"Being a family means you are part of something wonderful. It means you will love and be loved for the rest of your life. No matter what." ~Author Unknown

Monday, September 30, 2013

Cousin Fun

It’s safe to say my sister may never leave her kids with me again.  For this weekend though, she enjoyed some time away with girlfriends and toddlers while the big girls stayed with me.  We all had fun, but before I go into detail, let me preface by saying my sister is a pediatric dietician.  Really, she is. 

Kaitlyn and Sof had dance.


It’s not unusual for us to get McDonalds lunch after.  Not a total fail yet.


The kids spent the afternoon playing outside and entertaining themselves.  In the evening we decided we would take them to a movie.  It was kinda last minute(meaning we didn’t have time to make dinner).


Mark and Steve decided that the popcorn, slushies, and candy we fed them wasn’t really dinner.  So what else could we do but stop at Wendy’s?  Honestly, we rarely eat fast food.  I was fairly disgusted by the end of the day, but the kids meal toys were totally worth it!


I like to call this picture “3 Shrek’s and a Jack Ass”.

As soon as we got home the girls got right back into their play.  I went to check on them to see what was keeping them so busy.


The conversation went like this:

Me:  Watcha guys doin’?

Livy: Hi Nenni!  We’re playing tattoo artist.  Over there is where you get the tattoo, and over here is surgery.

Me:  Wow, where’d you get that idea?  Never mind, have fun!

Adrienne had 3 friends spend night.  How could I not get Dunkin’ Donuts in the morning?


  I’m proud to say no one even puked!  Anyone need a sitter??

Sof and Growth

I’m lovin’ the growth in this girl.


She’s loves going to school now, and brings that learning home with her.


She’s constantly sitting at the table doing dot-to-dots, practicing her letters, or showing us how she can write all sorts of words in the “at” family.


She tells me she can read.  She gets out this chapter book and says, “Big girls don’t read with their voice, they do it in they’re minds”. 


She’s more interested in sidewalk chalk because she can actually write and draw stuff now.


She’s also into riding her bike.  She has more strength and stamina, so it’s more fun!


Even at the park she’s more capable.  She’s climbing more, sliding faster, and swinging higher.




Although I hate to see the passage of time, with every new phase seems to come some new benefit.  I’m loving the independence of this stage, and the discovery of learning.  When I pick her up from school she is no longer happy because I’m there to take her home, but more because she is excited to tell me about her day.  I never tire of that smile!


Sunday, September 29, 2013

School, Activities, and Some Fun In-between

The beginning of school is always an adjustment, but with that first couple weeks comes some adrenalin.  Everything is new, you’re organized, and you pack kick ass lunches.  Well, okay, maybe just that I packed a lunch was kick ass enough.  Then around week 3 you remember the daily grind sucks, June feels like eternity away, and you’re back to buying Pop Tarts. Last week felt like a slump, but finishing week 4, I think we’ve hit our groove. 

I’m an extra curricular activities junky.  I believe in them.  I require my kids to do them.  I think it’s healthy, and defines your social group and free time.  I will admit the way Adrienne does it is not necessarily “healthy”.


After dancing 8 hours on a Saturday you can come home and tear into a bag of peanut butter M&M’s.  She leaves the house at 7am for school, and doesn’t return until 9pm after dance.  Every. Day.  We’ve talked at length about it-priorities, juggling, goals, and enjoyment.  What she keeps coming back to is that she loves it.  She’s used to being that busy, and she can maintain her grades while doing it.  I can’t deny that.  Most of her social group is at dance, but she occasionally squeezes in a visit with school friends.






Adrienne embraces her dance schedule.  She doesn’t know anything else.  For now, it’s working for her.  Lexi, on the other hand, has always enjoyed having time at home.  She can easily busy herself outside or in her room.  She enjoys organized activities, as long as they’re not every night.  I’m excited about her choices this year.  They seem to fit her personality and don’t require too much commitment.  She’s going to be doing cheerleading one night a week(Sunday).  Try outs were last weekend, and she had her own little cheerleader watching her!


   She’s really excited about this, and so am I!  It uses all her dance and gymnastics skills, but also gives her something new.  She also joined cross country.  I don’t think it’s her passion, but some of her friends were doing it so she gave it a try.


Funny sidebar…the two girls with her here are twins.  They were in Lexi’s preschool classes.  We did a few mommy and me things with them back then, but lost touch after the girls went to school.  Go figure they ended up in a bunch of the same classes and hit it off again!  I’m super happy because not only are they nice girls, I like their mom too:) 

Sof started back up with dance.  She absolutely loves it.  She asks everyday if it’s her dance day!  Luckily she goes twice a week this year!  Her Monday class is tap and jazz.  It’s a little bit over her head, but it’s a performing class which means she’ll get to compete in the spring.  She’s been practicing her basic steps at home, so hopefully she’ll figure it out!


