30 October 2012



This afternoon I went to C's school to watch him perform in a mini-musical in his music class called "Tears of the Dragon." He was so nervous -- he had a little solo! It was so sweet. There was a point in the play when the two leads (not him) had to hold hands and hug and all the kids interrupted the play, and were like "ewwwww, here comes the gross part." Second graders. So funny.

28 October 2012

The Great Pumpkin


The next town over has an annual Great Pumpkin Festival. Last year, Brian was out of town so the boys and I checked it out. It's small, but really cute, and we wanted to show it off to him tonight. Love it.



Today was trick-or-treating in our neighborhood. H dressed up as a Jawa, while C was Luke Skywalker. Too cute.

Pumpkin Carving Party


Last night we hosted a little pumpkin carving and soup party at our house (chicken noodle and sausage, vegetable & bean). Ali and the kids came, my sister and her family, and a little later in the evening, Andrew, Shelly and their older son (who I didn't get any pictures of ... shut). For years, we would always get together with Andrew and Shelly to carve pumpkins but it's been awhile since we've been able to make it work (life and kids have made us a bit busy, I guess). So glad it happened this year -- it was so much fun.

26 October 2012

Halloween Party


Our friends throw an over-the-top Halloween party each year, and tonight was the night. Last year, we were lame-os without a costume. This year, the theme was "Calling All Zombies" -- and we were all about it. This year, the boys knew a lot more kids. This year, we knew both families hosting the party. Someone even thought C's tattoo was a real wound and that's without the "bloody scab" that came with the kit. It was SO much fun.

Conferences and Survival


The boys have off today for teacher conferences, and had a half day yesterday. Brian and I got to meet with all of their teachers yesterday, which is always interesting and amusing to me. C is doing well, and really working with confidence and independently which is just so awesome. He loves math and science -- although the teacher thought the reason he loved science so much is because of his partner (a girl, of course). I don't know why, but I tend to leave his conferences a bit frustrated and overwhelmed. C's still in speech therapy, and struggles greatly with reading. He's got an incredible support network who's only interest is getting him where he needs to be. I truly adore them all, but sometimes, I just kind of feel crushed down. Like we're supposed to be doing something more for him, and like most people I know, I'm just doing the best I can. I don't know -- I guess when it comes down to it, I just hate seeing him struggle. But that being said, he absolutely loves school, and works extremely hard. He's a pretty special guy.

We showed to to H's school, and the power was out, so that was an interesting way to start conferences. He is absolutely thriving in middle school, and I'm so so so very proud of him. It seems like just yesterday we were dealing with a child who cried every day at drop off in the morning, and things couldn't be more different now. I know a lot of it is maturity, but I can't even tell you what a relief it is. His teachers all said he's a joy to have in class, he likes all of his teachers, his grades are really good (besides Spanish, but we're working on that), he manages his time well, he's confident and just having a great time. Middle school ... who would have thunk?  After we were done speaking with H's math teacher, she handed us all "Parent Survival Kits," which is so adorable if you ask me. Here's what was in it:

1. Rubberband - to remind you that kids are pulled in all directions by friends and peers.
2. Penny - we are all different, but of equal value.
3. Pencil - don't spend all of your "quality time" with your child on school work. Do things together.
4. Comic Strip - have a good laugh with your child each day and see the humor in life.
5. Eraser - nobody's perfect; it's ok to make mistakes while learning.
6. Piece of kite string - your child is ready to reach out beyond home, explore possibilities; give them room to explore; let them go, but hang on to the end of the string.
7. "Smarties" candy - everyone is a "smartie" in some way.
8. Birthday candle - celebrate with your child all achievements however great or small.
9. Small piece of sponge - kids are like sponges and will absorb whatever they are exposed to. Model the behavior we want our child to absorb.
10. Smiley face - each child is great and needs to feel good about themselves. Please help them realize what a super person they really are.
11. Free hug coupon - all kids need to feel loved, show your child affection, give them a huge.

Good little lessons to keep in mind. For sure.

