Category Archives: pictures

Desperation. 

My last post was all “tra-la-la, summer is amazing and wonderful and hot and we go to the pool every day! I love life!”

We’re on day, I don’t know, 7, maybe?, of rain. It feels like 87. And there’s no end in sight. 

The boys are coming up with new and more dangerous ways to pass the time. This is Bennett, Jack Henry and their friend Connor, aka my beloved fourth child, playing some game in the basement that resembles jumping in a leaf pile. 

  
Shirtless because their shirts are in the dryer, because I sent them out to play in the rain when my two children started to cannibalize. 

Send help. Or maybe just some good tequila. 

Pool Day

This boy, who I’m spending the afternoon with (his brothers are at a day camp), invited me to the pool. 

  
I think he knows his mama is never happier than when she’s in the sunshine. :)

  
I hope, friends, that you’re soaking up every single minute of summer that you can. And doing things like eating a watermelon-only lunch and drinking copious amounts of QT unsweet mango tea and never doing your hair (thank you, beachy, wavy hair for being in right now) and enjoying not wearing much makeup because you have a little bit of a tan that hides a lot of stuff. Tell me it’s not just me who’s doing these things?

Summer. :)

Five Days. 

That is how far into summer break it took the boys to have a bleeding incident. You guys, I’m declaring this a wild, unprecedented success. Especially because it was a no-biggie busted lip that happened innocently. 

 

He was fine in 2 minutes’ time.


It’s been a fun first few days. I swear NO ONE on earth loves summer as much as I do. (Except you, teacher and school admin friends. I see you.) A couple of hours at the neighborhood pool yesterday afternoon confirmed my joy…the boys swam/wrestled/nearly killed each other and I read and drank tea and mostly ignored their craziness and all was right with the world. 

 

one of them is super aggressive in the pool. guess who.

 
Sorry other moms at the pool with sweet little kids you have to monitor every second…this is your future, and it is glorious here. Yes, you have to trade those cute babies for loud, obnoxious bigger kids like mine, but it’s worth it. Carry on, Warriors. I’m feeling your pain. From over here in this chair. 

In other news, we have put the boys to work a couple of times in the yard, and they are actually helpful! 

 

finally.

  

cleaning up after edging.

 

Here’s to cold drinks, pool time, late bedtimes, baseball and time with friends! And a heaping measure of patience. 

also. my theory is that all boys are happy when there’s plenty of room to hit a ball or run. there will be lots of this.

Donating the Dress

5 years ago, I unsealed my wedding gown box so that I could try on my dress. I was thrilled it zipped, even if it didn’t quite fit like it had on my wedding day.

I mentioned in that post that I was thinking of getting rid of the dress, because I am just not terribly sentimental about things. Everyone in the comments (and there are a TON of them!) freaked out and insisted I keep the dress. Go read it…lots of great ideas about what I could do with it.

So I kept it.

And then we moved across town, and 5 more years went by, and during that time I lost 30+ pounds (I’m still so happy about this!). I got the gown out again in January to try it on while going through some things in the basement. Obviously, it’s way too big now.

And 5 years later, I’ve found that I am still not sentimental about keeping it. So really. Why is it still here?

The decision has officially been made: I am donating the dress…like it’s literally boxed up and going to the post office today. And I’m donating it while I still can: there is only one wedding gown charity that will take it because, you know, it’s ancient in terms of wedding fashion. (For the record: I still think it’s really pretty.)

I’m sending it to Adorned in Grace in Portland, where the proceeds will go towards eliminating sex trafficking in their city. I love that my dress will make another bride happy AND do good.

Here’s a list of several wedding gown charities, in case you might be ready to let your dress go do some good for someone else, too. If your dress is 5 years old or less, there are lots of different options for you to choose from!

I put it on one last time last week and had Matt take a picture…

um, once upon a time i, uh, filled out this dress a little better :/  it’s sad that we can’t choose WHICH part of our bodies to lose weight from.

Spring Break 2015

I can’t believe it, but we’re on the other side of spring break already, which means the countdown to the end of the school year is on…39 days! 

The first several days of spring break were here in STL, and we stayed busy hanging out with friends, going to a St. Patrick’s Day celebration (we are the absolute least Irish people ever, but this was so fun), and enjoying a few 70 degree days outside all day long. 

