Boy(s) of Rock and Roll

Here’s the thing about my kids…they are hilarious on a daily basis. I realize I have an incredible bias but I think even a casual observer would label them funny. The problem is they both have just enough of my shyness to give them pause whenever they know they are being watched and especially captured on film. It would seem though that Chase is coming a little out of his shell a bit. Lately he’s been willing to perform on cue, even letting me catch a few magic moments with my phone.

I recently introduced them to one of my favorite childhood movies, The Chipmunk Adventure. The first time we watched it they didn’t seem too interested but the next day they fought over the DVD at nap time, and have continued to fight over it every day since. We happened to be watching various clips from the movie on YouTube when Chase broke out in dance.

He tried SO hard to copy all of the moves but bless his heart he got his gracefulness and coordination – or lack there of – from me.

I’m suddenly very concerned about how I actually look during Zumba classes.



Five. Last week you went and got another year older.Birthdays

Tomorrow you finish your first year of school (even if it is just practice Kindergarten). An entire year of drop offs and pick ups, packing lunches, school programs, awards ceremonies, class trips. I can’t believe how much you’ve grown this year. You went to school a timid toddler too shy to speak to anyone and today I watched you race around the park with all the friends you’ve made. A year and a half ago I was carting you to speech therapy willing you to speak and suddenly you’re on the verge of reading.NowandThen

I wish I could fully articulate what a funny little kid you’ve become. Your favorite thing in the world is to watch YouTube videos about Legos. We watch Lego toy reviews, Lego how to’s, Lego animations, Lego Movie clips, anything and everything that has to do with Legos. We recently visited a Legoland Discover Center and to be honest I was a little afraid that it broke your brain because of the sheer joy involved. You and your sister are quite particular about the music we listen to on any given day, mostly you go for whatever kids songs we have in the car but occasionally you request songs that you hear me play. Your eating habits haven’t changed at all, you still survive on chicken nuggets and shredded cheese.Chase5

I can’t lie, looking at pictures of how much you’ve grown makes me a little emotional. You’ve truly turned the corner from toddler to little boy. As much as that tugs at my heart, it helps that you’re still very much my baby. I get anxious when I think that we might be nearing the end of you wanting to hold my hand while we snuggle on the couch watching cartoons. I don’t care that you still want to sleep in our bed because I know that someday all too soon you’ll be too grown up for that.Us

Things I want to remember:

  • The look of triumph on your face when you get fully dressed by yourself
  • The way you sings two lines from The Lego Movie theme song at random intervals (Everything really IS awesome)
  • The way you miss your sister after only a few hours apart from her
  • The way you refer to plugging your ears as “putting your listeners in”
  • All the words you mispronounce, none of which I can actually think of at this time (I promise to start writing those down)

I love you with all the pieces of my heart little boy.


Merry Happy Everything

Hello friends!

I know it’s been a little sparse around these parts but I just had to come back to participate in the 5th Annual Bloggy Holiday Card Exchange (partly because I fear the wrath of Meghan).

In all seriousness the friends I have made through this blog, as well as twitter and facebook, have been some of the best I’ve ever had. I can’t thank you all enough for being there through some of the best and worst times in the past few years.

With that, I give you our 2013 Holiday card! Clearly I chose a Happy New Year card because I haven’t actually mailed any of them yet. They’ve been sitting on my table addressed for well over a week, I finally purchased stamps 4 days ago, and yet, there they sit. Oh well. HAPPY MERRY EVERYTHING EVERYONE!


I feel like I have to explain that it’s super grainy because I had to scan the actual card and I used a very matte, textured paper. I couldn’t use a screen shot from because the preview was so tiny! If you’ve never used them before, I can’t recommend them enough, aside from the small preview I am so happy with every part of my purchase.

Head on over to Meghan’s place to share your card and see everyone else’s!

After the Intermission

Hello friends. It’s been awhile, eh?

If by chance you’re new here then, well, you won’t have noticed my nearly 6 month absence.

I know! Six months! That’s a long time, yo! It’s not like I wasn’t around, I just haven’t been here. I haven’t felt like writing. Or I’ve felt like writing but the words I wanted to share weren’t mine or just weren’t ready to be put in the open. A lot has happened in the last six months. There’s has been plenty of heartbreak and lots of joy. Maybe I’ll write about, maybe I won’t, only time will tell. What I do know is that I’ve missed writing here. I’ve missed capturing the snippets of my life, the crazy things my kids are doing, I’ve missed the connection it gives me to my friends in this space.

So I’m back.

It’s good to be back.

<insert completely unrelated photo of the kids>


Katelyn – Two Years Old

Dear Kate,

How in the world is it that you are two years old already? It’s so cliche but time really does seem to be moving at warp speed. In the last six months you have morphed into a full fledged person.

