Monday, December 17, 2018

Weekend Recap

Before I talk about this weekend, I need to back up and mention W’s first school Christmas program.  I knew he’d been practicing songs for weeks and I was so excited for the program.  I also knew he’d be dressed as an angel.  Is there anything sweeter than kindergartners dressed as angels?  Gah.  I have not been to many kids Christmas programs (ok, none… I’ve been to none aside from the ones I was in as a kid, and I distinctly remember suggesting changes to the program, which I’m sure my teacher was thrilled about, but I digress.)  W’s Christmas program was fantastic!!  I’d never heard most of the songs, the backdrop was beautiful, the kids were adorable.  I just loved it so so much.  I’m regretting not ordering the video.

I took Friday off and spent much of the day wrapping presents at my mom’s house.  Susana stopped over with her kitten, we ordered pizza, it was a great day.

Saturday, we attended a service for my great uncle who’d recently passed away.  This is the fifth family member I’ve lost this year.  I’m including my dog in that, but FIVE.  I’m mentally done with 2018.  On the bright side, we went out for a late lunch with my mom and I ordered a margarita so there’s that.  Saturday night, A and I decided we’d drive around with the boys and look at Christmas lights like we used to do as kids.  We made popcorn (which is now scattered throughout my car), had hot cocoa, and listened to Christmas music.  We even found “Christmas Lane”, a street in which every single house is decorated with Christmas lights.  I really enjoyed it and we discussed going out again to look at even more lights.

In an attempt to keep it real, I’m just going to say that Sunday sucked.  There are some days in which parenting is just plain hard and defeating and this was one of them.  It started right as we were leaving for church when I realized that one of the boys had (ink) stamped W’s Kindergarten class picture.  It broke my heart.  I get very attached to photos and I had planned on saving this one forever.  His first class picture.  It didn’t help that when I asked, no one had any recollection of stamping said photo.  Our return address stamp must have just magically appeared on the picture.  I tried to wipe the ink off to no avail and then A tried a magic eraser, which took off all the color from the photo and made it way worse (I know A was trying to help).  I realize that this may seem relatively minor, but I still have my grade school class photos in a book my mom put together for me.  It had sentimental value that can’t be replaced.  So I was on the verge of tears at 8:30am.

The rest of the day continued in the same frustrating, exhausting manor with hitting, pushing, messes, multiple timeouts, food thrown on the floor, talking back, arguments, spilled lemonade, and so on.  There were a couple bright spots – everyone ate AND liked the lemon and crème chicken and linguine I made for dinner.  A rarity.  W cleaned his room (though he also rearranged his furniture), but I appreciate the initiative.  We ended up sending the boys to bed at 6:45 because we didn’t know what else to do.  I know, I know… the days are long, the years are short.  But those long days… whew… they aren’t for the weary.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Weekend Recap

We had quite a busy weekend!  But I think every weekend lately is a busy weekend…

Friday night, W had Craft Night at his school.  I will admit that I was dreading this.  It had been a long, busy week and all I wanted to do was relax.  But W had expressed interest and any opportunity to expand his social skills is worth exploring.  We ran into W’s teachers and had a chance to say hi to them.  I swear, W’s teachers are ALWAYS at the school – they are so incredibly dedicated.  A few of W’s classmates said hello, which I thought was so cute.  The crafts were lots of fun (albeit messy) and the boys had such a great time.  I’m happy we went.

Saturday, we headed to Chicago.  I think I mentioned that we wanted to gift an “experience” instead of presents for W’s birthday.  We arrived at Navy Pier and grabbed lunch at Harry Caray’s restaurant.  After that, we headed to Winter Wonderfest.  My honest opinion: it was just ok and I wouldn’t do it again (but now we know).  The boys tried ice skating (emphasis on TRIED).  W made it around the rink – barely.  S made it about 3 feet.  Poor guy just couldn’t get the hang of it.  After we got off the ice, they both said they wanted to try again so I admire their perseverance.  There were lots of inflatable slides and rides to go on, but the lines were long and it was just really crowded.  We went down a few slides and went on the carousel and eventually decided to head out and go on the Ferris wheel.  Once we got outside, S declared he was scared and refused to go on.  W didn’t want to go on without all of us so none of us went.  I was disappointed – the Ferris wheel is the one thing I wanted to do at Navy Pier (and the ride was included in our ticket), but that’s the way things go with a toddler.  We grabbed a soft pretzel (W) and cupcake (S) and headed to our hotel.

