30 May 2008

Flowers For Me

Yesterday I was not in the office and received a mysterious flower delivery. I knew it couldn't be too exciting, so asked one of my co-workers to open it up. They of course they were trying to come up with good stories of who sent it -- like, the crossing guard who called me a "dumb-a**" for running across the street while the walk light was flashing (which, really bothered me by the way, because I'm surprised how unnecessarily mean people can be). But no. I won the weekly flower drawing from the shop downstairs.

Yep, here I am at my desk with my flowers (taken from my built-in computer camera). What? I look tired you say? I am! I'm exhausted. It's gloomy and raining, and our power went out around midnight which meant sleep was very interrupted throughout the night. But, I'm looking forward to a great weekend with tons of fun stuff planned so stay tuned.

The Power of Marketing

The other day, H stepped in Hundescheisse (doggie doo-doo) and it managed to getting into the pores of his shoes. I spent about 5 seconds wiping and spraying, and decided that there was no way I was going to be able to get it out. I had to throw the shoes away. Which meant, H had a pair of flip-flops and crocs, but no tennies. So, we went to my favorite shoe store, zappos, and proceeded to try to pick out shoes with him. Let's just say, that he has quite an opinion on what he wants to wear. And he was insistent that he get a pair of Sketchers Airators. Can you say too much TV? Seriously! He had seen the ads on TV! I had to explain multiple times that the air doesn't actually shoot through the shoes. And I ended up having to read the user comments on zappos that said that their children's feet hurt a bit in this style. He thought about it for a second, and realized that he doesn't like pain, so it worked. I'm happy to report that he ended up with a super-cool pair of green Pumas with a yellow stripe and he was beaming wearing them.

So yesterday we went to McDonalds. That alone is something we never do, but we wanted to check out some furniture and had limited time to do so. Once again, the power of marketing got to him. Do you know what he ordered with his Happy Meal? Apple Dippers. I'm not even kidding! No fries ... Apple Dippers. I guess all the dollars spent marketing to 6-year olds is working.

28 May 2008

Love Letters

Yesterday, H keep sticking napkins in his mouth. Yes, he does things like that -- he takes after our dog. Anyhow, I took away his dessert privileges for not listening, and after stomping away to his room to pout, he emerged with this note:

At first, I was like "Oh my gosh, he's so right." The second thought was "What a little stinker." The third thought was "Brian's been saying that way too much to me." So yes, it's Brian's fault that my child is an observant stinker.

27 May 2008

Morton Arboretum

No child care today! That means, I got to take a day off, and have an extra day with my boys. We woke up, and despite the fact that I was melting in the heat and humidity yesterday, today was cold! Really, really cold. Thirty degrees colder than yesterday, as a matter of fact. But, I had it in my mind that we'd go to the Morton Arboretum today, and we did. The kids favorite thing was the maze and trying to catch tadpoles. But there is also a Big Bug exhibit going on (through July), which H had a blast with, while C sat shivering in the stroller I luckily brought out of hibernation.

Memorial Day 2008

For the past few years, we've been going to the River Forest Memorial Day parade with Brian's boss and his family. This year, we met up with Leif, Melissa and family too, which was a great surprise. It was a fun (and hot) day.

26 May 2008

Good vs. Bad

This isn't about how bad H & C can be. Oh no. This is about what good boy Storm is. You better believe he got bacon & eggs for breakfast after a morning like this:

Of course, then I caught him later in the day ... like this. At least you can tell he knows sitting on the bench is a no-no. Unlike H & C who have sinister smiles (above) -- even after being told repeatedly, to stop tackling the dog.


Coconut Cream Cheese for H, and Red Velvet for C. Yesterday at Fitzgerald's was the Constructor Craft Fair. This is all we got, but there were a lot of great booths.

22 May 2008

Art in Our House -- Round 4

This is the final art in our house entry. And it's definitely one of the most special since it features some of my favorite people in the whole wide world.
Painting by H
As most of you know, we couldn't just buy a house and move in. No, we had to gut it. Almost four years ago we began the process. It's still a work in progress -- such as the fact that none of our doors are painted (at least we now have closet doors -- something that happened just last week). Fortunately, when H began school this year, he really got into painting. These giant paintings are on the inside and outside of every door in our house.

Paintings by Brian
Brian graduated from the School of the Art Institute, and really is so talented in many ways. He's probably going to be totally embarrassed that I'm putting these up, but these are some paintings he did a long ago. He hasn't painted in probably five years, but hopefully it's something he'll make time to do again.

