anna's swimming has improved remarkably this year. She lacks confidence to really swim in the deep, deep area, but I feel confident that she can do it. Anna will swim distances, coming up for a breath and then continuing. However, she has a mental block about swimming in certain "deep" areas. It's hard to talk someone out of a fear. No jumping off the diving board this year. 

So we joined a pool this summer so we could watch our kids play in the sand as much as swim. 

I can live with that.