The hotel/staff were really great.  The location was right off of Michigan Ave and the Christmas lights were so pretty.  We found a little Italian restaurant down the street for dinner.  I think S ended up wearing most of his spaghetti.  W got the cutest bunny shaped pizza.

We really wanted to go to Zoo Lights, but by the time dinner was done, it was already around 7:30pm.  Back to the hotel we went.  I always try to find a suite with a sleeper sofa if possible.  It works out great because the boys can go to bed early and A and I can have some downtime.  The boys loved the room and kept talking about how the hotel was their favorite part of the trip (I’m not really sure why – the did have their own bed, refrigerator, and tv so maybe that had something to do with it). 

Sunday, we walked to nearby Holy Name Cathedral for mass.  The boys repeatedly told me that being in the city and seeing the church reminded them of New York City – I love that they made that connection and will continue looking for opportunities to visit new places.

I’d really like to make this an annual tradition, but skip the Winter Wonderfest and instead let the boys swim in the hotel pool and visit Zoo Lights.

Friday, December 7, 2018

S Says...

A and I have often joked that S will be the one we’ll have to worry about in school.  Not because he isn’t brilliant – he is, but because we’re certain he’ll be the class clown.  He keeps us laughing every day.  Here are a few recent favorites (keep in mind he's 3):

A:  Goodnight, S.
S:  Goodnight, daddy.
A:  I love you.
S:  I love you.  See you later, you sly dog.

S in time out…
A:  S, what could you have done differently?
S:  Silence.
A:  S, what SHOULD you have done?
S: Closes eyes and pretends to snore indicating the conversation was boring him.

S:  Mommy, when will I be born again?

Baby-sitter:  S, I like your sweater.  You look very handsome.
S:  Thank you!  I’ll buy a bigger one for you on Amazon.

S:  Can we go to Starbucks?  You can drop me off so I can get a gift card.

S:  What’s this horse’s name?
Me:  Well, the tag says Fanning.
S:  Let’s give him a different name.
Me:  Ok.  Hmm… How about Clyde?
S:  How about Octavian?!?
Me:  ?

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Sign Me Up, Scotty!

There are many things I have no trouble declining…

Do you want to attend a conference on packaging? No thank you.
Can you attend the after work team building event?  No.
Do you want to travel to Indiana and observe production?  Hard no.  (Sorry, Indiana.)

But when it comes to volunteer opportunities, I can’t help myself and I say yes to EVERYTHING.  To the point where I am certain I am losing my mind (as if there was something left to lose) and I’m even more overwhelmed than usual.

Can you create and send out invites for the preschool holiday party?  Sure.
Can you drop off the gifts for our adopted family? Sure.
Can you spend five hours shopping for gifts for homeless families at our adopted school?  Sure.
If we don’t have a volunteer for the Kindergarten Christmas party, we’ll have to cancel.  Can someone help?  I took off that day so SURE (never mind that I took off that day to catch up on ALL THE THINGS).

Volunteering is so rewarding for me.  But when it comes to these opportunities, there is a fine line between rewarding and exhausting.

Someone send me a drink… and more hours in the day.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Weekend Recap

If only I had the power to make weekends slow down.  That’s how I feel every single Monday.  Time just continues to fly by.

On Friday, we headed over to my mom’s for dinner as we’ve been doing every week.  My mom asked if she could give W his birthday gift ahead of his party because it was gigantic.  A and I said sure and my mom gifted W an enormous Thomas the Train Super Station that he’d requested after seeing numerous commercials for it.  Marketing at its finest!  Unfortunately, that meant A had to put the thing together.  We headed home and A proceeded to assemble the monstrosity for the next hour.  I have to admit that the boys are enjoying it, but it also feels like my house is being taken over by toys.

Saturday was W’s 6th birthday party.  We’ve been celebrating his birthday early for the past few years to avoid all the busyness that comes with the holidays.  This year, W asked to have a party at his favorite pizza restaurant.  No cleaning or making food!?  I was totally on board!  W had a great time and received too many wonderful gifts.  Instead of presents this year, A and I decided to gift an experience.  So next weekend, we’ll spend the night in Chicago.  W has asked to go ice skating and we’re planning to attend a winter festival.  I’m looking forward to it and more importantly, W is excited.

