Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Tonight I was going to bed, and as is my ritual, I went in to check on M and L.  I'm not sure why I do this....I'm not sure exactly what I'm checking for...maybe that their airways aren't constricted or haven't been abducted by aliens...either way there isn't really any way I could be of use at that point. 
But what was different about tonight?  As I was standing over Miles I was overcome with this intense feeling.  Then when I walked over to Liam it hit me again.  This is MY life.  These are MY babies.  How did I get so lucky? 

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Things I Love About Summer Mornings
1.  Coffee and breakfast on our back patio.
2.  Birds
3.  They start so early - and you get tons of stuff done by 8 am.
4.  Opening all my doors and windows.
5.  My fish pond in the shade.
6.  Waking up to tiny feet padding across the hallway - even if it is at 5 am.
7.  No need to rush around.
8.  The smell.
9.  Hanging laundry out to dry.
10.  When Liam sleeps and Miles and Dustin go for a walk so I am left all alone for 45 minutes to quietly enjoy it. :)

Monday, July 26, 2010

I am my father's daughter

Okay, my parents will honestly probably find this laughable.  Yes, I did grow up on a farm.  My dad was a farmer for my entire childhood. Did I embrace everything that living on a farm had to offer?  Of course not.  I spent my summer days sitting in our basement dreaming of the big city and wishing for air conditioning.  Did I observe my father's farming practices and my mother's gardening skills like a diligent student so that someday I could feed a small army with my homegrown skills?  No, instead I rolled my eyes at the suggestion of spending sultry summer afternoons in the kitchen freezing sweet corn, and couldn't tell a weed from a vegetable until my twenties.  So you can imagine my surprise when I went out to my vacation-neglected garden and saw this bountiful harvest.

No big deal right?  It's just a bunch of vegetables.  Do you know how long I've been trying to grow a successful garden?  For as long as I've been married.  This is my 7th year.  Those 7 years have included potted gardens, tiny gardens, and even a few completely dead gardens.  This is the first time I've ever had a successful garden. 

How did I celebrate?  With bruschetta for lunch, grilled peppers for dinner, and frozen pesto for all winter long.  If the windfall keeps up I might have to set up a vegetable stand in my front yard.  :)  Maybe I absorbed some of that farming knowledge from afternoons laying out at my family's pool, listening to Nirvana in my basement bedroom, or from my daily dose of Days of Our Lives.  I'd like to believe it's in my blood...that I can pull out my farm girl know-how when it counts. 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

You've been missed.

Dear blogger and blogging friends.  Why hello you.  I've missed you.  I know I've been AWOL for some time now, but know that it has nothing to do with any ill-will.  In fact, I was on a fabulous vacation that involved a multi-day road trip with my two little ones (one of which apparently HATES road trips), delicious dinners, and spotty internet connections at best.  When I returned this afternoon after mornings spent on the beach, afternoons at the pool, evenings laughing with family, and two days in the car I was greeted by 50+ sweet blog entries to read and a yard full of infectious crab grass.  Can you guess which of the two I was happier to see?

Dear Super Road Tripping Two-Year-Old.  I'm so proud of your great attitude and ease of traveling.  Your terrible parents had the nerve to forget your very best friends, "Bear" and "Monkey" in their rush to leave the house.  As we drove through Indiana, Kentucky, and Virginia, Bear and Monkey were left behind clutching each other in a big hug on the floor of our dining room.  Yet you didn't skip a beat.  Instead you improvised with a traveling head pillow with a lion head.  I didn't even have to break out your beloved "Cars" movie until the third day of our traveling.  If only your brother could be so entranced by such simple pleasures.  All I had to do is pack some little cars and car books from the dollar store, and feed you promises of days filled with Grandpa and CeCe and you were happy as a clam.  And the best part?  The best part was the glorious reunion of the three amigos today when we pulled into the driveway and walked in the door and how you wouldn't let them leave your side for even the briefest moment....not during lunch, not during your bath, and DEFINITELY not during bedtime stories.

Dear Mr. Smiley Pants (a.k.a. Road Trip Hater).  I'm on to you little boy.  You, with your cough-cry in the back seat as we hit heavy traffic in North Carolina, with your refusal to sleep through West Virginia.  I know exactly what you're pulling.  The minute I pull you out of your car seat you start smiling and don't stop until you hear the dreaded snap of a buckle that inevitably locks you into carseat jail.  It wouldn't be such a big deal, except that you are so stinkin' smiley every other minute of the day.  Your so busy smiling that sometimes you can't find time to eat or play.  You're just too busy smiling.  Unless we're making a cross-country trek through the mountains.  Apparently there is NOTHING to smile about in the mountains.... until we stop at the Dairy Queen in the middle of the mountains where I try unsuccessfully to nurse you because you are so busy smiling at the woman in the car next to us in the parking lot, or every other patron at the DQ that has been subjected to your electric charm and toothy grin. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - More from the 6 mo/2 yr photo shoot.

A.K.A. Easily the the most challenging photo shoot I've ever had to do.  Who are their parents anyway?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Movie Monday: And so it begins..

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


What sunscreen Mommy?  I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about or why you are so upset.  I was just sitting in here quietly twiddling my thumbs. Is there something on my face? (and the towels, and the carpet, and my clothes?)

