Category Archives: Family

The weekend

This weekend was chock full of fun…. I didn’t have a single session and was able to spend every waking minute with my lovely family. It was really nice.

Friday we had Trunk or Treat which was a lot of fun but we are used to this tiny little event at our old school. The one we attended at our new school was HUGE!!! Crazy out of control fun. I worked the event (have I mentioned my inability to say no) and didn’t see my kids or poor husband until the end. We attempted to decorate our car. Thinking it somewhat cool… NOT AT ALL. We were delusional. People/Families went all out!!! There was a haunted car, where the kids went in one side and slid down a slide at the end… there was a disco inferno with disco music and lights, there was a whole Harry Potter set up… we tried to do Harry Potter I made a really cool drawing of Hogwarts Castle…. It was pathetic. I still like my drawing but it was pathetic. We parked side by side of our good friends and I didn’t see them the whole night. I was pinning numbers on kids, the whole night. Insanity!!!

The best news of the night…. L won best overall costume. She was beside herself excited. When she got back from receiving her gift (a $10 g.c. to AMC theaters and a cool headband with our school logo) she told me “Mommy I’ve never won anything like this before”. I was so happy for her. My moms and my hard work paid off.

Hedwig and Harry Potter

Our Hogwarts attempt

My drawing of the castle

Kids with all their candy, sorting their favorites from the yucky


Saturday we had soccer. Our last fall soccer session. We’re pretty sure we’re going to sign them up for the winter indoor session. We really like the program their in. JT’s brother, sister-in-law and our niece joined us at the soccer field and after practice we headed out for lunch. We ate at Jilly’s Cupcake Bar. SO GOOD!!! Love spending time with them. After lunch we said goodbye and headed to the library where L picked all kinds of books. She is a reading machine.

When we got home JT and I changed our closets over. YUCK!! I hate doing that every year. I definitely have more winter clothes than I do summer. Mom came over after work and she and I drove out to Macy’s to buy her a birthday outfit, L joined us of course. After we were done shopping with my mom we came home for dinner and then headed back out for some more birthday shopping. Once home and kids in bed I watched the Cardinals win game 3. A huge win for us. It was a lot of fun to watch.


Sunday was my mom’s birthday. We met at Vin de Set for some brunch and then came back here to have a nice relaxing day. We watched a few Halloween movies, family friendly of course and JT made a good meal of Salmon, Chicken (for me and the kids), rice, cabbage – YUM!!! We had a great day just hanging out and enjoying each other’s company. J got my mom a huge bunch of flowers and L got mom a necklace that means Love Forever.

There’s our weekend. A pretty nice one. Next weekend I’ll be back to working a lot but also trying to fit in some pumpkin carving.


Our Dog

Warning to all pet owners… a very sad post

We had to have our dog put to sleep on Monday last week… it was terrible. There have to be 500 reasons to not have a pet but the #1 reason is dealing with their death. It’s torture. We knew it was his time, he had lymphoma.

His body was worn down to nothing, all of his bones were protruding, he had tumors all over his body, he didn’t have the energy to bark at our passing neighbors, he could barely walk and he wasn’t begging or eating anymore. We knew it was time. So we waited for both kids to be in school and took him to the vet. I carried him to the car and JT had to carry him into the vet. While laying on the table his ears were perked and it made me think we were making the wrong decision but… we weren’t. We spent some time with him. I kissed his nose and stroked his silky ears, they came in and put a line into his vein, they had a hard time because he was so thin. The needle startled him and he put his nose on my hand. The doctor gave us more time with him before she came back with the medicine. We loved on him and I started to cry because it just didn’t seem right. I couldn’t stay in the room in case he had a bad reaction, I didn’t want that to be my last memory so JT stayed with him. As I walked out I turned to look and he was watching me leave, it was very sad. I cried in the waiting room and sat so I could see the exam room door. I saw the nurse and doctor walk in… and not 5 minutes later they walked back out. JT was behind them a few minutes later, he was crying and that’s the worst to see your big, strong husband be broken down to tears.