For such a tiny little person you have no trouble what so ever making your every feeling heard and/or understood. I could make a 500 page flip-book comprised of only your facial expressions. Your vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds, every day I catch a new word or two sneaking in. All of your grandparents are completely wrapped around your finger and you know it. Rarely can anyone turn down a request, even if they do usually come out more like demands.

You do nothing halfway, and nothing at slow speed. This picture of you running frame by frame is a perfect portrayal of how you move. It’s an awkward but totally adorable combination of high knees, tip toes, and kicked out to the side feet. It goes pretty perfectly with your soundtrack of squeals and giggles.

Your brother, whom you affectionately and stubbornly refer to as Sissy, is your absolute favorite person in the world. Having the two of you so close together is one of my favorite decisions ever. More than ever now, you are his constant shadow, absorbing and parroting everything he does. I love that on any given afternoon I’m just as likely to find the two of you playing dress up in your room as I am to find you both “farming” in his room.

As much as ever you are still my little peanut, barely ranking on the growth charts. We routinely run into 15-18 month olds who tower over you. What you lack in size you more than make up for in spunk and sass. Your baby-fine hair is finally starting to grow and this past month we ventured into the world of pony tails. Most days you sport a wispy little tail on the top of your head à la Pebbles. If anyone asks you what’s in your hair you smile, flip the hair with your hand, and say “pre-pre” (pretty pretty).

Dora is still your favorite, although any cartoon that your brother likes you’re happy to watch with him. Much to my dismay you aren’t quite ready, or interested in, Disney Princess movies, but I’m sure the time is coming. Peek-a-boo barn is your favorite game on the iPad and you will never be convinced that you have enough baby dolls. You know exactly where I keep my stash of smarties and there isn’t much you wouldn’t do for a drink of my fountain pop.

I couldn’t love you any more if I tried baby girl.


Letting Go Is The Hardest Part {Sponsored}

Today I want to talk to you about my cell phone. (I know, don’t you love how my post titles are sometimes ridiculously misleading? I should work on that. You know, right after I actually work on posting more often. HA. Right.)

Moving back to Illinois — while super exciting and great for our family — had its fair share of bullet points in the cons column. We left the best friends we’ve ever had, my proximity to Target is nowhere near acceptable, and there is a serious lack of good eateries here. Most of all though, it meant saying goodbye to my precious, my darling, my one and only iPhone.

Go on and laugh but I was despondent.

All was not lost though, due to lack of service in our area we decided to break our contract with AT&T. In all honesty the only reason I ever moved to AT&T was to have the iPhone. I was never happy with their service. A few months after we moved back we resigned with US Cellular. Walking in to that office was like coming home (pun intended since we moving to Illinois was in fact…coming home. Come on that was kind of funny, no?).

I’ve been in many US Cellular stores and offices and I can tell you that I’m always always greeted with a smile and treated like a friend or neighbor. Not only is their customer service excellent but their coverage is reliable. Considering my job and the fact that we don’t have a land line telephone, it’s really nice to know that I can always depend on getting connected.

In addition to the reliability and service they’ve always been known for, US Cellular has created a new campaign for new and existing customers called Hello Better. (None of that silly business where the great deals are only open to new customers.) Hello Better is a campaign encouraging people to say goodbye to dysfunctional wireless relationships and say hello to a better experience. Goodbye neglect, hello respect.

The biggest change is the addition of a rewards plan. Get this, every month you earn points. You earn points just for doing things like…well just being a customer and paying your bill. Even better you can actually use those points for things you want like faster phone upgrades, accessories, ringtones, and overage forgiveness.

Admit it, this all sounds amazing right? Well settle down because I haven’t even shared the coolest part with you. Are you ready?In addition to passionate associates, U.S. Cellular provides customers with unique benefits such as the industry’s only points-based rewards program, no contract after the first contract ends, free incoming calls and texts, free Overage Protection and free Battery Swap for your device.

Suddenly dependence on a cell phone doesn’t have to mean being held hostage by your wireless carrier. Now if I could just convince someone over there that they need to pick up the new fangled iPhone that was released last week. I really tried to make it work with Android but it’s becoming clear that my phone and I are using totally different operating systems.

Are you unhappy with your wireless service? Maybe it’s time to consider a switch.

Disclosure: I participated in this sponsored post campaign for One2One Network. All opinions stated are my own.


My Pretty Little Princess

I’m going to level with you guys. Living in the country is really amazing most of the time, except when it’s not. Lately one of my biggest irritations with our rural living situation is the lack of shopping. For as little as I care about my own wardrobe it’s shocking to me how much I care about stocking my kids’ closets. I want them to have cute things, I want to show their personalities in their appearance, I want them to shine everyday (Too far? Yeah, too far. Look, I just want them to not look like hobos or be exact replicas of every other kid in town).

