Friday, June 30, 2017

Friday Thoughts

We have new tenants for the townhouse!  While we have a few reservations, we selected the family who wanted the house the most.  They emailed me quite a few times to ask about the status and offered the deposit immediately.  They were VERY persistent.  The lady even described the house as “perfect”.  I’m hoping this means that they’ll take good care of it.  We do have a few repairs to make before they can move in so I’ve been contacting different companies for estimates.  I’ll be really happy when the repairs are made and the new tenants are moved in.  I should also mention that it was stressful letting other applicants know that we had selected a different family to rent the house.  I had no idea there would be so many interested people and felt awful giving disappointing news.  Good thing I’m not a realtor – I get too emotionally involved!!

On Monday, right after we returned from vacation, we were on our way to pick up W from preschool camp when a rock flew up and cracked the front windshield of my car.  Uggh.  I’ve only had the car for a year and I’m so frustrated.  I know these things happened, but still, they are frustrating.  On the bright side, someone came to the house to “fix” the crack, but there’s now an annoying white spot on the windshield.  I told A that I’m just going to pretend it’s bird poop.

We’re going to be in an Independence Day parade this weekend.  A hates parades so I doubt he’ll join us.   I’m hoping it’s not as loud as last year (we were right behind a truck that kept blasting the horn) and crossing my fingers for good weather.

I came home from work on Wednesday to find a gorgeous bouquet of flowers.  I was confused at first because they looked like the kind that were delivered.  A explained that he had worked with a florist to design a bouquet that was symbolic of our trip to Europe.  The colors and types of the flowers represented the three countries we visited.  I was so impressed and completely surprised!!  I absolutely love the flowers (which also smell amazing) and love A so much!

Happy holiday weekend!!  I'm excited to have four days off to spend with my favorite guys!  Woohoo!!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Adventures in Europe

I really enjoy traveling and seeing new places (for the most part).  I mean, I hate packing and I miss my bed while I’m away from home, but visiting a new city, experiencing different people/cultures far outweighs the dreadful packing and uncomfortable hotel beds.

My colleagues travel quite often.  Many have been to France, Switzerland, Germany, Ireland, India, Japan, Spain, and so on.  I traveled to Germany in 2013 and really enjoyed the experience, but recent travels have taken me to Cincinnati and Montreal.  I was definitely envious of my colleagues who had the opportunity to travel to more interesting locations (no offence Cincinnati and Montreal), but I also know it’s challenging for A when I travel and can be tough on the boys so I just accepted that traveling overseas was not in the cards for me right now.

Earlier in the year, to my surprise, my then boss asked me if I wanted to conduct an audit in northern France.  I definitely did, but wanted to make sure it was ok with A.  After discussions with the company we’d be auditing, we set a date for mid-June.  A and I discussed and knowing that he’d be out of school, we thought we’d ask our parents if they’d be willing to watch the boys for about a week so that A could join me.  It was definitely a lot to ask, but it was also a great opportunity for A and me to experience new cities/countries together.  Our parents generously agreed to care for our boys and we began planning.

A has never been to Europe and I’ve only been to Germany once.  In the early phases of planning, we agreed that we’d see as much as possible – this is generally our strategy when we travel as we’re not sure if/when we’ll return to a destination.  I was also able to rely heavily on colleagues who had lived and/or traveled to the area.  We eventually decided we’d try to see Gent, Bruges, and Brussels in Belgium, Amsterdam, Netherlands, and Paris, France.

We arrived in Brussels on a Tuesday with one of my colleagues.  After picking up the rental car and getting lost a few times (a GPS you’re unfamiliar with and street signs you can’t read make for a challenging journey), we were off to Gent, Belgium.  When we arrived, I couldn’t stop commenting on how beautiful the city was.  Stone streets, amazing architecture, a river running though the city, and even a castle.  It was breathtaking.  We walked around for a bit and decided to eat lunch outdoors along the river.  It was wonderful.  After lunch, we toured Gravensteen Castle.  I loved viewing the different rooms and even getting a look at the torture devices used in medieval times – yikes.  It was uncharacteristically warm, but not unbearable.  After that, we headed to our hotel in De Panne, Belgium, which happened to be right on the coast of the North Sea.  Our room overlooked the sea and our windows remained wide open.  It was bliss.

