Friday, August 20, 2010


This post has been completed with no photos, for pictures can't really describe the last two days.  I am about to fall into bed and fall asleep before my head hits the pillow.  However, I felt compelled to share the events of the last two days before said unconsciousness commences.

Yesterday was to be a big day...

American Girl day!!  

Kate was selected for a Winter photo shoot for their website.  We traversed to Madison, WI a few weeks ago for an audition, and by gum, she was chosen.  So, yesterday, we rose early and drove the 3 hours north to a photo studio in Madison.  

Kate was in a great mood on the way up and we practically skipped into the studio.  She has had a few other modeling gigs before and knows the score.  

We were met with the stylist who started the makeup hair portion of the deal.  I sat with other moms and waited.  

Soon, Kate appeared in a cute American Girl jammie set, but she looked wide eyed, 

in not a good way.  

The stylist gave me a warning look and all of a sudden Kate was in my arms, saying she was too shy to get in from of the camera.  


The studio has a large, dark room, brightly lit in the center with the paper and a doll cradle with a baby wearing the same jammies.  Lots of people were in the periphery, so I can see where it might be a little intimidating.  

But this was AMERICAN GIRL...her break!  Girls who do well here come back.... a lot.  

Well, I pleaded, bribed, cajoled, you name it and NOPE, she was done.  I got that sick feeling in my stomach and there was nothing I could do to convince my 4 year old to do her job.  

Humiliated, we packed up and drove the 3 hours home.  So, I sucked it up, had a beer and got over it.  

Little did I know day 2 would challenge me even further....

We woke at 5:45 this am, all packed and ready to fly to Amelia Island, FL for a 2 week stay at my in-law's vacation home.  We have been so looking forward to an end of summer respite.  

Tom drove us to O'Hare and after a turtle's pace security line, we were at the gate.  

American changed the gates, but I was not privy and we MISSED the FLIGHT!  

Again, sickness at the pit of my stomach as I was told the next flight was 4 hours later on STANDBY.  

I did not pack enough food for these ravenous monkeys, how would I entertain them for THAT LONG??  I've got to hand it to my kids.. in time of crisis, they stepped up and were angels.  

We finally boarded the next plane and flew with a small delay to Jacksonville.  Headed to the American Baggage Claim office to be met with a laminated sign..."Gone, but back in 10 minutes".    

You have GOT to be kidding me!  

We finally retrieved our bag and found a kind taxi driver who drove us the hour toward Amelia.  

Oops, the main road is closed due to construction....  

So we get to the house after four wheeling it through a woods to find a passable road.  I get into the garage, but cannot, for the life of me get the combination lock to the house key open.  

Several swear words and two calls to Tom later, I get that thing open, unlock the house to find that the power is out.  In the miliseconds between opening the garage door the power went out due to the recent rain storm.    

I opened the garage fridge to find Sophia Coppola cans of champagne.  I chugged one before finding out Tom's aunt and uncle were also in town for the weekend.  

So there is a silver lining to this surreal day...dinner with family and a few drinks thrown in.  

I can only hope tomorrow is blessedly uneventful.....

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Air & Water Show....

Maybe it's my optimistic, sometimes naive nature that makes me believe that an outing I find exciting will excite my kids, too.  I mean, Jack has been to the annual Chicago Air & Water Show every year since he was 2.  He loves jets and planes and stuff.  

My dad is an aviation buff; he had his pilot's license and recently did some aerobatics in a plane with an instructor.  He wanted to see the air show this year and I am all too eager to have some quality time with my pop.  

I figured a day at the lake with him and the kids should be fun, right? was fun, for the most part.  

I packed lots of water on ice, food, toys, chairs and an umbrella to make sure most complaints were arrested.  We needed a pack mule or camel to assist us with the load as we lumbered aboard the CTA bus headed east.  

What I sometimes forget is that little kids have no attention span.  

"Look at the cool F18 jet, kids"....  

"Cool, Mom....I'm hungry!"   

"Jack is bugging me!"  

"I'm tired and wanna go home!"  

"Honey, we have only been here 15 minutes..."  

"Grandpa, will you play catch with me?"  

They powered their way through the food I brought and then began whining for a sno-cone.  Those ice cream vendors with the jingly bells are out to get me.  They circled  like vultures and just sat there, jingling away, taunting me.  It's like a bad dream....they always show up at the worst times, like just as school is letting out for the day, or at the kid's baseball game.  If Dominick's would let them, they would  park right next to the candy at the checkout aisle!

My kids were about to lose their minds as crowds of people surrounded the vendors buying treats.  I finally gave in, dang it, but I held out for at least 8 minutes.  