One of my latest obsessions is scouring the web for online stores that sell children’s clothes and accessories. By way of my awesome friend Jenny I found Girls Crochet Headbands. The lovely folks over there sent me some of the products for Katelyn to try so if you’ll indulge me a few photos…

My Kate is not blessed with a head full of hair so hair accessories of any kind have been tricky for us to say the least. I love this little curly bow because it doesn’t overwhelm her wee head and it stayed really well in her thin hair. (Bow Tie 3″ Zebra – $1.50)

I can’t even stand how animated she is about a simple yawn. I love this little flower clip and headband because again, they held well in her hair and the sizing was just right. Normally you see these clips on thicker crochet headbands but for whatever reason Katelyn always rips those off after 5 seconds but this soft elastic headband didn’t seem to bother her at all. (Black Elastic Headband – $0.50 Sweetheart Flower Clip White/Hot Pink – $1.79)

Katelyn loved this little kufi hat, I wasn’t as wild about it but perhaps it would look better if she had longer hair. I am assuming the hat is quite comfortable as she has refused to take it off since discovering it. I adore the zebra striped flower clip and plan to use it alone and with the elastic headband. (Kufi Hat Hot Pink – $2.50 Crystal Daisy Zebra – $1.25)

This set was my absolute favorite out of everything. We are big football fans in this house and we always dress accordingly for Game Day. It’s hard to see but the flower clip isn’t just made in Green Bay Packers colors but there is a little football charm in the middle. I will definitely be having one made to go with her apparel for college games. (The full size flowers were comically large on her little head, I will likely stick to the small and medium sized flowers from now on) (Football Leg Warmers – $3.99 Gerber Daisy NFL Packers – $2.98)

This picture is here simply because it makes me so insanely happy to look at. I mean, c’mon, that’s a cute kid ammirite?

Chase is never one to be left out so I let him try on the leg warmers on his arms. I actually think this is really cute for older kids.

This orange and black flower clip (shown on the black elastic headband) has an adorable pumpkin charm in the middle. (Halloween Flower Clip Black/Orange – $2.98)

Because Chase loves ALL things Halloween he insisted on modeling the pumpkin flower for me.

Not only did Girls Crochet Headbands send me these awesome products but they want to send YOU some as well. I can assure you that I will be ordering again soon because I’ve fallen in love with their products and I think you would too. Simply follow the steps below to enter to win 5 items of your choice from the site.

1) Mandatory: Head over to the Girls Crochet Headbands website and look around. Then come back here and leave a comment telling me what your favorite GCH item is. For extra entries you can also:

2) “Like”GCH on Facebook, and leave a separate comment letting me know you did.

3) Follow GCH on Pinterest and leave me a separate comment letting me know you did.

4) Follow GCH on Twitter and leave me a separate comment letting me know you did.

I will leave the comments open for entries until Thursday September 20th. A winner will be randomly selected.

Contest is now closed! The lucky winner is Robyn S:

Robyn S.


I absolutely love love love the lace rompers. I think they are too cute. I found you through Jenny at momminitup!

One final thought… I would like the record to show that the above are the finest sampling from my photo shoots with my children. 90% of the photos I took ended up looking something like this. In other words, it was toddler mayhem up in here.

Disclosure: I was provided with free products but I was not compensated and all opinions are my own (and Katelyn’s of course).

When I Grow Up

I remember being a senior in high school, sitting down with my guidance counselor and discussing my career path. I remember what an absolute joke that conversation was. I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up and she was absolutely no help to me whatsoever. I went to college with the intention of finding a job where I could work on a computer. No seriously, that was my main stipulation.

I don’t think I have to tell you that I bounced around a bit in terms of majors and ended up with a degree in a field I have no desire to work in. I love graphic design but hooboy am I NOT cut out for that as a 40+ hour a week career.

Today, nearly seven years since I first set off for college, I think I’ve found the job I was looking for all those years ago. I am the newest member of Sway Group/Sway in Real Life. I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am for this opportunity. First of all it’s just an amazing group of women, all of whom have been so kind and welcoming to me. I feel like I’ve finally found my place in this community. A place where I can thrive, be successful, and be myself

Going “back to work” after staying home for three years is a little daunting but I’ve never felt more confident in the direction I’m going. Speaking of where I’m going, I hope that I’ll see some of you at upcoming Bloggy Boot Camp stops. I’ll be attending Las Vegas (Oct) and Chicago (Nov).

I’d also like to thank all of you who put in good words for me or spoke highly of me, you’ll never know how much I appreciate it.


