28 February 2010

The Long Walk Home

We live only three blocks from C's school. But sometimes it can take us, oh, forever, to get home. Here's a glimpse into .... the walk home. (Song: Fly Me to the Moon by Ralph Covert)

27 February 2010

Fun & Pies

Today was H's school's annual fun fair. The Pie-in-the-Face Contest is one of the highlights of the event. Throughout the week, students give money to collection jars for the staff member they want to see get a pie in the face. The winner is the one who received the most money in their jar. The lucky contenders (from right to left in the top photo) were the school secretary, a kindergarten teacher, a forth grade teacher, a third grader teacher (who H voted for), the Spanish teacher (who wore a Mexican wrestling mask -- classic) and the gym teacher. The school engineer was the MC. Mrs. Johnson, the school secretary, ended up being the lucky winner. And was cheered on by a bunch of screaming students. It was really funny. Of course, the fun fair also had games and a cake walk. H won three cakes. In a row. He's a lucky guy. After wards, we went to Pete's. They were passing out instant win tickets for Gyros for a Year. Thirty-five grand prizes are being given out by the company who supplies the gyros (odds of winning are 1:7,826). Guess who won? H! I almost sent him out to buy a lottery ticket after a day like that.

Ethiopian Dinner

For months, a group of us have been talking about getting together for Ethiopian cuisine. We've heard great things, but never tried it. Penny was the mastermind organizer. She had planned a surprise for Chris, and it worked out that this was a day we could all actually get together. We went to Ras Dashen, and Chris had no idea we would be there. It was fun. Eating Ethiopian cuisine is very interesting. You eat using injera -- a spongy sourdough flatbread -- and just scoop it up. Between 10 of us, we got to try a lot of different foods. And I have to admit, the live music and Xingu made the experience pretty nice too.

We ended the evening by coming home to these two little sleeping boys, with H still in his 3D glasses from watching Coraline. Sweet.

26 February 2010

The Man I Married

For a funny Friday photo, I thought I'd share this one of Brian. It seems that every winter, he grows out a beard (for the record, I'm not a fan, but it doesn't stop him). When it comes time to shave, he tends to cut here and there, sporting various looks. Here's one of them. Enjoy!

25 February 2010

It's Official

C is officially registered for Kindergarten next year. And it feels great. I am so excited to have the boys at the same school, with the same schedule, again. At least for three more years....

He wore his suit to school today (see above). It's either the suit, or his soccer uniform. Anything else causes major struggles in the morning. The ladies at his school asked if there was a special occasion. Maybe it's because we went to the dentist tonight? Who knows what goes on in that little mind of his. Today, when I picked C up from school, he grabbed up two icicles and started rubbing them together. He said "Back in the old days -- you know, like when you had short hair and Dad had long hair -- this is how you made fire, right?" Nice.

24 February 2010

Chicken Noodle Soup

Yum. Dinner at The Depot hit the spot.

Dog Friend

We are getting some trim put in on our second floor. I know, what's the rush, right? We've only lived in our house 5 years now. Anyhow, the person working on it brought his dog over for the day to play with Storm. She was so cute. It was fun being met at the door by two big dogs. Too bad I couldn't tear her away from the ball to get a decent photo.

22 February 2010


A few weeks ago, the boys spent the night with Brian's mom. She took them to Chuck E. Cheese, which they love. She recently mailed C this picture. He must have left it at her house. I think it's just adorable. I know this could be one of the last times, if not the last time, he's going to want to go on this ride. I wish I could just make this growing up thing stop.

21 February 2010

Skiing with C, T, J & M

Last week, Brian was in Colorado and LA. He came home Friday afternoon, and that night, we headed up to Wisconsin to go skiing with my sister and her family. We planned to get away for the entire weekend, but in the end, we decided to stay "local" and went to Cascade again. H is doing fantastic on skies. He's a total dare-devil and it's pretty close to impossible to keep up with him. He turns, can slow down, and is just becoming a very confident skier. It's great to see. C on the other hand turns into a noodle. He does great too, but is a lot more timid and wants to be pulled around everywhere. To top it off, he finally let go of my pole on one run, and ran right into a snowboarder. It totally embarrassed him and pretty much is when his day ended. Brian, who was suffering from a jammed thumb from a tumble, took him home early. We met back at Christie & Tim's for dinner. Brian taught the kids how to do the worm. I had to laugh when he woke up and mentioned his stomach muscles were killing him. But he did say it was too bad we didn't have a piece of cardboard laying around so we could really see what break dancing moves he could really throw down. Oh boy. Thanks for the great weekend guys!

18 February 2010

Toasted Marshmallow Shake

When my sister was in town of the weekend, we decided to make some Toasted Marshmallow Shakes. Um, yeah. They were really good.


Looks like M and H had a little fun on the computer over the weekend. I love finding photos like this. P.S. See the little green scarf around M's neck? She learned how to finger knit the day before. So cute.

17 February 2010

Art by H: Frog Cup

H's class had to create an animal out of clay. He decided to turn it into a mug. There's a handle on the other side. Pretty clever, if you ask me. Unfortunately, a kindergarten boy stepped on his backpack (on purpose, I guess) and shattered it. Kids can be mean. H was crushed. He spent a lot of time on it, and was very excited to show us his final project. I spent a lot of time gluing it back together. There's one more piece to go, but it will be ok. Just don't try to pick it up if you come over.

