Hanging out with Cousins – Summer Checklist Update #14

The girls and I were able to take a trip to Mimi and Pa’s house for an overnight trip. It was made even better because the girls got to have some great cousin time. We also were able to introduce the cousins to the movie Trolls (which the girls have seen many, many, many times).

The first night, we spent some time at the cousin house before heading to Mimi and Pa’s house. Check out that sunset!


The list thus far:

  • Make lemonade.
  • Eat at Big Bowl.
  • Go to Millennium Park.
  • Go to Adler Planetarium.
  • Get space ice cream.
  • Go to zoo.
  • Go to Shedd Aquarium.
  • Go bowling.
  • Make banana pudding.
  • Go to the splash pads downtown.
  • Play at Maggie Daley playground.
  • Go to Field Museum.
  • Go to Art Institute and do a JourneyMaker tour.
  • Go swimming.
  • Go to the Children’s Museum.
  • Play at playground.
  • Have a pajama day (with daddy.)
  • See a movie at the movie theater.
  • See a movie outside.
  • Go to the library.
  • Go to the Family Festival downtown Chicago.
  • Make cookies.
  • Read books at home.
  • Ride the train at the mall.
  • Go to the beach.
  • Have a picnic.
  • Go to American Girl Place.
  • Draw pictures and cut them out.
  • Play with legos.
  • Make muffins.
  • Make pasta salad.
  • Play with toys.
  • Go to a festival.
  • Try to go to a water park.
  • Go to the Disney store downtown Chicago.
  • Eat at Rainforest Cafe.
  • Eat at Labriola Cafe.
  • Bake an apple pie.
  • Play games on the iPad.
  • Play Mario game with daddy.
  • Go to the Morton Arboretum.
  • Go to Mimi and Pa’s house.
  • Go to Granny and Pa’s house.
  • Go on a hike.
  • Go to the Museum of Science and Industry.

Summer Checklist – Update #8

One of our favorite things to do during the summer is go to the Family Fun Festival in Millennium Park. I highly (!!!!) recommend going. It’s free! And, there’s so much to do. There’s music, crafts, storytime, dancing, and lots of other fun stuff. And, it’s free! When we go, we try to go on Wednesdays because they do a book giveaway on Wednesdays. Check the schedule to find out who is performing during the daily singing and movement performances in the morning and what book they are giving away if you are there on a Wednesdays. On Mondays, different groups lead movement activities like yoga and dancing. We haven’t gone on a Monday so I can’t say for certain but I’m guessing that they are pretty fun. There are also daily afternoon performances but we are usually eating lunch at that time.


Since we have to take the Metra to get downtown during the week, when we go downtown, I try to find ways to keep the girls busy all day until Ryan gets off work. Trying to get the girls, and the diaper bag, and a big bag of snacks, and the stroller onto the train is definitely not a one-person job.

When we are downtown, one of the best things to do is spend some time at the Art Institute. Since we are members, we can easily pop in, check out some art, grab a snack and be on our way. The kids area is nice too but has been under construction. There is a temporary room set up in one of the classrooms. It’s nice but it’ll be great to get back into the real room (which last I saw was scheduled to reopen June 30th – so I’m guessing it’s already reopened).


We’ve been there enough that big girl knows that when we go through the Greek Art hallway, we are on our way to get a snack.

The summer checklist thus far:

  • Go to the library.
  • Go to the pool.
  • Make banana pudding.
  • Ride the train at the mall.
  • Go to the playground.
  • Make cookies.
  • Go downtown.
  • Go on a hike.
  • Have a picnic.
  • Go to American Girl Place.
  • Go to the beach.
  • Go to the zoo.
  • Eat at Flat Top Grill.
  • Read books.
  • Eat at Noodles & Company.
  • Get ice cream.
  • Go to the splash pads downtown.
  • Go to the water park.
  • Go to a festival.
  • Go to the movie theater.
  • Play on the McDonalds playground after lunch.
  • Go to family fun festival downtown.
  • Go to the Art Museum and go to the kids area after looking at paintings.
  • Go to the dinosaur museum (Field Museum).
  • Go to the space museum (Adler Planetarium).
  • Have a pajama day. (Although big girl has now requested that we have 100 pajama days.)

Weekly Photo Challenge – Ephemeral

Treasuring these moments

Treasuring these moments

Big girl is three years old now. I am planning baby girl’s first birthday. Right now, the living room floor is covered in toys and I can hear the girls playing in hallway. The floor is a mess and I really should use this time to put away the toys, or start some laundry, or load the dishwasher, or get some grad school work done….but instead…. I’m going to sit here and listen to the laughter with the knowledge that this time will be gone in the blink of an eye.  They won’t always want to play together. They won’t always want to snuggle on the couch.  They won’t always want to hold my hand. They won’t always want to ride on Daddy’s shoulders. So, for now, the toys will stay on the floor and the laughter in the hallway will continue as long as it can.