Gent, Belgium

De Panne, Belgium

Wednesday, my colleague and I worked all day.  A got to enjoy walking along the beach and checking out the little town while my colleague and I were on site.  After a very long day of work, we headed to Bruges, Belgium.  Another absolutely beautiful city with sculptures, amazing architecture, and streets lined with shops and cafes.  Unfortunately, we arrived late so many of the shops and restaurants were closed, but we found a great restaurant with outdoor seating and enjoyed a nice dinner.  I’d really like to return to this city some day and see the Michelangelo sculpture and check out the shops and restaurants.  I loved it.

Bruges, Belgium

Doesn't it look like something from a storybook?  Stunning...

To be continued…

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Father's Day Weekend

Holy moly do I have a lot to catch up on.  A and I are back from Europe and we had an amazing trip.  I’ll recap eventually, but I haven’t talked about Father’s Day weekend yet and wanted to do that first.

If I recall, there was a chance of rain for most of the weekend, but it only rained at night, which was nice.  On Saturday, we headed out to a local carnival.  We decided to grab a quick bite to eat and happened to walk past a chicken restaurant downtown.  We were able to sit in front of open windows and people watch as we ate.  It was so fun and the boys also loved it.  And the chicken/sides were delicious!!  We need to go there again.  From there we headed to the tent where Papa was working (he serves beer every year J) and caught up and wished him a Happy Father’s Day.  Then, it was off to the rides.  W LOVED everything.  He went down the giant slide at least five times and went on nearly every ride.  S (who’s usually my daredevil) was a bit more reluctant, but also had lots of fun.  We enjoyed lemonade and popcorn and had a great day.

Sunday was our usual routine.  I had offered to take A out for lunch to celebrate Father’s Day and W requested Tacos El Norte – which is always weird to me because he doesn’t eat Mexican food, but likes this restaurant for some reason.  Anyway, A, being the super dad that he is, agreed to Tacos El Norte.  Lunch was yummy and we gave A a Cubs print.  I thought it was very cool – players’ names and scores arranged in such a way that made a picture of the Cubs celebrating the World Series win.  A seemed to like it (I hope!) – he’s really tough to shop for.  A little side note about this: the print was lost in the mail for quite awhile.  For some reason, it went from Pennsylvania to Chicago to Florida and back to Chicago.  I thought there was no chance it would arrive by Father’s Day, but miraculously, it was delivered the Saturday prior!

It was a great weekend celebrating an amazing dad and I hope A enjoyed it!!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Friday Thoughts

Things have been a bit crazy in these parts.

For starters, A and I leave for Europe on Monday.  I haven’t mentioned it because I thought the trip could be cancelled.  I’m going for work and with the organizational changes recently, I was just waiting for someone to tell me the trip was off.  I was also nervous about A’s health (and I still am).  We’re planning to spend time in northern France, Brussels, Amsterdam, and Paris.  I’m super excited, but very anxious about being away from the boys.  I know they’ll be in good hands (with Nani, Papa, and my mom), but I’m going to miss them like crazy.  Stay tuned.

W finished his first week of “camp”, which isn’t really camp, just a summer program at school.  Classes are 4 days a week for 3 hours each day and they’re held outside.  He really seems to enjoy them.

S continues to LOVE gymnastics and I’m happy that he gets some special one on one time in an activity that’s just for him.

Other than that, A is completely spoiling the boys with walks, lots of time outdoors, and trips to the water park (it’s been very warm here!!).

We have an “open house” for our townhouse with 4 perspective renters.  Really hoping one of them will be interested and meet our criteria.  Fingers crossed!  This house adventure has been very time consuming as I respond to questions, schedule viewings, update application forms, call carpet repair companies, etc… uggh.  It’s become a second job.

And finally, we’re excited to celebrate our favorite dad on Sunday.  A is an amazing, hands-on dad and I couldn’t have picked a better husband and role model for the boys.  He’s truly the best!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Weekend Recap

Summer decided to come early this year!  We saw 90 degrees this weekend – holy moly!