He told me he took a big deep breath and laid his head down on his paws, he fell asleep peacefully. Everyone was crying. Me, JT, the doctor, the nurses. It was one of the worst things we’ve had to do… the first was letting our first dog go.

We quietly came home, justifying our decision with lots of excuses (he was sick, he couldn’t walk, etc) but it never feels okay. You feel like you’ve killed your best friend. Nothing makes it okay, no amount of excuses. We got home and that’s when I sobbed. The thought of walking around the house without him greeting us or even just following us to see what we’re doing, it was all too much.

Luckily it rained that day so we sat around and mourned until it was time to pick up the kids. I cried at pick up when a friend said some nice things. I told the kids when they got in the car. L cried and J wasn’t really processing it… so we came home and cuddled on the couch and watched a movie.

Each day gets better but it’s still hard. We always think we hear him moving… his nails on the door frame, a creak of the floor from him walking. JT still expects to see him laying behind him in his office here at home. I was alone one night and it was strange because my protection was gone, even though he could barely hear and could hardly see anymore.

We are awaiting his ashes and I’m sure the sadness will start all over again once they arrive.

He was a difficult dog to own. He caused a lot of grief for us… we are convinced that Marley and Me was written about him. He chewed on everything, stole food from our counters, dug in the trash… all those yucky dog behaviors BUT he was our dog and we still loved him.

We are now dog-less. We have had dogs since we were engaged, so this is a new thing. We will be dog-less for a while. No puppies or rescues in our future. This makes the kids sad because they grew up with our two but life will be a little easier, as much as it pains me to say it.

I’ll miss his silky ears, he had a sweet smelling spot on his forehead, the black spot on his rump, the way he would place his head on the couch and look at you if he needed something, the security you provided us, the way he would run around the house looking for you (we’d totally play hide and seek, the kids loved it)… and so many other things…

Thank you Roscoe for all your love, companionship and loyalty for the 12 1/2 years we had you in our lives. Have fun running around with Rudy in Doggy Heaven. RIP buddy!!

Photos taken in early September

Chicago Day 2 – The conclusion

We were only there for one night. We definitely need to stay longer next time. We would get a city pass and do a whole lot more… in fact I already have a list made of what to go back and do.

  • The Willis Tower
  • Aquarium
  • Field Museum
  • Speedboat Tour

You get the idea. All the touristy things. Hopefully next time my mom will be able to go with us. L really wants to take her to see the American Girl store, isn’t that sweet?!

Back to our story… after the AG store JT mentioned that we should run the packages back to our car. I said “NAH, let’s just keep going.” Mistake. By the time we made it to the Lego store that AG bag was so heavy it was cutting into my hand. Plus the two days of walking was catching up with J. Poor guy couldn’t keep up. So I had him on my back and the AG bag plus it was warmer this day. Next time he will be older but we should have put him in the stroller that we’d brought but it was back at the car. Yeah every once in a while JT is right.

We walked up to the river and explained to the kids how they make the river green every year for St. Patrick’s Day. They loved that.

Off to the Lego store, which I know where it is… It just always takes me a while to find it. We actually walked past it once. While we were in the AG store he asked a minimum of 30 times when it was his turn, when were we going to the Lego store…. AAAAAHHHHH!!!!! He was driving us nuts. Once we finally made it there he was all smiles. First guy we saw was this guy… he loves this guy.

L stayed at the Lego table almost the entire time. She loved playing there.

J walked around with either JT or myself deciding what he wanted to purchase. I took his picture with all of his favorite lego creations

He did find some things he wanted. A spongebob set and of course a few Star Wars sets. He would not put the Star Wars sets down either. He had a death grip on them while walking around.

I’m not sure why but this is my favorite one, he just looks so sweet next to R2-D2

We were finally able to pull L away from her table to take some pics of her too.

Legos purchased we went back to the hotel and packed up the room and the car. Kept the car in the garage and headed to Millennium Park. Had to see the Bean before we left. Everyone needs a bean picture if you visit Chicago.

Before we crossed the street into the Park the kids saw this cow. So they rushed over for me to take a picture. Normal children would stand next to the cow, my children decided to “milk” the cow.

