Category Archives: life

baby / tots creativity life

The Best Gift

This year we brought a few of our family members to tears with this gift -

A mini book about little miss Ava.  It came out soooo cute!  We did a pic or two for each month of her existence and a few extra pages for some of her artwork and photos with family members.

We used Blurb to make the books and were really happy with the outcome.

I’m sure we will be making more books in the future … I’m thinking a wedding book would be great since I know I’ll never get around to printing photos and putting them in an album.

life

Meet Pixie

This is Pixie.  Better known around our house as Pixielicious.

We have had her almost two years.  Isn’t she just adorable?

She likes to jump on my chest at 5am demanding to be petted, never lets me use the bathroom by myself, and lets Ava chase her around the house and put bows in her hair.  Meow.

life

New Year’s Resolutions I Plan to Keep

I’ve never really been one to make New Year’s Resolutions, but this year I think I’m going to give it a try.  And I figure, why wait until the 31st?

1.  Update this blog!  I have no problem changing my hair or my wardrobe or whatever else might not be ‘doing it’ for me anymore, so why not the blog?  There are little things that have been driving me crazy about it for awhile – like this font.  I hate this font now.  I feel like making some minor adjustments will make me want to blog more …

2.  Complete a blog post EVERY DAY.  Even if it’s just a sentence or a photo.  It will force me to take at least five minutes for myself.

3.  Stop biting my nails.  I have had beautiful nails only twice in my life and they only lasted for a few weeks and then I’m back to nipping them off again.  If I can break this bad habit, I can break them all!

4.  Continue working out a minimum of four times a week.  I’ve been pretty good with this the past month or so and I’d like to see myself keep up the good work and get back into those ‘way before Ava was conceived’ jeans.

5.  Finish what I start.  My husband says I am an ideas person, and it’s true.  I have lots of ideas, but very few of them ever come to life.  I even had the idea to write them all down and publish a book of ideas for other people to follow through.  Time to step it up!

6.  Learn photoshop.  Something I’ve been meaning to do for awhile now.

7.  Read more.  And not blogs or magazines – books.

8.  Start writing in Ava’s journal again.  While I was pregnant, I started a journal to give to Ava when she’s older.  I haven’t written in it in almost year.  [Yet another finish what I start issue.]

9.  Hire a babysitter.  Ava is three years old and we’ve never had a sitter.  A few times, either my mom or Mike’s parents have watched her while we slipped out for dinner, but other than that the three of us go everywhere together.  Time for a little one on one time with the husband [or some girlfriends]!

10.  Go to the dentist, eye doctor, and general physician.  It has been embarrassingly too long.

life

Portland, We Miss You

I can’t believe it has already been two months since our vacation!  And at the same time, it feels like a lifetime ago.  Man, I really miss Oregon.  Our plane hadn’t even landed yet and I was already in love.  We spent two nights [not enough] in Portland and then a quick drive to the Northern Coast for a week of much needed R&R.  We all wished we never had to leave … it’s the sort of place we could happily live for – oh, i don’t know – forever probably.

If you’ve never been to Portland, you should.  It really is a beautiful city and we really needed more time to explore it, but what we did see totally impressed us [and that ain't easy, folks].  At first I thought maybe I was just enamored because it wasn’t Chicago [sorry, Chitown], but that wasn’t it.  It just felt …. homey – in a very indie vibe sort of way if that makes any sense at all.  It has all the things we loved about Williamsburg circa 2005, but it’s CLEAN and frankly, not trying so hard.  The food truck scene is just beyond any I’ve ever seen and there were so many restaurants to choose from that if we had stayed much longer, I would have gained 20 pounds easy.  We weren’t able to sample too much grub in such a short amount of time, but if you go, please eat at Pok Pok - the food was fabulous and Michael is now obsessed with ‘drinking vinegars’.

Being tourists, we most certainly had to check out Voodoo Donuts.  Um, yum.
Then a walk along the waterfront, smiles, and playing in the fountain.

Then of course we did a little shopping … too many shops, way too little time.  Portland, we miss you and we promise to come back soon.  Next up, Oceanside … ahhhhhhhhhhh.

baby / tots life local

Weekend at the Cabin

Last weekend I planned a surprise getaway for Mike’s birthday.  I wanted something close, something serene … somewhere we could just relax.  I found a secluded cabin just an hour and 15 minutes away from Chicago, nestled on 80 private acres of woodland and spring fed ponds.  I did all the packing and grocery shopping in advance and even picked up two fishing poles [Mike has always wanted to take Ava fishing].  It is amazing how much stuff we had for just a two night/three day stay [most of it for Ava - kids don't pack light!].  Mike drove us to our destination, guided by “Matilda” [the name we gave our mobile navigation voice] and was pleasantly surprised as we turned down the long private drive to the cabin.