Friday, a couple of my mom friends came over to hang out for a bit.  It was funny how it happened – I posted a meme on Facebook that mentioned something about play dates with wine.  Ha!  A friend I hadn’t seen in years messaged me and a mutual friend asking if we wanted to get together.  Sure!!  I volunteered my house because my boys are older and figured it would be nice for them to have their usual toys and surroundings.  We had cheese and crackers, fruit, and sangria while we sat outside on the deck.  It was wonderful.  We all have completely different stories – IVF for me, a cancer diagnosis and surprise pregnancy for another, and adoption for the third.  It was great to catch up and we have another play date in the works.

After that, we headed over to our townhouse for a showing and to assess repairs.  The prospective renter wasn’t interested – she had already told me she had another contract in the works, but still wanted to see our townhouse.  We discovered that we’ll have to repair some carpeting and a window along with cleaning.  I’m a little overwhelmed, but we’ll get it done somehow.  And hopefully we can find new tenants quickly.

Saturday was W’s last t-ball practice.  Parents got to participate and it was adorable to watch A and W playing together.  My mom, Nani, and Papa also came out to watch.  While W played, S enjoyed picking up trash that was blowing around the field and putting it in the garbage.  He’s obsessed with all things garbage, just like big brother.

After t-ball, it was off to lunch, then hair-cuts for the boys, and then grocery shopping.  A very full day, but the boys were great all day.

Sunday was church at our usual place, Starbucks, and then we headed to the Cubs game.  The boys were good in the car.  BUT.  W did not stop talking the ENTIRE time.  It was EXHAUSTING.  How can one little boy have so many questions??  I’m very happy that he’s curious and he asks great questions, but holy moly.  We arrived early and I was a little nervous.  I had selected the seats because these tickets were a birthday gift for A.  He always chooses seats and does a great job.  Anyway, the seats were awesome and in the shade, which was such a relief because my car said it was 98 degrees… WHAT?!?!  By the first inning, W was already complaining that he was ready to go.  Ugggh.  The boys were good for the most part, but they’re just too little to sit for a long period of time.  We left our seats in the fifth inning, which wasn’t unexpected, but disappointing since I paid way too much money for 5 innings of baseball.  We ended up going out to the little park area at Wrigley Field, which is a really nice open space with a large screen, tables, and places to order drinks.  It would’ve been perfect – if it wasn’t 98 degrees.  We spent an inning there and decided to head out because it was just too hot.  All in all, we had fun, but A and I both agreed that we should go to any upcoming games alone if we actually want to watch the game.  We already bought tickets for a game in Baltimore so we’re not sure what we’re going to do for that.  The Cubs won and we stopped for ice cream on the way home.  All in all, a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017


We are a whopping 3 days (technically 3.5 days) into summer break and W has already declared, “I love Nani because she fixes things for me.”  And this gem, “I miss grandma.  Things are changed.  Grandma isn’t coming over [tomorrow], daddy is home, you’re going into work.  I’m going to be broken tomorrow.”  So apparently we suck as parents. :)  I’ll be forever grateful that the boys see their grandparents so often and miss them after a few days of not seeing them.

And I’m not sure why W is complaining because so far, A has taken them to the park numerous times, to visit me at work, on several walks, and the list goes on.  I mentioned to A that I felt bad we had registered W for several activities, but not S.  On a whim, we signed S up for a parent/child gymnastics class, which started today and he loved it.  W got to visit grandma while S was in class and I’m sure he also had a blast.

On a another note, our tenants decided they were moving out of our townhome and then told us that their plan to purchase a house wasn’t going to work out so they’d be staying another year.  I had the townhouse advertised on Zillow so I took down the listing and emailed everyone who had contacted me.  Annnd then, a couple days later, the current tenants dropped off their rent check and casually mentioned they were in fact purchasing a home and had already started packing.  I’m so frustrated that they weren’t honest with us about what was going on and feel like an idiot for being so indecisive with prospective renters.  We’ll be on vacation when our current tenants move out and will only have a couple days to get the house ready for new tenants.  I’m not exactly sure how all this is going to work out, but staying positive…

Monday, June 5, 2017

Weekend Recap

Our weather has been so beautiful lately.  I love that it’s not too hot yet and the boys can spend their days outdoors.