Finally weirdness aside we made it into the park and saw…

The Bean

Bean pictures…

After bean pictures we decided to get a couple more of the family.

Last cab ride, back to the hotel to retrieve our car. Time to go home.

A little sad to be leaving we all would have liked to stay one more day and do some other fun things, maybe another time.

Goodbye Chicago

or so we thought. We got about 10 minutes outside downtown Chicago on highway 55 when we came to a dead stop. 2 hours we crawled on 55. Ugh. It was miserable. The ride home was fine. Poor kids were exhausted and slept for almost 2 1/2 hours on the way home.

Someone had a great time…

On the way home we were going to stop in Springfield and let the kids run around Lincoln’s home but by the time we were out of traffic and headed that way… it was closed. Oh well. We stopped for dinner at Cracker Barrel (yum) we always stop at one when we travel by car.

The kids played checkers while JT snoozed a little before getting back in the car for the final miles towards home.

Finally the arch was welcoming us back home.

It was a fantastic mini vacation.

Chicago Day 2 – American Girl

It was a really bad night’s sleep. You would think that we would have slept well, JT and I each had a double bed to ourselves and the kids slept together on a pullout sofa, but JT and I did NOT sleep well at all.

The kids woke up and opened the curtains right away to let in all that nice bright sun. They enjoyed sitting on the air conditioner looking outside at everyone walking to work.

It was a big day. It was American Girl store day!!!! We all got ready and headed down to eat our free breakfast. I forgot that we got 2 $10 gift cards for breakfast when we checked in. That was really nice we only had to pay $5 for breakfast. After that we headed up to get L’s dolls, we had a lunch reservation at 11:00 am and we were going to walk around a little. First stop… Starbucks. 🙂 There was one 10 steps from our hotel. Love that. After my morning coffee run we walked back to the Disney store. There was someone special the kids wanted to buy a present for. We were 15 minutes early for opening so we sat outside and enjoyed the beautiful day.

The kids watching cartoons waiting for mommy and daddy to finish getting ready

J made himself at home while waiting

A pic of our hotel

Sitting out side the Disney store waiting for store open.

She’s holding a naked Samantha, we were going to admit her to the hospital at the AG store. I was holding Molly. After the Disney store gifts had been purchased we headed down to the AG store to look around before our reservation.

You walk in and it takes your breath away. L was so excited. She knew which doll she wanted to purchase so she kept trying to pick her up but we told her to be patient, let’s check everything out first, have lunch and then she could shop. She was busting at the seams. She had saved all of her birthday money (it’s what she asked for this year) and we were treating her to a new doll for her belated bday gift.

The store when you walk in

So we explored. Found the doll hospital, talked to a nurse about Samantha and decided that she might not need to be admitted, instead just cleaned up so we made her an appointment in the salon.

Soon after it was time for lunch. My mom had a special gift at the table for each kiddo. They were really excited. The cafe is beautiful. Very cheery with a great view all the way around the restaurant. The meal was okay. Next time I will probably just order one of the kids dishes.

Opening her gift

It’s a mini Kaya and J received a new Iron Man toy

They brought out appetizers and our drinks, Molly was at the table with us in her special high chair. Also at the table there was a cute box with slips of paper they were conversation starters. So cute. L loved answering some of the questions.

Miss Samantha’s appointment was done at the salon so JT ran to pick her up (such a good daddy) and she joined us for lunch.

Here’s the restaurant

L with both her dolls

They sang Happy Birthday to her, which was so sweet. The desserts were so good.

Lunch was definitely worth the money. It’s a little girly, I think JT and J were at their limit but it was worth it for for L.

After lunch she was off and running. At one point I looked back at JT who was bringing up the rear and he gave me a look like geez I can barely keep up. So funny.

I loved the historical characters section. The displays were awesome and she loved walking around looking at everything.

Off to pick up Kit, her next doll

picking out her mini dolls, she only needs to add Addy to her mini collection and she’ll have all of them

With all of her purchases before we left

She had a blast and as we walked out she was talking about her next visit. I was so happy for her. Up next Chicago Day 2 – The rest…

Chicago Day 1

For L’s birthday we promised her a trip to Chicago so she could visit the American Girl store. Not to leave J out we told him we’d take him to the Lego store. Needless to say they were super psyched.