Photograph of Sky Pilot by James Caulfield
Sky Pilot was our greyhound. We got him when he was four -- he was a retired racer who made many people money thanks to his great track record -- and he was ten when he passed away from bone cancer. By the time we got him, all he wanted to do was sleep ... on our couch ... or our bed. Anywhere that would accommodate his bony body. This photograph was taken during his last year of life when our friend Jim asked Brian to bring our dog in to test some shots. By this time, Sky was missing half of his teeth, had the worst breath ever, had been to the emergency vet numerous time for stitches and had to have his tail chopped off because he would swing it in a giant circle, hit everything and make it bleed. Anyhow, he passed away right before Christmas 2003, and this was my present from Brian.

21 May 2008

Strange Places

So yesterday, I had a meeting in Lincolnwood, and my boss and I drove up there together. My boss grew up in a neighboring town, while I head north, but bypassing most of the suburbs to get directly to Wisconsin. He was pointing out all these crazy places ... so matter-of-factly. I, on the other hand, kept saying "Why didn't you tell me to bring my camera?" and "This sure does explain a lot about you."

- Super Dawg -- complete with boy and girl hot dogs atop the restaurant.
- The Leading Tower YMCA -- it even has a fountain, reflecting pool and a telefono booth.
- The Purple Hotel -- now closed. Hmmm, have no idea why. But in case you missed the purple tiles all around it, it really was called "The Purple Hotel."

20 May 2008

18 May 2008

H Graduates from Montessori school

Today was H's graduation from Montessori school. First grade, here he comes! We had a fun picnic in the park, and a ceremony complete with songs and diplomas. Grandma, Aunt Pam, Ian, Mackenzie, Nina and Papa all came down. It was a big day, and H is so happy. We couldn't be prouder of him.

17 May 2008

Day in Chicago

Brian had to run into the city to check out a window display at Garmin that features a mountain bike he put together. So, we all decided to go. We got to see the bridges raise for the boats going through, window shopped, walked for miles, ate at Tempo Cafe and rode the el train. Of course, no event is complete without C falling asleep.

Congratulations Pam!

Today, my sister-in-law, Pam, graduates from Concordia University with a degree in Business -- marketing is something she's really passionate about. It's been a long haul, but she did it. Congratulations Pam!
(September 2007 -- Pam, me and mother-in-law Joan at Scott & Ali's wedding in Rosemary Beach, Florida)

Home from Colorado

Brian got home from a trip to Colorado Springs, Colorado last night. His flight was canceled, so he had to catch a later one. Which was a bummer because the boys were waiting for him to pick them up from school, and instead got me ... again. H drew him a pile of cards -- basically one for every day he was gone. It was a typically business meeting trip -- no fun mountain biking events this time -- but he did get invited over to someone's house, and they made a bison roast that he says was incredible. We are glad to have him home.

16 May 2008

Lunch Boxes

Next week is the last week of school for H & C. And, while they will go to the summer program at the same place, one thing will be missing -- hot lunch. That's right, no hot lunch all summer long! Remember what happened last time? What's worse, is H has decided that next year, it's cold lunch for him. No more of this hot lunch stuff. I'm hoping to talk him out of that, because frankly, I feel like my head may explode if I add one more thing to remember. But alas, there is no other option for summer, and the time is coming. So, I was on kirtsy (an awesome site by the way) and found this!

(Photos from http://wendolonia.com)

And I'm thinking, that a modified version of these (we don't own bento boxes or cute toothpicks) are great for my kids. This super-mom has a ton of great ideas (minus the peanut ones -- we are a no peanut school after all, which really puts a damper on things) and it might just help me get through the summer.

14 May 2008

Elementary School

Do you know that there are 5th graders who are almost as tall as me (I'm 5'9")? Well, there are. Today I took H on a tour of the elementary school he'll be going to. He was so excited, and I think he's happy about it ... except I don't know for sure because he didn't say one single word the whole time we were there. (Maybe he noticed the giant 5th graders too.) I can't wait to see what next year will bring for him. But at the same time, how in the world did he go from being my little teeny tiny baby, to a 1st grader? Who gets allowance -- yes, that's something else new we started this week.

12 May 2008

C's Chicken

Due to popular demand, here is a closer look at C and his new Playboy bunny chicken. He still is carrying it around, but at least he didn't want her tucked into his bed today. What a character. By the way, do you like his two little scrapes right under his nose? He tripped on the sidewalk on Saturday.

My Mother's Day, 2008

I had a terrific mother's day, thanks to Brian and the boys. It was gloomy and rainy out, but that was ok. We got to build H's new desk, which he loves. And the kids stayed in PJs until 5:00. For dinner, we went to Cafe Iberico. We hadn't been there for a long time, and you sure can't beat tapas and sangria! H dressed himself, and even picked out a tie since it was a "special occasion." And C was so excited he got dessert (notice the hording of caramel sauce below). Could I be luckier, really? I don't think so.

