Sunday, December 31, 2017

Christmas and New Years in Iowa

We're back in Iowa for a packed weekend full of stuff.

We have Christmas round 2 to celebrate with Grandma and Julie, an early birthday for Charlie and ringing in the new year. Busy, busy.

Getting here was a debacle. For starters, winter in midwest is always unpredictable so up until the morning of we weren't sure how the roads would be. Secondly, flu season this year has been brutal. The week leading up, C came down with a fever and just generally not feeling well. By yesterday she had recovered, BUT, a close family friend that was staying with Oma and visiting for the weekend wasn't feeling well. Sooo....the morning of after more back-and-forth than necessary we called a hotel, booked a room and loaded up the car. And we were off.

Christmas at Grandmas was low key with sandwiches, gifts and plenty of smiles. We came back the next day to celebrate Charlotte's 7th birthday. She had requested a cake with blue icing, white icing, and plenty of sprinkles. Grandma delivered.

The plus to staying in a hotel is always the pool. Unfortunately, because four year olds prefer not to listen to directions and because water is so tempting Grace jumped in before we were ready which meant I went in fully clothed...including a phone in my pocket. Whoops.

So other than a very expensive trip to the Apple Store once back home, the weekend was wonderful. Everyone stayed healthy, we had a lot to celebrate, shared a lot of laughs and opened more presents than we needed.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas Day Warm and Fuzzies

After all the anticipation, and hype, here we are: Christmas morning.
We're in our pajamas, coffee in hand, snuggled warmly on the couch as the sound track of Christmas music mixed with laughter plays. 

Santa Claus was here last night as evidence by the crumbs and letter that he left. He managed to hang a new indoor swing in the office without waking any of us up, and left two very large very cuddly stuffed animals for the girls. One fox that C quickly named "Gilbert" and an elephant which G named "Fluffy". Welcome to the family Gilbert and Fluffy. 

This is it. This is really what matters. I know that sitting here watching everyone how fortunate we are. We're healthy and happy, we have a warm house to come home to each day,(albeit constantly under construction) and a warm dinner to sit down to each night. What more do you really need?

Merry Christmas to All.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Night Before Christmas

Twas the Night Before Christmas. The house is quiet, Santa Claus is on his way. The presents are mostly wrapped - doing a few last minute items this eve. Oma is here to celebrate with us this year. She wasn't last year and it felt a bit ''off'". I'm happy we can all be together while we lounge in our PJs drinking coffee and watching Christmas morning unfold.

Dada got the reading gig this eve while I visited with Mom for a bit and finished the wrapping. I snuck up for a few photos of this sweet scene. It never ceases to amaze me how much love can fit in such a small space. 

The sugar plums should be well on their way now. 

Until the morning.....

Friday, December 22, 2017

Nutcracker and Tea

Charlotte and I joined a group of neighbors for a special big kids night out. I didn't think Grace would be able to sit through the entire production so it seemed like a perfect way to cash in on some one-on-one time with Charlotte.

We put on fancy dresses and lipstick and walked down the block to meet up with the rest of our small group where we climbed inside of a limo bus. Because when you put on fancy dresses and shoes you need a fancy ride. 

First stop was The Drake for what is likely the most expensive tea we've ever had, though I believe the point is that you're paying for more than just tea. Charlotte loved this place. They bought us cocktails, and small bites on fancy layered plates that were magically refilled when we weren't looking.

After tea we were off to the theatre where we made it to our seats just in time. The Nutcracker was a beutiful performance but I'm not convinced that we're ballet fans quite yet. Charlotte's first question was "when are they going to talk?" and I'd be lying if I said I didn't nearly fall asleep in the second half (Charlotte actually did).

It was a wonderful evening, full of memories....and tea!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Grandma and the Girls

You know that feeling when you are trying to take a photo of a group of people and the kids won't actually look at the camera at the same time? Really frustrating. 

Friday, December 8, 2017


First sled outing of the year. For all the scraping windows, snowy boots, shivery mornings the first snow is still pretty magical.
Our sledding left some to be desired as a result of a wimpy hill and very little snow. But we still had fun!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Being a parent is hard. It's ugly and humbling and just when you feel like you've got it figured out one of them say's "penis" or tells you girls are being mean at school, or maybe you catch them in the middle of a lie. Things that put you back in your place and feel that you've been a parent for all of 5 seconds.