JT and I have been to Chicago many many times separately and then a couple times together. Our first time there together was January 1998. We were dating back then. Next was our honeymoon, it was a layover stop for us. On the day of our return flight we woke up in a Chicago hotel near the airport to a blizzard and canceled flights to STL. We took a cab to the bus station then we had to walk with our luggage, in the snow, in sandals to the ATM so we could purchase two bus tickets we then proceeded to take a bus home. Worst trip ever!!! The next trip would be in 2006, JT planned a trip there with friends for my 30th birthday, kid free trip. We had a lot of fun.

We love Chicago. It’s expensive though so we don’t visit as often as we’d like. We usually drive, we’ve flown a couple times but next time we plan on taking the train because that would be fun. We drove this trip, not too bad.

The kids packed up in the car and ready to go… L had all of her dolls ready to go. BTW the tables we bought a couple of years ago are the best purchase we ever made. Love those things for traveling.

The kids love to scream “goodbye arch” as we leave

JT and I love to play the license plate game, I found this one at Target a couple years ago

The kids were really excited to go and JT and I were in money saving mode (we’re saving for Disney later this year). Do as much as we could for as little money as possible. Not easy.We arrived on Thursday, May 27th. Our hotel was awesome. We stayed at the Four Points Sheraton it’s a block off of Michigan Ave. Awesome hotel, plus they had an American Girl package. L would get checked in with her doll, register to win another doll, get an A.G. bed and fresh baked cookies for bedtime. It was worth every penny. Plus they were playing the Molly movie in our hotel room non-stop. She loved it. After we checked in and relaxed a bit we headed out to grab some lunch. We were starving. When we visited in 2006 we ate at Giordano’s, it happened to be down the street a couple blocks from where we were staying so we decided to eat there. Our kids love pizza so we knew they would like it too. Super yummy. When we sat down poor L knocked over her water all over my shirt and shorts. It was bad. But she was so upset so I acted like it was no big deal. I didn’t want to upset her more. I was wet and it was cold downtown (more on that in a second).

The kids waiting to be called to our table at Giordano’s

After lunch we walked back to the hotel because I had to change my clothes. 🙂 Wet and cold were not a good thing plus I don’t have an incontinence problem, I didn’t feel like walking around looking like I had wet my pants. Back to the hotel I changed into my capris and put J into a pair of pants plus grabbed their sweaters. Got love the cool breeze on Michigan Ave. After the wardrobe change we caught a cab to Navy Pier. We thought the kids would like to ride the Ferris Wheel and explore the Pier.

First cab ride for the kids

At this point I finally got my camera out and stopped taking pictures with my phone 🙂 On the Ferris Wheel

Awesome, awesome views of the city and water.

Kids on the pier…

After the Pier we caught another cab to Michigan Ave., we thought we would walk the mile and head back towards the hotel. Museums were out because they are super pricey for 4. So this was entertaining enough for them.

We looked in the AG store windows, visited the Hershey store, went in the Disney store (they closed ours here) and let the kids buy stuff and just went in a couple other stores before heading back to the hotel to play with the kids new toys.

Finally after resting and playing again in the hotel we went out to eat at Weber Grill. Love this restaurant, it’s so good. The kids were tired though because we had a late reservation so to keep them happy we let them play with my iPhone and JT’s iPod Touch. Remember when crayons and paper kept kids busy.

After we ate we were off to bed. So tired and it was almost 10:00 (late for the kids).

She’s a Kindergarten Graduate

Oh how bittersweet to watch your baby girl walk down the aisle in a cap and gown because next year she is going to first grade. Big girl school. All day school. It brought tears to my eyes.

We treated her to special things all day long. She got a manicure and a pedicure, first ever, from her GeGe and I curled her hair. Her dress was specially made by her GeGe and she was so excited to wear her dress. She was all set as we headed to the school.