"Kids, we are here to see the cool planes, not eat every last thing, spray each other with water and play hide and seek.  Grandpa and I want to see the planes, don't you?  

Silence (for the first time today).....  

Soon followed by, "When are we going to go HOME?!".  

So, in between dealing with the monkeys, Dad and I enjoyed seeing the jets and I enjoyed just hangin' with him.  

It wasn't quality time, but it was time, nonetheless. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Five Things Not To Do When It's Hot....

Our relatively new air conditioner is going to kill me.  Or I am going to take a baseball bat to it....shortly.  The repairman has been to our house no less than 5 times this summer and it's still hotter than a steel playground at noon in our house.  

So, now that I am used to an 80 degree house when I get home from work everyday, I forget not to do things that make me even hotter, like:

1. Bake.  

I made peach cobbler, doesn't look that good, but Sarah Moulton assured me in her recipe notes that it is dee-lish.  

We will see what the kids say...   

Then I made roasted tomatoes.  Hey, they were going bad in the fridge and I couldn't let 'em go to waste.  Now they will be aromatic, tasty morsels in future pastas, bruschettas, you name it!  

Don't they look tasty?

2.  Tidy.  

Nothing draws a sweat faster than picking up stinky socks, toys and your husband's shoes, tossed in the dining room.  Avoid this activity at all costs!

3. Cleaning.  

Similar to the 10 second tidy, but it involves Tilex, Windex or some other objectionable agent.  Don't do it!

4. Laundry:  

Are you kidding?  The dryer is the official "Heat Miser"  (Remember that Christmas story on TV?)  Turn on the dryer and you might as well have your own sauna and lose 5 lbs.......on second thought....

5. Discipline your kids.  

 All that shouting just makes you hot....Let them eat Twinkies and stay up watching "Everybody Hates Chris" for another hour.  

Pour yourself a glass of chilled something, preferably in a stemmed glass, have a seat, open up this month's Country Living, Garden & Gun or Vogue and keep your cool, Sistah!

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Real Birthday...

Today is Jack's real birthday, August 2nd.  

Our birthday tradition is breakfast in bed.  

Of course, he woke early and scared me as I was leaving the shower.  Before I would serve the boy, he had to shower himself, having skirted his cleanly duty the night before.  I declare, Jack's feet were blacker than a coal miner's face and he smelled like a rat's patootie to boot!  

So, in he went into the shower and I prepared french toast, scrambled eggs, decaf coffee and a fresh cut zinnia for his tray of happy.  

And boy, was he happy.  

What kid doesn't love a little personal attention?  

Kate was handling it pretty well at this point.  Downstairs Jack opened his presents and he happily received a RipStik skateboard, Cubs jammie pants, a book or two, Flick Trix mini model bikes, Deck Tech mini model skateboards, Spin Art (awesome classic toy) and his fave, a safe.  He is all about having his own safe.  Let's take bets on how long before he forgets the combination...... 

Then his dad told him a trip to Six Flags was in order and Kate lost it.  Poor little one is just too small for those crazy rides.  Oh the tears flowed!  Poor little thing... 

After camp and playing outdoors, we had his dinner of request; crispy tacos.  

His "cake" was a zucchini/chocolate chunk cupcake.  I found this cool sparkler #8 for his cupcake and the birthday closing ceremonies commenced.  

Happy Birthday, Big Man...

Hugs & Kisses: Mom.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

"Gimmee a Piece of the Lake..."

How can it be that my first born is 8 years old tomorrow?  

He is so long, lean... 

and mouthy...  

The last days of my pregnancy I looked like the Sta-Puff Marshmallow man.  

At night I soaked my swollen, malformed feet in buckets of ice water.  Tom would grasp my leg and his hand print would stay...  Talk about cankles!  

Then, 19 hours after a midnight run to the hospital, my little boy entered the world and the rest is history.  Here he is (3 1/2), holding Kate as a newborn.  Can't seem to find his newborn shots tonight.....

A mom can relish the memories now and then, can't we?


To celebrate his 8th, we headed over to a local Chicago treasure, Novelty Games.  It is the putt-putt golf destination, with batting cages and video games thrown in.  

Jack and 7 of his buddies played 18 holes with Tom supervising and keeping the high sticking in check.  

Kate and I catered the event via the adjacent Bunny Hutch....the local food shack.  The  old guy cook was a whirling dervish, making multitudes of burgers and dogs on the fly (all tasty, mind you).  I heard that he normally works with an oxygen tank in tow, even during smoke breaks in the parking lot.  A large explosion in the Bunny Hutch cannot be out of the question, one has to think.  The rest of the ice cream duties, cashiering and general grunt work was being performed by a boy who looked no older than 12.  He was a serious and hardworking lad.