10 May 2008

Vistors from Wisconsin

Grandma, Aunt Pam, Ian and Mackenzie came for a visit today, and we had a great time bumming around. H & C got a new Webkinz. But C's favorite gift from Grandma can be seen above. What is it, you ask? A rubber chicken from a pet store. With boobies and a pink polka-dot outfit, with Playboy bunny ears and a tail. And it squeaks. And he says it looks like Mommy. At least she's got a good figure. Bet you can't say you have a squeaky rubber chicken like that, can you? Oh yeah.


H took art class the last few months at school. He came home with some of his work on Friday, which included the two of drawings below. Both of contain this letters forming the word, ISH. We asked what ish meant. H said, "You know, when it's a little of something. Like snow-ish. There's only a little bit of snow." There's a new one for the dictionary according to H.

08 May 2008

If It's Not One ...

it's the other. Or the other. Brian was cleaning our stove hood and almost cut the whole tip of his finger off this morning, and landed himself in the ER. That means, that in the past two years, every single one of the boys has paid a visit to the ER. First it was H with a tooth through his cheek. Next it was C with a pussy willow in his nose. Now Brian. Seriously, it's just me and the dog who haven't had to go yet -- which is actually a big deal, because before kids we had Sky Pilot the greyhound, who constantly was visiting the emergency animal hospital. Here's Brian before the four stitches he got on his finger tip. Wowch!

Backwards Day

At 4:09 a.m., a tired C stumbled into our bedroom. Fully dressed in new clothes. With a rugby shirt on -- backwards. I asked him if he got himself dressed. He said yes, and that he had an accident in his bed (something that does not happen often). I pulled the sheets off the wet bed, examined the damage a 3-year old can do while trying to dress himself in the middle of the night (it seems he first went through the t-shirt drawer) and got him pajamas to sleep in for the rest of the night (by this point, a mere hour and a half). Since he already had picked out his clothes, all we had to do was put the pants and shirt back on. And, add a pair of underwear to the outfit.

07 May 2008

Doodie Head

H is graduating from his Montessori school in a couple weeks. And he's realizing that he will not know many, if any, of the kids in his first grade class next year -- and he's nervous about it. I tell him "it will be great, you'll make a ton new friends, it will be a blast" but really I'm thinking I TOTALLY GET IT, you poor guy. After all, he'll be with brand new kids ... kids who have gone to Kindergarten together ... and older kids. It will be a completely different environment than he's used to. But, he'll be fine. And I know he'll love it. But think about it. So far, one of the worst things that has ever happened to him is something that happened the other day. It went something like this.

H to Brian and I: "Someone was calling me names at school today."
Us: "What were they calling you?"
H: "A doodie head."
Me: "When that happens, just tell them to stop calling you names."
H: "I did, but she kept on doing it."
Me: "Then just walk away from them."
H: "I couldn't! I had to keep holding her hand! We were all crossing the street!"

04 May 2008

Chinatown for a Birthday

We went with our friends (and lucky for us, our neighbors) to Chinatown for dim sum to celebrate Chris's birthday. It was beautiful out, so perfect for window shopping and a trip to Ping Tom Memorial Park. We even got to see a freight train, so the boys were in heaven. Actually, we were surrounded by trains -- el, Metra, freight and Amtrak. I've never seen them so wide-eyed in my life.

A Baby Shower and Improptu Dinner

My college roommate, Irma, and her husband Greg are having a baby in June. A boy. It's so exciting. Yesterday was her shower in Milwaukee. I haven't seen Irma for awhile, so that was great. Plus, a couple other friends I haven't seen in ages were there, so we got to catch up. It was just a great afternoon. Here we are:

That evening, we had dinner at Leif & Melissa's. It started as "hey, let's grill out," but we were not sure about the weather so it turned into amazing Italian meal, and believe me, I'm not complaining about that at all because for those who know Melissa, you know what that means. Here's how it all started:

A lovely centerpiece, a little blue, a little smoked ricotta and ... a bottle of 1999 Dom PĂ©rignon. W-O-W. Delicious. What a great day.


H telling a story to Brian: "... and then I was like, Wowch!"
B: "Wowch?"
H: "Ya, you know -- it REALLY hurt."

01 May 2008

Pretending It's a Pie

So, last night was one of those nights. Didn't feel like cooking, but had to. Realized the fish I was thawing, wasn't thawed. Then realized the fish I was thawing really wasn't fish -- it was our dinner for tonight. Time to go out. Boys wanted the red chicken place (Indian food), which kind of makes me laugh because I always remember something H said. "Mom, where does red chicken come from? A turkey?" Anyhow, I digress. Drove to the red chicken restaurant, and it's closed for remodeling. It actually brought tears to H's eyes. I'm not kidding. So we ended up at Bar Louie. Boys had mini sliders and tater tots. C is very protective of his food -- even leftovers. He walked the entire way back to the car, wouldn't let anyone hold his leftovers, and pretended it was a pie. I guess he's got the same obsession I have.