They paraded in one by one and stood together on the steps, what a sight to see. So sweet. Some of them will be moving on to different schools next year and we will miss them. After a prayer and a few songs they lined up and approached the microphone one at a time so they could tell us their names and what they wanted to be when they grow up.

L was the best. I’m not just saying that because I’m biased but she may have some stage qualities. She walked right up to that microphone and owned it. My name is L…….. T……. and when I grow up I want to be…. (insert small pause) an Animal Trainer. She shook her teachers hand and received her diploma. It was all over in a flash. I stood there with tears in my eyes so proud of her. When everyone was finished they gathered again in front where they sang the sweetest song, EVER. It was called First Grade, First Grade. That song made me lose it…. here are the words. It’s sung to New York New York tune.

Start spreading the news
We’re leaving today
We want to be a part of it
First Grade, First Grade

We’ve worked very hard
We’re ready to go
We’re gonna be a part of it
First Grade, First Grade

We know our ABC’s and our 1,2,3’s so well
We’ve worked at sounding out words and stories to tell

Just asked us to rhyme
We’ll say tens and pens
We’ve learned to share and get along with all our friends

So now we made it there
We’ll make it anywhere
We’re on our way
First Grade, First Grade

I’m the mom of a First grader. Time flew by. Anyway after the song was finished they were back up the aisle to take off the gowns and hats and we had a reception in the gym. We didn’t stay too long because we had cake and beer waiting at home to celebrate. It was one of those sweet moments that you never forget. Now onto the pictures….

Getting her manicure and pedicure

J waiting for his big sister

Awww here she comes… my big girl

Check out that smile.

The whole class

Giving her speech. Love that the microphone is in the middle of her face 😦

Diploma time

Walking away a first grader

One last picture of her class, I’m gonna miss some of these guys

With her flowers, tassle and diploma

At the reception with Uncle T-Bone and Cousin Steph

With Unca Na and Aunt Carrie

With GeGe and J

Our family

and finally her awesome teachers. We’re going to miss them too.


April is a month of birthdays in this family. Not only do I have two aunts, a cousin, a cousin’s son and two friends but we also have L’s birthday and my birthday. So because I still try to use this blog to document our lives I will finally blog about my daughter’s birthday. I would blog about mine too but #1 there are no pictures because I didn’t do anything exciting on my birthday and #2 who cares!! I’m another year older… SO!!!

FYI – Even though I call myself a photographer these photos will not showcase those skills. I’m not in an editing mood. I’m in a documenting for posterity sake, mood. 🙂

Picture heavy post!!!!!

On Sunday, April 11th we had a party at the Painted Zebra for L and her cousins/friends. I made rainbow cupcakes and L picked out her Princess Tiana plates and other party accessories. It was really nice and low key. They painted little heart boxes and tooth fairy boxes. I think they had a lot of fun.

making cupcakes

the painted zebra party

Then that night we hung out with Uncle Na, Aunt Carrie (we can officially call her that now, more on that later) and GeGe. We had a small party in the backyard. Oh and sparkler candles… SUCK!!! Just an FYI 🙂

Her birthday was on a Monday so that meant we still had to do the school thing but she was able to bring something for snack that day. Plus JT and I were able to decorate her room and get everything perfect for when she came home. J decided at the last second too that he had to go get L a new hu-loop since she loves to hu-loop. Too cute.

J got a few gifts too, it’s a tradition in our family that the other kid gets a gift or two on the other one’s birthday.

For her birthday dinner she wanted Milk N Shakes (um that’s Steak N Shake to everyone else) so my mom came over and joined us for dinner and brought her presents over.

Whew!!! Lots and lots of pictures. Looking back though we had a great celebration for our baby big girl.

Easter 2010

This year we knew we wanted to do a brunch and we always enjoy Chaumette winery. We had gone three years ago and had Easter brunch there but this year they had some activities for the kids. They had Easter egg hunts broken down by age and also real bunnies you could hold and pet.

We of course did an Easter egg hunt here at the house first. We bought those silly eggs that talk this year from Target, those are a little annoying. Cute but annoying. Anyway on to the pics.