25 October 2012

Inspiration Files :: Spanish Country House

Isn't this amazing? It's an abandoned stable turned family home in Cáceres, Spain. (Architectural firm: Ábaton. via Honestly ... WTF)



Did I ever mention that the boys got pet frogs this summer? No? Well, they did. One of C's died a couple weeks ago. But other than that, they are super easy pets.

23 October 2012

21 October 2012

Salmon Run


I had heard about the salmon running up the Milwaukee River and thought it might be something H would want to see. Cars were lined along the street near the dam at Kletzsch Park, and fly fishermen were up and down the river. It was pretty amazing to see.

A Visit from Old Friends


Yesterday, (after Brian was in Madison with H for a soccer game, and C and I were in Cedarburg -- after Tae Kwon Do -- for his soccer game, then H went with a friend his brother's birthday party at a pumpkin farm), Brian, C and I met up with our friends Basia & Kasia and a couple of their friends in the Third Ward. Basia spent the night with us a few months ago. But honestly, it's been years since I've seen Kasia. Having kids does that to people, it seems. Basia let C pick out some candy. We enjoyed a couple glasses of wine, while C had a Sprite and olive platter. And once it was discovered the C loves oysters, Basia & Kasia took him right over to the raw bar. So spoiled. Before heading home to get H back, we went over to the condo of another friend of their's who just moved here. It was an incredible loft building and when we left, C asked if it was a hotel or meditation center. He was impressed. It's not very often we get one-on-one time with our kids, and it really was such a blast.

17 October 2012

New York City


So, I'm sitting here in a warehouse in Queens. It's kind of where I've spent most of my time the last few days. I've been freelancing the last few months for a really great event called the SRAM pART Project. It's a fundraiser benefitting World Bicycle Relief. Artists were sent 100 bike parts, and submitted either a sculpture or collage that will be auctioned off. The event is being held in New York City next month, and I couldn't be more excited. I've been lucky to work with a great team, and it's been simply an awesome project to work on. Anyhow, we flew into New York City Sunday late night. Monday was spent at the art warehouse, then the event space, then out for a delicious dinner at Red Cat. Tuesday was another full day of the warehouse. That evening, we went to Blue Ribbon for dinner. Unfortunately, I was coming down with a cold and not hungry, if you can even believe it! That stunk. After walking around a bit, we headed to The Standard for a a drink and dessert. Sat outside and it was just perfect. Wednesday (that's today), we were back at warehouse. Once the day was done, it was time to go to the airport and come home, where I was greeted by a dog jumping all over me, a cutie pie with a dozen roses, and another who couldn't wait to show me all of his school work. It was a fun trip, but feels great to be home too. Now, I just can't wait for the show!

NOTE: Said warehouse in Queens didn't have great internet service, so I couldn't post this until late last night.....

08 October 2012

Holy Worm!


H called me up from school and asked if he could stay late to help pick tomatoes from the school garden today. He had a blast. But when I picked him up, we got a little bit more than we bargained for -- he came home with a new pet. A huge, giant, gross green worm he found in the garden. At first I thought it was a curled up leaf, but nope. It's the caterpillar. It appears to be a tomato hornworm, and what we thought was some sort of crazy antenea, actually is a horn on it's butt. Great.

07 October 2012

Lakefront Marathon


What a weekend! It started out with a soccer game for C on Friday. I had to leave early to chaperone the Activity Night at H's school, which was fun. And interesting, of course. So happy my H still loves having me there (he said so...). Saturday was spent at a soccer game in Green Bay for H, which took up pretty much the entire day with the ride there and back. Then today, Tim and the kids came over so we could walk over and watch the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon. We had our cow bells, and had fun cheering the runners on -- but we were there watching out for one runner in particular. My sister! Christie, turned 40 this year and decided to run her first marathon in honor of it. We were stationed around mile 17, and she looked super strong at that point. She ended up finishing it around 4:16 (or something like that). Pretty amazing stuff. Tim and the kids met up with her at the finish line. We were not able to because -- you guessed it -- another soccer game. Such a fun weekend though.