Sunday, we attended breakfast with Santa.  S has never wanted to be near Santa and I usually can’t even get him in a photo.  Prior to the photo, S told me he didn’t want to see Santa and asked me to tell Santa what he wanted for Christmas.  I told him he didn’t have to go near Santa, but I was not relaying his Christmas list.  W walked up to Santa and I believe he asked for a joke book, miniature garbage cans that resembled the real thing complete with logos, and a jet pack so he could fly.  I’m screwed.  And then, shockingly, S stood there, posed for pictures, and requested some type of city with bridges and traffic lights.  So I’m doubly screwed, but at least the pictures of S have me cracking up.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Friday Thoughts

Is everyone else feeling particularly overwhelmed?  Work always has me stressed, but throw in the holidays and I’m just feeling exhausted by all that needs to get done.  Wednesday, for example, I woke up at 5am and arrived home at 10:15pm.  Ugh.  Three weeks.  I need to survive three weeks and then I’m off for the remainder of the year.
Tuesday, I attended clinic with A.  I haven’t gone with him in awhile so I was happy I was able to make this one.  The good news is it was a boring clinic visit.  His lung function is stable.  YAY!!  We’re working on trying to get A a portable vest.  A’s really great about doing his therapy vest every day, but I think the portable vest would allow him to do it more often and for a longer time.  Fingers crossed that insurance agrees to it.
Wednesday, aka the longest day ever, I had a work team building event.  We tried curling.  Holy moly is it way harder than it looks.  I definitely fell, but I’d love to go again.  I told A we should join a curling club.  I don’t think he took me seriously.
Saturday, we are celebrating W’s 6th birthday.  I can’t even believe he’ll be 6 in a few weeks.  It makes me sad.  Miss my little babies.
The work chaos (still need a new job) and cold weather have me dreaming of spring break.  I’d love to go west – California or Arizona.  I’m not sure a trip will happen, but a girl can dream.
Happy Friday!

Monday, November 26, 2018

Thanksgiving Week Recap

I should’ve completed a blog post last week because we did so much in a short period of time!

I ended up taking a half day on Monday and then took Tuesday and Wednesday off.  I really needed a break and I’m so thankful for extended time off with family.

Monday, A and I attended a conference with W’s teacher.  If you’ve read this blog, you know that conferences give me anxiety.  Ha.  But I really like W’s teacher and the conference went great.  W is doing wonderfully.  I expressed concern that W’s shyness may be hindering him socially.  His teacher told me that he was beginning to talk more and she thought that would continue to improve.  She joked that he'd never have to move his name down on the behavior chart.  We’ll continue to work on W's writing.  His teacher gave us some paper and a grip for W's pencil and as soon as W saw it, he began practicing.  Very proud of him.

Tuesday, A had to work and then had his own parent teacher conferences until late.  I knew the boys and I had to get out of the house.  We met my mom for juice and coffee at Starbucks and then headed to a local wildlife center.  We enjoyed seeing lots of reptiles there along with an owl and a bobcat.  From there, we headed out for a late lunch at one of our favorite pizza restaurants.  We ended the night with microwave popcorn and Frozen – which neither of the boys really liked.

Remember when I fell down the stairs?  Well, this is what my leg looked like by Wednesday.  Don't fall down the stairs.

Wednesday, our 4th annual Kindness Day!  This year, we donated clothing to a family who were victims of a fire.  We went through the Starbucks drive thru and bought coffee for the car behind us and left a tip for the baristas.  We handed out gift cards at Target.  We left goodies out for our delivery people.  We left a sweet note and an extra tip for our waitress.  We sent a card to a family member.  And finally, we left treats and gift cards for our mail lady and sanitation workers.

Thursday, Thanksgiving at Nani and Papa’s house!  The boys helped me make mac and cheese and onion dip.  Forget the turkey, I love the apps and the sides.  So yummy.  The boys had so much fun running around with their cousins and holy moly were all those kids loud.  But honestly, it warmed my heart.  They love their cousins.  We finished off the night with bingo and popcorn.