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Ephemeral.”

Big Girl And Her Big Girl Bed

Monday morning, we had a very special delivery.  Big girl’s big-girl-mattress and Mommy and Daddy’s new mattress arrived.  So far the transition to big-girl bed has gone a lot smoother than I thought it would.  It actually helps that she hasn’t taken really great naps during the day.  That way, she is much more tired at bed time and less likely to run around her room.  Although….she did spend the first 15 minutes of bedtime on Monday running in her room and then jumping back into bed when I opened the door.


Big Girl’s Big Bed. Well, actually just her mattress. Once she masters the mattress, we’ll bring her twin bed in.

Searching for a home with a toddler

We’ve been seriously home searching for a couple months now.  And in that time we’ve had two very different realtors and have put in offers on three different properties.  I’m not sure how many properties we’ve seen but I’m guessing that it’s close to 25.

I keep reminding myself that our house is out there and it will just take some time to find it.

After searching for this long and seeing as many houses as we have, I’ve developed a list of tips if you, too, are home searching with a toddler in tow.

  • See as many places as you can in a short amount of time.  Try not to go past two hours of house hunting.  Not only do all of the places start to look the same for the adults, but the kiddo is going to quickly be losing patience.
  • Bring snacks.  Lots and lots of snacks.  It’s amazing how quickly a toddler can go from fussy to completely happy if they have a banana and some crackers.
  • Try to schedule around regular nap and eating times.  Although, in all honesty, this is something that we haven’t really kept to very well.
  • Be sure to spend a good amount of time checking out the outdoor space.  Not only are you going to want to check it out if it is a property that you are interested in, but it gives your kiddo a chance to walk/run around before getting back in the car.

Good luck and keep your fingers crossed for us!

Welcome 2013!

2012 was a tough year for so many of my loved ones.  There were many high points but there were also many, many very low points for those that I care deeply about.  But today is the first day of 2013 and I have so much hope for this year.

13 Things That I Am Thankful For in 2013:

  1. My daughter.  Every single day she makes my heart so happy I feel it might burst.  She has grown and changed so much in her first year and I am so excited to see what every new day brings for her.
  2. My husband.  2013 brings our fifth anniversary.  I am so lucky to have such a great partner in crime who makes me laugh every day.
  3. My family without whom I would not be the person that I am today.  And, the person that I am today is a pretty awesome person. 🙂
  4. My friends.  I am honored to call some of the coolest, most talented, warmest, funniest, and big-hearted people on the planet my friends.
  5. My pets.  Without fail, when I’m having a bad day, a kitty will crawl on my lap.  I don’t know how they know, but they always do.
  6. Books.  My mom instilled in me the idea that one can never have too many books.  If you look at baby girl’s library, you can easily see that I have tried to instill that idea in her as well.
  7. My Kindle.  If you would have asked me a couple years ago if I would ever want or use an eReader, I would’ve answered with a resounding “No!”.  I love the feeling of paper pages.  I love the smell of books especially in a used book store.  I love turning the corner of a page to mark my spot.  However, I’ve had my Kindle for a year now and I really do love it.  I can keep piles of books in it and those books come with me wherever I go.  I still own and read piles of paper books but my Kindle has actually made it easy for me to read more often.
  8. My students.  Every single day is a new adventure in my classroom.  Every single day brings new ideas, challenges, and triumphs.  Teaching is not easy but it is exceptionally rewarding.
  9. Weight Watchers.  Now, I’m not trying to sound likes a spokesperson or anything (but if they wanted to pay me to do spokesperson things, I would be ok with that) but this program worked for me.  I’m not done but I’ve already lost 28 pounds and I don’t believe that I would have been able to do this so quickly (since the beginning of the school year) without this program.
  10. Coke Zero.  Seriously.  I don’t know what I would do without it.  I don’t like coffee. I never have.  But, I still need caffeine.  A Coke Zero is delicious.  Mmmmmmmm.
  11. Music.  All types of music.  I love singing along to the radio.  I love dancing along to one of the many musical toys in the living room.  And I love that my daughter has developed a love of music as well.
  12. Chocolate.  Chocolate.  Chocolate.
  13. My city.  I love Chicago.  We are hoping that we will be able to buy a house in 2013 and we know that it won’t be in Chicago.  Living here is not cheap. Buying here is out of the question.  But, Chicago has been very good to me and to my little family and I am grateful for the time that I’ve been able to spend in a city that I love.

Welcome 2013!  I have high hopes for you!