Problems Teachers Face

***I was compensated for this post.  All opinions expressed are my own***

I have a very distinct memory from high school. I was sitting in my civics class, ostensibly learning all about government and politics. In reality I was reading from a horribly outdated text book that was teaching me things a seventh grader should know while the teacher sat at the front of the room, his feet propped up on his desk, reading a newspaper. Obviously I blame my complete lack of knowledge about anything political on him. (kidding)

This also happened to be the same teacher that also taught my Computers class. I don’t know what exactly we were supposed to be learning in that class but I can tell you it’s where I learned my love for Fantasy Football. Our main assignment in that class was to create a spreadsheet that would calculate a fantasy score based on stats we pulled from the sports section. We spent the better part of that semester keeping track of his fantasy football league.

Looking back I can see that he probably wasn’t just bored with teaching in general, but being forced to teach classes outside of his realm of expertise. Unfortunately the problem of teachers suffering from stagnation is a problem that has only grown since my days in high school, leading to a growing percentage of job turnover.

I spoke with several of my close friends who are teachers, both in rural areas and large cities, about the problems they face as teachers. When asked about the biggest factor that keeps them from being successful they all cited lack of parent involvement. They also struggle with outdated resources and an astounding lack of technology for use in the classroom. For teachers at higher grade levels a major struggle is students who lack the basic skills needed to understand current coursework. Can you imaging having a 10th grader who you were to advance to an 11th grade reading level when they come to your classroom with a 3rd grade reading level? Unfortunately this is a prevalent problem in many areas.

Unfortunately there is no magic answer, no easy fix, to any of these problems. Parents and caregivers have to place a higher importance on education, administrators and educators have to set more stringent and more realistic requirements, and curriculum has to be adjusted to reflect the constant changes in technology. As one friend so simply stated it, “I think we absolutely need to use technology in our teaching; we can’t only teach kids the way we were taught. We have to adapt to their culture and new technologies. We have to keep them interested.”

How do you think we can begin correcting the problems facing our educators? Leave your thoughts to be entered to win a copy of the book Mission Possible: How the Secrets of the Success Academies Can Work in Any School. This book, co-authored by Eva Moskowitz (the founder and CEO of the Success Charter Network in Harlem) and Arin Lavinia, discusses strategies used by a charter school in Harlem that led to dramatically improved test scores and a ranking as one of the top schools in the New York area. I will pick a winner from the comments section Friday the 9th at midnight (Central time).

New York City, You Complete Me…Or Not

Yesterday I made my way — more successfully than others I might add — home from the annual Blogher conference in New York City. I actually attended very little of the conference, but that’s a story for a different day. Here are my thoughts, in list form because it’s the most my brain can handle at this point.

1. Hotel trash cans, the ones under the desks, are not watertight. Thus one should always just take the hit to their wallet and “rent” a mini-fridge for keeping drinks cool. Let’s just say I tried to rig up a trash can with ice for a makeshift cooler and we ended up with a lot of water, most of it in Meghan’s purse. Whoops. As stupid as I felt it led to one of the funniest moments ever in the middle of the McDonald’s in Times Square.

2. I brought ALL flats and I still managed to get massive blisters. I will apparently never learn that NYC requires WALKING SHOES.

3. My fashion-genius friend Ali took me shopping, like real, honest-to-goodness, big girl shopping at Saks. I’ve never been to any Saks, let alone THE Saks on Fifth Avenue. I felt like a total fraud up in that place. True to her word though AliMartell shoved me in a dressing room and threw a bunch of jeans at me and low and behold I found THE perfect pair. I am now a proud owner of a pair of Joe’s Jeans. Scoff all you want but hot damn they are amazing.

4. I seriously enjoyed all the good eats. I tried and loved Cuban food, even if I did choose one of the most bland things on the menu, I give myself massive points for not even balking when Meghan suggested Cuban. Baby steps you guys. I also indulged in LOTS of spaghetti, pizza, cupcakes, and yes even some McDonald’s.

5. Not that I needed it but this trip really served to reaffirm the fact that I have some amazing friends. We laughed and laughed and laughed (even cried a little). Some of my favorite moments were those spent in small quiet circles. I talked with so many great people all while nary a keyboard was touched.

6. I feel, like many I think, that Blogher is out-blogher-ing itself. Maybe it was the NYC location but everything just felt harried. Everything felt crowded, and rushed, and hot, and damp (don’t be dirty, it was humid). The parties, which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed in the past, just seemed to dark and too loud. I feel like in the past there was a place, a dimly lit, quieter place that one could have a conversation without screaming. Like Ali said, I think I’m just geriatric.

7. Next year is Chicago, I’m sure I’ll waffle a bit, or maybe a lot, but in the end I’ll be there. I just can’t pass up the opportunity to miss my friends. I’m also really going to try to hit a few of the other conferences out there. I hear that sometimes you do actually learning there.

Until next time my friends.