Friday, shopping!!  I do most of my shopping online, but my mom doesn’t even own a computer.  It’s been our tradition to head to the mall and then meet up with the boys for lunch.  I need to back up here and mention that while we were handing out gift cards at Target on Wednesday, S spotted a giant stuffed tiger and fell in love with it.  He kept asking for it and I repeatedly told him no.  He was so upset he couldn’t bring home that tiger.  I just assumed he was hangry and once we got out of the store and had lunch, the tiger would be forgotten.  The next day, we asked the boys what they planned on asking Santa for for Christmas.  W’s response: miniature Violia, Waste Management, BFI, Groot, etc. garbage cans.  Awesome.  Those don’t even exist.  S’s response: the tiger I saw at the grocery store.  Great.  I’m pretty sure I told A there was no way I was getting a tiger because he would immediately lose interest.  And where does one put a giant tiger??  So when my mom arrived bright and early on Friday morning, I told her to ask S what he wanted for Christmas.  “A tiger!”  So I got the darn tiger.  Face palm.  Anyway, shopping was fun.  I was surprised that stores were actually crowded.  Friday night, we went back to Nani and Papa’s for pizza and the town tree lighting.  The boys had fun with their cousins once again and we watched Santa arrive on a fire truck!  I just love all the holiday activities!!

Saturday, we began decorating for Christmas.  My mom came over to help.  Does anyone else feel like decorating for Christmas is a major undertaking??  Gosh, so much stuff.  But the house looks so festive.  At one point, S asked how Santa would fit a tiger in his stocking.  Lol – he’s obsessed.  And I started crying as I unpacked Addie’s stocking.  I miss her so much.  The cats are fun, but they certainly aren’t Addie.  The house looks great, but as always, I felt like I’d get one area of the house clean and decorated and the boys were making a mess in another.  I will say, they did an excellent job cleaning up once they committed to it!  That night, the boys were crazy.  Running around the house, trying to play tag, knocking things over.  I had had enough and told them to get on their coats, they were going outside.  Never mind that it was 6pm and pitch black out.  The weather was actually mild.  We ended up having so much fun.  A invented 'find the pumpkin'.  W still had a mini pumpkin that he brought home from his field trip.  We’d take turns hiding it in the dark back yard and then the others would run to find it.  We took a walk around the block and looked at Christmas lights.  This turned out to be one of my favorite activities during my time off.

Sunday, we had a blizzard warning!!  The snow was expected to start some time around noon.  We had planned on getting our Christmas tree next weekend, but we also have W’s birthday party on Saturday.  So we decided to head out and choose a tree before the snow storm.  We eventually found a tree, and about 3 hours later, it was decorated.  Then, I noticed that it appeared to be leaning and a couple minutes later, it fell over!!  We switched out the tree stand and so far so good, but I don’t trust the cats not to knock it over again.  Time will tell!  The house looks beautiful.  Sunday night, we learned that all the guys have a snow day today and even my office is closed.  Nice to have a “bonus” day of vacation (though I'm still working from home)!!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Weekend Recap

We were so busy this weekend, but had lots of fun.  I woke up feeling so much better than I have.  You see, last week, my anxiety had returned with a vengeance.  A coworker and friend was let go.  I was shocked as were my fellow coworkers.  We were told her position was eliminated, it wasn’t personal.  She was part of the “old group”.  She had worked long hours, stayed until nighttime on several occasions to get work done.  She was very popular at the company.  It WAS personal.  And I felt awful for her.  It wasn’t fair.  The timing couldn’t have been worse.  Her sister had just had a double mastectomy and she had already lost a sister to cancer.  Not to mention, we’re heading into the holidays.  I was just crushed that a company – my company – would treat someone that way.  It was wrong on so many levels.  So my anxiety was in full force - wondering if I’d be saying goodbye to other friends and helping them pack their desks.  Would I be packing my desk?  Should I be applying for jobs?  I had deadlines at work.  And just preparing for the holidays, knowing I have so much to do and never enough time makes me feel panicked.  When I’m stressed, walking helps, but I also tend to feel exhausted and the last thing I want to do when I’m exhausted is walk – sort of a no win.  After the boys go to bed, all I want to do is sit on the couch and watch reruns of The Big Bang Theory and not have to think about anything.  I find myself going to bed early and still waking up exhausted.  I really needed a good weekend and I got it.  And then, as I was rushing to get the boys ready for school this morning, I slipped and fell down the stairs.  Holy moly, did that hurt.  I couldn’t help thinking that this was such a metaphor for my life lately – just when I think life is getting better, my hope comes crashing down… LITERALLY this time.  So I’m changing my mindset today.  I am ok.  I’m focusing on that.  I know friends who have suffered broken bones, who have significantly injured themselves in falls.  I may me bruised and sore, but I’m not completely broken.  I consider that a win.  But ouch.