I’ve started summer hours at work so on Friday, we hit the local amusement park.  S slept in the stroller for about an hour when we first arrived.  W decided to try out his very first roller coaster.  He went on it with A and was a little freaked out.  In his words, it was scary, but fun.  We’ll see if he wants to go on again.  

After a couple hours of rides, we decided to head to A’s favorite pizza place.  It’s been our tradition to head there when A is done with school and we all enjoyed the yummy pizza.

On Saturday, we met my mom at Starbucks for breakfast and then headed to W’s t-ball practice.  He was able to hit a ball that his coach pitched – I was so impressed!!  He’s always hit off a tee and I had no idea who could hit a pitch.  From there, I got my hair cut and the boys played outside all afternoon.

Sunday was W’s final tennis class.  He started off well, but half way through, complained that he was hot and tired and didn’t really participate.  It was frustrating.  I encouraged him to keep trying, but he just wasn’t interested.  A disappointing ending to say the least.  I’m glad it’s over.  When we were in the car after lessons, W insisted that he liked tennis.  What?!?  Maybe we’ll try again next year.  

After that it was off to mass at our new church.  It was our first time attending 11am mass there and I really enjoyed it – despite the fact that mass was so freaking long.  We just aren’t used to mass being over an hour and trying to keep two boys quiet for over an hour is challenging (though they were very good).  BUT on the bright side, the music was absolutely beautiful.  Every time the choir and instruments started up, I was so enthralled.  After church, we headed to lunch at Cheddars.  W has been asking to go to Cheesers… bahaha.  It seemed like a good way to celebrate the end of tennis lessons even though his final class was not so stellar.  We finished the day with backyard pool shenanigans.  All in all, a really, really great weekend!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Friday Thoughts

W’s last day of school was Wednesday.  I know I brag about my kiddos all the time, but I’m so proud of him and the progress he’s made through the year.  W’s teacher created a book of his drawings, photos, and things he’s said throughout the school year and I absolutely love it.  I so appreciate that she took the time to create a special book for each child – it must’ve taken forever!

A and I were talking about how special and unique our boys are (I’m sure every parent feels this way).  We think W is an old soul – he’s a deep thinker and picks up on details that no one else would notice.  He’s incredibly observant, descriptive, inquisitive, and serious.  He has little patience for immaturity.  I described him as having zero tolerance for bull shit to which A responded, “he’s just like you.”  LOL.  For example, one of W’s classmates was being silly and rambunctious at the preschool carnival and W noticed.  W shook his head, sighed, and said, “Oh, Ezra…”.  He just seems wise beyond his years.  [That’s not to say he doesn’t have meltdowns, super cranky days, or defiant moments.]  S is just incredibly good natured (as long as he’s not tired).  We feel that he could be put in any situation and make the most of it (unless that situation is a doctor’s office, in which case he is NOT having it).  He’s a ray of sunshine and exudes positivity.  People remark that he is always smiling in photos and that’s just how he is – easy to please and cheerful (for the most part).  He also has the uncanny ability to memorize a song after only hearing it a couple times.  He’s a charmer, a quick learner, and definitely the most social member of our family.

In store for this weekend: amusement park, t-ball, haircut (me), tennis, church, and who knows what else….

And now for two completely random things that won’t make sense just because:

~ I don’t think I should have to pay non-routine bills.  For example, the one off doctor’s bills or laboratory fees or whatever else.  Logically, I know this makes no sense whatsoever.  But I usually wait until I receive the second notification because they’re not as important to me.  Like I won’t lose my home or electricity because I didn’t pay on time.  Again, I know it makes no sense and I can’t explain it, but I’m never in a hurry to pay them.  Side note: I’m paranoid about my credit score so I never wait TOO long, but long enough to get a second notice. ;)

~ I will never have a daughter, but when I found out that a girl I never liked used my favorite girl’s name for her new baby, I was furious… and I’m still annoyed.  I have no ownership over said name, but just the fact that she of all people chose it… ugghhh!!!  I know, I know… silly.