Congratulations Jesse!

We are super proud of our friend Jesse! It's been fun watching him throughout his professional career, and I know he'll be great in his new role as Assistant Coach to the US National Soccer team.

16 February 2010


The boys and I had something to really look forward to tonight -- dinner at The Elsmo's. Melissa made an amazing beef stew and salad. H even had seconds. You'd think I never feed the kid. It was absolutely delicious. And sharing a weekday meal with this awesome family was a real treat. Thank you for a great evening.

15 February 2010

Day Off

Today is President's Day. Which means no school for the boys. So I took a day off of work. I wish I could say it was relaxing. Our big excursion was a trip to Costco. Otherwise, I pretty much played referee all day long. There was a lot of alone time in separate rooms, Nerf guns taken away, and a Nintendo DS stylus even had to be removed from the mix. I know this photograph above is a bit deceiving. Want to know the truth? It was from yesterday. Oh well. It was still nice to be home today.

14 February 2010

The Modern Wing

After dropping my sister and the kids off at the train, we decided to (finally) visit The Modern Wing at the Art Institute of Chicago. It. Is. Amazing. What a beautiful, beautiful space. H said the entrance looked like fancy hotel. We knew we'd have only a little bit of time before the natives got restless, so we didn't get to really look very long. But we made it through the entire section, and even the boys were pretty into it. There's even a Kids Gallery, with hands-on workshops. For some reason, our boys never like to partake in that stuff. Weird. They do like taking pictures though, so we set them loose with our camera.Someone must have really liked this one -- I found a few variations of it on the camera.And, of course anything interactive is a big hit. Here's Being Not Truthful Always Works Against Me by Stefan Sagmeister and Ralph Ammer.

P.S. Admission is free the month of February.


Around 12:30 yesterday, we picked my sister and her kids up at Union Station. They took the Amtrak from Milwaukee, and I've got to say, that works out pretty nifty. Our ultimate goal was to get to the Museum of Science and Industry. Last time we were there with them, J was about 3 years old. And, of course, it's still H & C's favorite place. But first, we stopped for lunch at Medici.
We didn't realize the Museum closes at 4:00. So we had to run around and try to see as much as we could. C was freaked out by the babies and body parts. He prefers the trains and planes. We ran out of time before we could see the Coal Mine and Submarine. But we covered a lot of ground, and will be back again.
They had to leave bright and early this morning after a little Valentine's Day breakfast, and we were all a bit sad. The visit went really fast. It was a great time.

11 February 2010

10 February 2010


I got out of work early today, and picked the boys up from school while it was still light out. They love the 15" of snow we got yesterday. I do too. I just prefer it on a weekend. When we have nowhere to go. Actually, I can't remember the last time we had nowhere to go. Forget what I said. Snow is a pain in the behind.
The boys decided they would shovel our back yard. I'm not really sure why. But they spent a good 20 minutes just kind of throwing snow around and building a pile by the fence. I was spying on them, and tapped on the window.
At least one of them paid attention to me.
But then, he decided to start a snow fight with me. While I was sitting inside the window. The nerve!
Next, the little one joined in. I like snow fights from this seat in the house.

09 February 2010


I came across this loft conversion today on Desire to Inspire. Isn't it great? I'm a big fan of lofts, and love the open space. A couple years ago our house was on a house walk. And one of the editors of Chicago Home + Garden wrote it up on her blog, saying "One favorite was a gut conversion of a brick bungalow—inside it feels like a downtown loft." Kind of cool. Interestingly, we never considered that ourselves, but she's kind of right. When I met Brian, he lived in a warehouse loft in the West Loop. We eventually moved across the street to a smaller (1,200 sq. ft.) loft for a couple years. But in 1995, the opportunity came up for us to move back into that original building. It was 5,000 sq. ft. with ceilings that were 12-20 ft. high. And, needed a ton of work. Want to see?

The kitchen. Check out our heater!This is what it looked like after the walls were ripped down and it was painted. Behind the doors was an awesome freight elevator.
Move in day! We had month to work on it, and it wasn't quite ready. Brian's dad essentially moved in with me to help for the month. Brian was in a band at the time, and I think he was home maybe 4 days that entire time. Not good planning. But then again, we started the gut renovation our current home a month before C was born. I guess that's kind of how we do things around here. Everything had to be pushed over to one side so we could paint the floors. We didn't even have the bedroom walls finished. (Can you find the bed in the picture below? I can't. I have no idea where we slept -- somewhere amongst this mess).

Eventually, it turned it something more like this. We did more to it as we went along, but essentially, this is what it looked like.
We didn't have much of a budget for this sort of endeavour. We used a lot of drywall, particle board and scrap metal. Imagine what we could have done if we owned it! I know it's not for everyone, but we really liked living here. And until we became homeowners two years later, this is what we called home. Minus the very loud band practice that went on every weekend in the space below us for a year (so loud, we had to have a strobe on our phone so we could tell when it was ringing), it was good times, I tell you! I'm so glad we did it.