Our weekend kicked off on Friday.  S brought home his class pet, Eli, the elephant.  That pair might just be the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.  S took caring for Eli incredibly seriously and everywhere that S went, Eli followed.  Eli even came with to W’s dentist appointment.  I love his dentist.  Too bad they don’t take adult patients.  The ladies there fawn over W, complimenting his behavior, his outfit, his shoes.  He got extra stickers and extra prizes.  And no cavities!!  Woohoo!  If I ever need an ego boost, I’m going there.  W also got his very first report card on Friday.  He’s doing great and A and I are so proud of him.  The only thing he needs to work on is writing, which we already knew.  We finished the day with sandwiches at Grandma’s house (Eli joined us).

Saturday, haircuts for the boys, a Target run where 4 items quickly turned into a cart full of items… oh Target!  And a lunch outing to our favorite charcoal chicken restaurant where I ordered a very healthy lunch consisting of squash soup and mac and cheese.  Hello, carbs!  We sat in front of the big front window and watched people walk by and snow flurries flutter through the air – it was really great.

That night, A and I worked at an auction to benefit W’s school.  Admittedly, it wasn’t quite as fun as I hoped.  Only one other set of kindergarten parents attended.  The groups of parents were very cliquey and we felt like outsiders.  We were working so I suppose we weren’t there to mingle anyway, but it was a bit disappointing.  The lady in charge of the auction was crazy.  Like she was way too excited and we couldn’t get a word in.  She’d ask a question and not let us answer before moving on to the next thing.  If only I could properly explain because she was something.  Think someone on Red Bull who then drank 3 espressos.  Whoa.  Also, I shouldn’t even mention this because I’m still mortified, but I mistook the principal’s husband for the priest!!  Only I could be that awkward.  Face palm.  Needless to say, A and I will need to find a new volunteer activity next year.  Here’s hoping that he’s old enough not to remember me.  Double face palm.

Sunday was our usual and then I took my niece out for a manicure and lunch.  I was really sick and didn’t make it to her birthday dinner so I thought this would be a fun little treat for both of us.  I had such a great time and I think she did too.  I love how my nails turned out.  She suggested the gold glitter and I’m obsessed.  We both agreed that we need a girls day more often.  It’s been really cold here  - in the 30s, but A, being the super dad that he is, took the boys to the park.  They’ve definitely had “cabin fever” lately, but I’m a wuss and don’t enjoy being out in the cold.  They had a blast at the biggest park in town.  We ended the day watching the Bears win while enjoying a fire in the fireplace.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Weekend Recap

Oh my goodness.  I feel like I’m just keeping my head above water.  So many meetings, so many commitments, I can’t keep track.  I had 6 work meetings today.  6.  And I got an email reminding me that it was pizza night to benefit W’s school – which I completely forgot about.  I just added a planner to my Christmas list because I can’t keep track of ALL THE THINGS.  I feel like my life has never been busier.  Anyway, let’s do the weekend recap…

Friday, our first snow.  Not ready!!  Luckily, it melted quickly.  We went to my moms and ordered pizza – something we’ve been doing for quite some time.  A and I played Heads Up and laughed hysterically and it just felt so good to relax.  I feel like I’m forgetting something about Friday, but that’s what I remember.

Saturday, my company sponsored a free day at the Museum of Science and Industry.  They’ve done this for the past 3? years and the boys always enjoy it.  This year was no exception and I think they had even more fun this year.  Their favorites included sitting in the big tractor, viewing the model city and trains, and the kids area.  I requested to go to PF Chang's afterwards and that was yummy.  All in all, a fun (exhausting) day.

Sunday, S woke before 6am.  Yay.  After church and Starbucks, we headed to the Family Fun Fair at W’s school.  The boys had a blast playing games and earning tickets.  W loved seeing his teachers.  Side note: his TA knew my dad.  I love that.  Anyway, the only downside was that when it came time to cash in tickets for prizes, S did NOT understand why he didn’t have enough tickets for certain prizes.  Finally, in the middle of a meltdown, we decided that the best option would be to play a couple more games so S could earn more tickets and get his prize.  Actually, the best option would have been to LEAVE.  And that’s what we should have done.  But I caved. #notwinning  So S got his toy car and we finally left.  I was so darn tired at this point.  The museum and fun fair wore me out.  But of course, the boys were still going strong.  A and I convinced them to watch a show downstairs for 25 minutes.  And then they were back to their crazy antics.  I got out the wine and we counted the minutes until bedtime.