But for now, we're doing alright. We don't make all the perfect parenting decisions. We only feel prepared about 30% of the time. But when I can get out of my head long enough to just observe I see two remarkable humans.

Two girls who are happy, healthy, curious, and full of love. They are the reason we remain humble. They are our compass.

Thursday, November 23, 2017


We're back in Iowa celebrating all of our thankfulness with our Iowa family.
So much to be thankful for and so happy we can be back here.

Years ago, before kids we threw around many many places where we would like to relocate. Based on jobs, retirement dreams, cost of living, etc.

In the end we stayed in Chicago for a number of reasons. One of those was proximity to family. And each time that we're able to come back home for a quick weekend, holiday or birthday celebration I'm reminded of how fortunate we are to be so close.

Iowa is our other home. The farm, Grandma's house, sitting on screened in porches and pies. There's always a pie.

Happy Thanksgiving. So much to be thankful for here.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Just Hanging Around

Just hanging out at Oma's house. This really is like our paradise and always a welcome break to all the crazy that consumes our daily lives. Oma got this playset and upgraded it with a set of gymnast rings and bar. So for now, we're just hanging out. 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017


The girls decided pretty early on what they wanted to be this year for Halloween. I kept waiting for their minds to changed, but they didn't even budge. After watching the first two Harry Potter movies, they were absolutely convinced that they must be wizards. They both wanted to be Hermoine Granger, but so C spoke up first. They didn't want to be the same person, so Grace decided to be Jenny Weasley. No fighting, no sadness, she just picked another character.
One trip to the Party City and out we came with 2 Hogwarts robes, 2 magic wands, and 2 Hogwarts scarves. Or if you ask them, two completely different costumes.

The days leading up to Halloween we made some quick sewing adjustments, gathered up brooms, and waited not so patiently.

Trick or Treating starts early where we live - while it's still light enough to see, so we headed ahead of dinner. C was adamant that she wanted to collect candy in a pillow case this year. A decision, which I think she somewhat regretted when it got a bit heavier and there was no handle to hold onto.

The weather was chilly, we lasted about an hour before the girls were ready to head home. Our little wizards had a pretty awesome night. Lots of candy, lots of people feeding into the costume believing. Most of all a whole lot of smiles!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Halloween Pre-Game

Costumes are ready. Now the pumpkins need carved.
We opted out of big pumpkins this year in favor of small pumpkins that each of the girls picked out. They drew out what they wanted their designs to be and Troy and I executed. 
It was a fun challenge and the girls loved the finished designs. We loved the ease of clean up and the lack of squirrels swarming around to eat them. 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Fall Festivities

We met with a couple other fun families to ring in the fall at a local pumpkin patch. We've been to other pumpkin farms in the area and I always leave feeling a bit irritated that not only do we have to pay to get in, but then we have to pay if we want our kids to get in on any of the other activities (petting barns, rides, etc.). It's a bit of a racket.

So I was skeptical to say the least. But good friends made the suggestion, and after a rainy start to the morning, and a stop at Starbucks along the way we arrived with an open mind.
We paid our entrance fee and I prepared myself for the next 2 hours of telling the girls "no" as they asked go go on a slew of non-included things.

But...only a couple of minutes in and I was shocked. Every. Single. Thing. was included.
And, because it was a bit rainy/misty that morning, there were no lines and very few people there. It was pretty great and my have spoiled me for future trips.

Highlight of the trip: the corn pit. Similar to a ball pit, but filled with corn. Charlotte decided that rolling around in it wasn't enough and needed to create a bit of a high dive....

Fun day and a great start to the halloween holiday coming up!

Friday, September 29, 2017


This year we've seen so many heartbreaking stories of hurricane damage throughout the US and abroad.
A few of the neighborhood kids wanted to do something to help so a very long string of texts amongt the moms and a weekend game plan was hatched. 

There were treats and drinks, and everything was by donation. The outcome was pretty amazing, and when all was said and done they had raised over $700 for hurricane victims. 

The principal even took time on the morning announcements to give a shout-out to the kids. 

Pretty great things happening over in our neighborhood.