Kaitlyn is also in her class!  Bonus cousin time at dance:)


They also take ballet on Saturday mornings.  So cute how Sof follows her big cousin!



Adrienne worked the lobby that morning, which made a big ol’ family affair.


I think we’ve got the extra curriculars covered pretty well.  Each girl has their niche, and I think we’re in for a fun, busy year!

I’m loving my work schedule.  Not only do I have one full day off, but I was able to work out a carpool for Adrienne so I can work more afternoons.  This gives Sof and I three mornings at home.  I’m loving having her as my little buddy tagging along on errands.


We finally got her hair cut.  Just a little trim off the ends!


We spend a lot of time at the grocery store.  Since Monday is my day off, we spend most of it doing Sunday chores.  Which makes Sundays more relaxing.


Very serious conversation on the ol’ sweet potato phone.


Mornings are more relaxed too.  We can walk Lexi out to the bus in jammies.


We don’t have to rush out the door.


Checkin’ out her “lipstick”.


We can even meet a friend for breakfast.


Of course we fit in lots of fun stuff after school too.  We’ve had a couple fires.


We hosted our non-bowling group last weekend.  It used to be the bowling group, but we decided we don’t really like the bowling part, so we dumped it.



Could you get a worse quality picture??

We had  Friday night at Anne and Rick’s.


We also visited the St. Pat’s fair on a beautiful Sunday afternoon!




Natalie loved the slide!  She would have done it a million times!


Livy, Lexi, and Kaitlyn rode some crazy things!  No way I’d go on this!



Fun times!

Sunday, September 8, 2013


This weekend we took a trip to Chicago.  It was technically a work trip for Mark(Printing and Bindery Show), but we found plenty of time to sneak in pleasure.  We snuck out a little early Friday and got into town just in time for dinner.


We went to Zed 451 which is a cool steakhouse of sorts.  They have a rooftop bar, so we had a drink there before dinner.  It was a beautiful, warm, summer night!  Not sure what the 2 guys in back are looking at…but kinda looks like they’re checkin’ out Mark’s butt.

We went with one of Mark’s partners Bob and his wife Debbie.  We were bummed that Brian and Ami coundn’t make it, but kid duties prevailed. 


The concept at Zed is basically all you can eat.  There’s a huge buffet of fresh salads, soups, and antipastos to choose from first.  Then when you’re done you set a special rock out next to your plate.  This signals the wait staff that you are ready for meat.  There are probably 12 different meats and fishes.  They keep coming to your table until you can’t eat another bite! 


We were told the “Wagu” is unbelievable.  A must have.  I think they were out back killing one, because we didn’t see it until the very end when we asked for it.  I could NOT put another thing in my mouth.  I just had to take Mark’s word for it that it was “OK”.  


After dinner we walked and walked because we were so full!  It was a beautiful night in the city!


The next morning we decided we would take a Segway tour.  Helmets not optional.



We signed our life away in the contract, absolving them of any responsibility of injury or death.  Then we headed to the training ground for the 10 minute tutorial.  Biggest message?  Don’t get to close to things!  Remember your wheels extend 6 inches out from you!  We practiced a few minutes and were on our way.  We followed the guide to the riverfront.

IMG_6367We got a short history lesson on the buildings and beaches, and then the guide turned us loose to race around on our Segways in the nearby park.


Segway Tour: $39

Helmet: Included

Watching Bob Hit the Lamp Post and Go Flying: Priceless

I’m telling you I have not laughed this hard since Mike Jessup hit the parking block on his bike in Florida.  Seriously, my stomach hurt from laughing so hard.  Debbie was crying laughing so hard.  All weekend long we laughed about this.  It was by far the highlight of our weekend.  Besides a scraped up knee and bruised thigh, he came out of it okay. 

Bob and Debbie went on to spend the afternoon at the ball game(where Bob redeemed his day by catching a ball) and Mark and I did some walking and shopping.

That evening we went out for Italian at “Volare”.  Our friends Josh and Christi came into the city to meet us.  Mark is a customer of Josh’s, and they also have a Russian adopted little guy.


Dinner was amazing!  Bob’s Segway fall provided another round of laugh till hurts. 


Mark was the only one not drinking wine.  Rule breaker!  Great time, great people.


Sunday Bob and Mark went to the show, which left Debbie and I on our own.  We did some shopping and ended the day at Grand Lux for lunch.  Of all the times I’ve been there I’ve never been seated in the big glass corner overlooking Michigan Avenue.  Super cool!


If you happen to see me this week and I’m chuckling to myself, I’m just thinking about a Segway and a lamp post!