The surroundings were beautiful – lush spring forest, lily pad laden ponds – ahhhhh nature.

While I sorted things out inside the cabin, Mike busted out the fishing poles and he and Ava dug up some worms and headed to the pond.  She caught a baby bluegill on her first cast!  She ended up catching a total of two … Mike, zero.

We kicked off our night by making a fire in the firepit and roasting hot dogs and marshmallows.  I thought Ava would love s’mores, but she said she didn’t like marshmallows “with brown stuff”.  She did enjoy waving her marshmallow stick around though!

On Saturday we went exploring [we were only 15 minutes away from the Michigan Harbor Towns on the beachfront] and picked up some local morels and sausages from a farmer’s market.  Ava spent lots of time outdoors and especially loved the tree swing out in front of the cabin.

Saturday night, Mike and Ava headed down to one of the ponds with a flashlight and net and brought back a bullfrog and a tree frog.  [If Ava spots a gnat or fly, she totally freaks out - but frogs and fish, love at first sight!]  She held the treefrog for quite a while and wanted to bring him home with us [um no.].

The next morning, Mike made a stellar skillet breakfast using our fresh morels and some wild onions, scrambled eggs, local bacon, and potatoes.  Yum.  Then he and Ava headed down to the pond one last time and found a few tadpoles.  [Not bringing those home either!]  By the time we had to leave, we were just getting into the rhythm of cabin life [isn't that how it always is on a vacation ... just when you start to relax it's time to go].

I have a feeling this won’t be our last weekend getaway for the spring/summer.

baby / tots life

I’ve Been a Very Bad Blogger

Yes, I admit it.  Lately I have been a very bad blogger.  I haven’t posted anything in 44 days.  Yikes.  Shame on me.  Now I am going to have to make up for lost time by going on a posting rampage.  I’m not even going to make any excuses for my neglect except to say I was sucked into a black hole or a time warp or something … because motherhood can feel like that sometimes.  Things we have (or make) time for slowly inch their way down the priority list to make room for bigger and better stuff … like …

Learning to ride a tricycle:

Finally being able to pump the swing:

Climbing a tree:

(With Daddy’s help, of course)

Holding a baby lamb:

And planning a weekend getaway … which we are leaving on today.  It is Mike’s birthday weekend [official b-day Monday] and we are whisking him away on a surprise trip so I can’t share any details with you … yet.  XO

baby / tots creativity life

Making Play Dough!

The other day, Ava and I decided to make our own play dough.  I found a no-cook recipe on instructables, gathered the ingredients [flour, salt, water, food coloring], and sat down at the table with a very excited little girl!

I covered the table with some scrap paper and handed her the measured ingredients to dump into the bowl.  Then I gave her the spoon and let her mix it up – her most favorite part of helping me in the kitchen.

Once the dough was thoroughly mixed, I divided it into three lumps [I had to keep adding flour until the dough wasn't so sticky] and then added the food coloring.  [I would really recommend wearing disposable gloves for this part, unless you want red, blue, and green hands like I ended up having.]  Just keep kneading the dough until the color is blended.

Hooray – play dough!

After I just reminded her to NOT smash it all together.

After I reminded her that once you smash them together, it’s very unlikely to have three separate colors again.

“Oh well, mom.  I’ll just make a rainbow worm.”  And that was perfectly fine with me. :-)

baby / tots life

Winter Picnic

I have spring fever … or maybe it’s just cabin fever, but either way I am longing for sunshine and warm breezes and days spent playing outside.  I guess that’s why Ava and I decided to do something different for lunch the other day.  We had a picnic.

A sheet, little sandwiches, veggies, and homemade blueberry muffins brought a little bit of sunshine to our winter routine.

Ava thought it was pretty cool to not have to sit at the table.  She cleaned her plate and then danced around the room singing, “we’re on a picnic … la la la la la”.  We might have to make this a regular thing.

baby / tots life local

“I’m going to have so much fun, you guys!”

That is what Ava said when we told her we were going to go outside and play in the snow on Wednesday morning.  Totally worth venturing out into the aftermath of the blizzard here in Chicago.  Our parking lot was covered in drifts so it was the perfect spot for some snow play without having to dig out the car.  We may only have lasted about 15 minutes in the cold, but seeing her have so much fun [as she kept telling us every few seconds] was pretty priceless.

baby / tots life

Kisses & Curls

I tried out my new ceramic curlers set yesterday [an after Christmas gift - yeah giftcards!].  I didn’t brush them out or put any product in my hair and they lasted all day.  Ava told me my hair was pretty and I got to steal this kiss.

Can’t get much better … XO

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