The end of the week was spent in Chicago and the burbs. The boys couldn’t remember being at the Shedd Aquarium (I don’t even remember how long ago we took them), so that was the activity for Thursday when we got to the city. The entire family’s opinion post-visit is this: we’re pretty much over aquariums. I mean, it was cool, we saw some fun stuff, but meh. 

 Now, I LOVE downtown Chicago. I love the hustle and bustle, the crowd, the hotels and restaurants. Since the boys hadn’t ever stayed right on Michigan Ave, we decided that’s what we would do, and stayed at the Hard Rock. Love its location, and it’s a nice place. 

Overall, though, the boys weren’t all that impressed. I mean, they liked the hotel, they thought Michigan Ave was OK but not that big of a deal [mostly they were like, “we have to walk everywhere?” Suburban kids (shakes head)]. Millennium Park and the food were probably the highlights of our 24 hours in the city. I can’t say I blame them on the food: they had Garrett’s popcorn, Giordano’s pizza for supper, and Wildberry for breakfast. Plus Starbucks hot chocolate in the morning with their dad while I snuck in a workout at the hotel (see above list of food to know why this was necessary).

 We headed out to Wheaton Friday late morning for the next part of our trip: seeing Matt’s sister Heidi and her family in their new house! This was just so much fun for all of us…the boys all left in the afternoon to play baseball, and Heidi and I stayed home while her two little girls napped, which gave us a great chance to talk for a while. It was just so good to catch up! 

The rest of our time was spent with the boys playing with their little cousins and Rockit the dog, eating more amazing food, and the adults just enjoying each others’ company and a few good drinks, and a trip to a great museum on Saturday morning. 

On the way back to STL on Saturday afternoon (our Sunday was full of baseball practices and team pictures and the like, so we needed to get back), Matt asked the boys for their highlight of the trip, and all three said Aunt Heidi and Uncle Jeff’s! :) 

   

                 

 Here’s to the next few weeks flying by. The pool is calling my name…

Illini. Forever.

For Christmas, the boys all got new Illini pullovers and tickets to the basketball game against Northwestern. Saturday was finally the day we got to go to Champaign-Urbana!

We left early Saturday morning from STL, so that we could have several hours on campus for shopping and sightseeing before gametime, and also to ensure that we could eat two meals at our favorite Green Street locations. Priorities.

On our way out of town, my friend Kelli texted to see if we’d seen the latest forecast. I hadn’t, but it had changed from the 1″ of snow that I was expecting to 5-7″, on its way midday into the night. Great. But at this point…whatever. We were on the road, so not much we could do about it now.

We got to C-U, and I swear, I smiled all day long. I love being on campus so so much! We had lunch at Zorba’s, followed by shopping at the local bookstores for some new Illini gear.

zorba's entryway, full of 2004-5 newspaper clippings of final four team.

zorba’s entryway, full of 2004-5 newspaper clippings of final four team.

snowy quad + foellinger in the background. feels like yesterday that we were meeting up on the quad between classes :)

snowy quad + foellinger in the background. feels like yesterday that we were meeting up on the quad between classes :)

instilling a love for this beautiful campus early.

instilling a love for this beautiful campus early. #goodparenting #ftw

I posted this picture to Instagram/Facebook kind of early in the day.

me and alma. still annoyed that i didn't wait in line in my cap and gown for a pic here in '99.

me and alma. still annoyed that i didn’t wait in line in my cap and gown for a pic here in ’99.

My roommate Karen commented on that picture: “Um, not trying to be mean, but are you wearing orange? It looks like something cute and trendy, but it better be orange!”

Hilarious! Because every good Illini fan knows: YOU WEAR ORANGE TO ASSEMBLY HALL. I didn’t have anything to wear (my Illini gear was all old and too big), so part of the plan was for me to find a new tee while shopping and change clothes in the van in a parking garage. Which is exactly what I did (my kids: “Are you serious?” Me: “Totally. There is nothing weird about this.”).

We took the boys by all of our old res halls and apartments, which just made me grin even more…Wardall 6 and 502 w Green #205 were home to three of the greatest years of my life, and just getting to see them made me happy. (Matt did not feel the need to be photographed outside where he lived. Weird, right? ;) )

because you needed to know which rooms were mine.

because you needed to know which rooms were mine. and…there’s my orange!

oh hey, people who live here now. i almost knocked on the door so i could get a glimpse inside.

oh hey, people who live here now. i almost knocked on the door so i could get a glimpse inside.