The kids waiting for the egg hunt to start

Posing with their baskets

Mom and the kids at brunch

Orange juice tastes so much better when in a wine glass

We had a cute yet really feisty bunny. It kept trying to get away from Nate

JT, L, J and Carrie on the hunt

In all our Easter finery.

A quick sidenote: it was a beautiful day. Warm and breezy… no worries. Right? Right? Yeah, my mind wasn’t completely wrapped around the fact that we’d be outside for most of the day and there is no shade out there. Do you get where I’m going with this?! My olive skinned husband and daughter were fine but poor J and I were roasty after our day out. Luckily J had on long sleeves because otherwise it would’ve been bad for him.

I love this picture of L and my mom running and having fun.

My handsome guy

and my beautiful little girl

Walking up the hill to see the chapel

Helping Nate and Carrie practice walking down the aisle

JT and kids singing hymns

Nate and Carrie

L and J

and our family

The best Easter. It was so relaxing and besides the sunburn it was a fabulous day.

Carrie B Loves Nate

So many things going on this month but the most important… my brother is getting married. In 7 days!!! We are so excited for them. They are headed to Jamaica. Negril to be exact. They are staying/getting married at Sunset At The Palms in these incredible tree-house bungalows.

Well that’s an awful lot to celebrate and since they are running off to Jamaica on their own we decided to shower them. My mother, cousin and I hosted a shower on March 27th. We had a lot of fun.

L loves her Aunt Carrie so I didn’t have the heart not to include her in the festivities.

Nate showed up later to help Carrie open their presents. My family went with the asian theme. It was easy for us 🙂

L also loves her Uncle Na too

The cake, drinks and favors (tiny flower plates with tea lights, flower seeds and flower clips for their hair)

The table scape… our theme was flowers

All the ladies in attendance

Nate and Carrie with their mommas

oh and then there was one with L

A fantastic time!!!

Our Anniversary/Valentines Weekend

It’s always a busy weekend for us. We are never at a loss for plans. Here’s what we did this year for our big weekend.

Friday the 12th

JT took the day off because the kids were off for a teacher conference, so we went out to see my dad and his wife. They wanted to order some Girl Scout cookies from our lil Daisy, L. We had lunch at CiCi’s Pizza and then ran a few errands. We came home and relaxed for a couple hours. Got ready about 4:30, took the kids to my moms (where she was having a birthday party for my grandma), stayed for about a half hour at mom’s, wished my grandmother a happy birthday and headed out to dinner. Ate a yummy dinner with my BFF and her hubby (you can see pictures here) I think I laughed the whole night. Then my brother met us at the restaurant where we sat and had a couple of drinks. It was a GREAT DAY!!!

Saturday the 13th

Our actual anniversary!!! 11 years!! We were kicking ourselves for not planning a vow renewal on Saturday. It isn’t often that Mardi Gras falls on your anniversary again. We were married on Mardi Gras originally. I just don’t tend to think romantically like that, maybe someday. Anyway, we laid around the house most of the day, just enjoying being together. At 5:00 we headed to our friends house and had dinner with them for the second weekend in a row. We’ve really been enjoying their company and they adore our kids as much as L and J adore them. We talked baby stuff and nursery decor since they are expecting their first in June. A little girl. I couldn’t be more thrilled for them.

Sunday the 14th

At 3:00 we had a Valentines Party at my mom’s house. My mom, grandmother and my family sat around enjoying each others company. We talked, drank and ate a yummy appetizer. I helped my mom then cook dinner which consisted of lobster tails, linguine with clam sauce, a salad with cranraisins and chocolate (YUM), broccolini and then chocolate pudding with whipped cream and raspberries. I could have eaten all night. We had fun watching it snow on Valentines Day, with the windows all open so we could enjoy the view.

All in all it was a busy weekend but I loved every second of it. JT and I had talked and agreed that we weren’t going to do the whole card thing or gifts, so imagine my surprise when I received a card for V-Day and for our anniversary… plus a box of candy. Such a sneak!! Poor guy had nothing from me but he said my blog post about our anniversary was a digital card and it meant a lot to him. 🙂