And THEN, we got to spend some time with my other roommate, Kim, her husband Rich, and their daughter Zoe at our other favorite Green Street spot, Murphy’s Pub. Our boys love going there and scratching their names into the tables and benches, and, of course, the food is great. Loved catching up with our friends, and making big plans for a fall reunion!

kim and me. never enough time to get all of our words in on these visits :)

kim and me. never enough time to get all of our words in on these visits :)

yes, we take our kids to a pub every year.

yes, we take our kids to a pub every year.

By the time we left Murphy’s, snow had started falling on campus. Oh well. We got to the game about 30 minutes before tip-off, and the boys were so pumped. They just wholeheartedly love Illini basketball, even when the team isn’t that great.

assembly hall with these crazies.

assembly hall with these crazies.

Fortunately, it was an awesome game that saw the Illini hit 14 of 28 three-pointers and result in a 26-point victory. Less fortunately, it had really started snowing by the time the game was over, and our drive towards home got more treacherous the further south we got.

So, we made a decision about 15 miles outside of Effingham that we would take Matt’s parents up on their offer to let us stay there overnight instead of continuing on with horrible visibility and road conditions. They graciously took us in, and the boys crashed immediately.

We woke to a full foot of snow on the ground there, but were happy to hear that STL had only gotten about 4″. And by late morning when we headed out, roads were clear and the snow had nearly stopped, making travel much, much easier.

I think it’s safe to say that none of us will forget this trip soon.

Vacation 2014: The Steamboat Springs Part

So this one time, my family went on a great Colorado vacation and I blogged about the first 2 parts of the trip (here and here), and then, apparently, got distracted by something shiny, and now it’s 4 months later and I haven’t finished the last post for whatever reason. However, for the sake of posterity, despite my memory not being that great, I want to finish this series.

Ok, the REAL reason we planned a Colorado vacation was for this last portion of it! We were invited by my Aunt Karen and Uncle Bob (my mom’s brother) to the amazing celebration they were having for their 50th wedding anniversary. All of my siblings and their families and my dad and Annmarie decided to go, too, so it was a big, fun family time out in Steamboat! Additionally, many of my other aunts, uncles, and cousins were there, which made it even better.

We all made it into Steamboat in the late afternoon on Friday. The 4 siblings and their families were all staying in a big condo I’d found, and Dad and Annmarie were just a short drive away at a hotel. Grocery shopping for 15 for our house was an adventure :) We enjoyed grilling out on Friday night, celebrating my sister-in-law Dana’s birthday, and just settling everyone into our place.

Saturday we spent the morning seeing a bit of the town and going for a short hike at Fish Creek Falls with apparently everyone else in Steamboat Springs. However, our big event was that evening, and with 15 of us to get ready (thankfully the condo had 3 showers), we wanted to give ourselves plenty of time to get everyone ready for the party before the bus came to pick us up at 4:45. I’m happy to report that we planned well, and we were waiting out front when the bus arrived…this is a huge accomplishment for our crew!

The party was western-themed, and I just can’t even tell you how every tiny detail was perfectly planned. It was a beautiful celebration of a wonderful couple we love very much, and being there with my whole family just made it extra amazing. Check out the pictures below to get a feel for what a good time we had.

Sunday morning brought a trip to the local alpine slide, which was a huge hit, and then the hot springs up in the mountains outside of town…I have to tell you, my SIL Michon and I were particularly interested in getting in the hot springs. I mean, it’s such a weird phenomenon, right? Boiling hot water that comes up through the ground? And it’s supposed to be good for your skin? Yes!

Let me sum it up with this: our consensus was that it was mostly strange and slimy and gross, it smelled bad, and we couldn’t wait to shower. (In googling since our trip, I’ve seen pictures of hot springs that are much cleaner looking than what we visited…) However, I’m SO glad we tried it!

In the early evening, we all headed over to my aunt and uncle’s beautiful home near Steamboat, where they were hosting a cocktail party for everyone who was heading out of town the next day. It was such a nice afternoon, and we followed it up with a cookout at the rental house where another part of my extended family was staying.

Everyone packed up Monday morning to head back to Denver for various flights out of town. We had quite a bit of time to spare, so we ate lunch downtown and then walked around for a while. It was, um, interesting. We had lots of beneficial discussions with the boys about drug use and mental illness after several encounters and conversations with some colorful residents.

As always when leaving Colorado, the boys asked when we’d be back. I hope it’s not long.