Top Ten Tuesday

Ten Things I Miss About Northwest Ohio (a.k.a. "home")
1. My parents
2. Friends that have known me for many many years
3. Tiny's Dairy Barn
4. Straight roads
5.  Drive in movies
6.  Metroparks
7. Summer nights and listening to the racetrack in the distance.
8.  Thunderstorms
9.  porch swings
10. ponds to swim and dive into

Ten Things I Love About Central Illinois (a.k.a. "home")
1.  My in-laws
2. Friends that I adore
3. Laura Bradley Park and Glen Oak
4. Moss Avenue Sales
5. Farmer's Markets
6. Artist Communities
7. Summer nights and listening to the racetrack in the distance.
8.  Summer of Dustiny with friends
9.  Thunderstorms
10. Eating outside in the Heights

Monday, July 5, 2010

paint me a picture

A few weeks ago one of my blogging friends, Cori, had a portrait of her two-year old son done by this amazing artist.  I instantly fell in love with the portrait AND idea (like so many of her great ideas) and had complete plans to steal it and get a portrait of Miles done.  In the meantime I remembered that one of my dearest friends is actually an amazing artist that illustrates children's books.  We actually graduated from college together and did our senior art shows together, so it would only be fitting that one of Miles' honorary "aunties" would create a portrait of him.  I didn't really give her much direction, I just told her what "things" I wanted to capture about his life right now.  I wanted a portrait that sort of engulfed who he is at this juncture of his life..... the simplicity of being two.

All I can say is that she did an AMAZING job.  All I did was send a few photographs of things, and Miles and she did an awesome job putting them together in a cartoon illustration of my little boy.  I couldn't be happier.
I love that she captured all of Miles' favorite cars and trucks (notice the minivan with only one tire and no doors).  If you get a chance you MUST check out her work at www.heidibg.com.
After she did Miles' portrait she also did one of her own son, J and is currently working on one for our other friend.

Thanks HIFI for an AWESOME keepsake.  And thanks Cori for the AWESOME idea.  I've got big plans for it. :)

**(could I possibly use the word "awesome" more?)**

Friday, July 2, 2010


Yesterday my youngest brother lost one of his best friends in a terrible motorcycle accident.  This boy was his travel companion while he was in New Zealand, and his current roommate.  On the same day my brother also found out that he got an awesome job that is perfect for his recently accrued major.  As he packs up his friend's belongings to send back to his parents in Iowa I can't help but feel incredibly sad for him.  I know that I have no right to cry for someone I never knew, but is it okay to cry for my baby brother - who is still alive, healthy, and having to go through such loss in an intense and stressful time of his life?  Is it selfish of me to feel sadness for him, when I still have him alive and well?  I can't decide.  Until someone tells me otherwise I will sit here and shed tears for the brother I love and the friend he will miss.

Project: Fall in Love With Peoria - End of June report

Oh boy, I have a lot to report on.  The W-F's have been very busy being wooed by our beloved city, and I don't at all mean that in a sarcastic way. :)

Chiefs Game - our local Triple A baseball team is a big deal here in P-town.  At least to some people.  We love it because every once in awhile we get to catch a glimpse of an injured Cubs player that is recovering on the Peoria Chiefs.  This year for Dustin's 30th I threw a surprise birthday party for him at one of their games.  We did it up right, complete with a luxury suite for all of Dustin's (our) friends, a birthday cake, and even running the bases after the game.  The best part was that he was actually surprised.

Girl's Day Out - I had a very exciting day out with some of my good friends that allowed us to really explore some great things about Peoria.  Farmers Markets: On Saturday mornings in the summer P is bustling with two very different, and very impressive farmers markets.  The first, in the Metro Center is packed full of veggies, herbs, homemade pasta, and plants.  Although this FM happens everyday during the week, Saturday is definitely its busiest time.  The FM downtown only happens on Saturdays and specializes in handmade art/craft items, as well as local organic produce.  Both were very busy. 
After both farmers markets I took the boys and stopped at my favorite place to find goods for making jewelry.  Illinois Antique Center is located right across the street from the downtown farmer's market and was having a vendor sale where I scored these awesome finds for a future headband project I have planned. 
Plus, one of the owners (who we know and Miles adores) gave Miles an old truck magazine to look at while we walked around. jack.pot.  Later that day, post naps, we went childless and husbandless to 309 - a new restaurant in Junction City.  It was delicious and the conversation was fantastic.  A great way to end a great day.

Great friends visit - What do you show your good friends who reside in Portland, OR, possibly the coolest city in world when they come to visit? (Especially when they come on a Sunday and Monday - Peoria's too most boring nights?) 

We started out with the Heights.  Being self-proclaimed coffee snobs (I think that people from that area pride themselves in having distinguished tastes in....well, everything) we took them to our local coffee roaster and shop.  Leaves and Beans has long been a favorite of ours and our friends loved it too.  From there we went on a walk down Grand View Drive (overlooking the river and mansions of P) and then checked out the boutique shops of the Heights. 
We finished up with lunch at Cyd's, which I'm ashamed to say I've never eaten at before.  But trust me....I will be back.  Our friends LOVED the place, and like I said before - they are connoisseurs of everything. :)  On Monday night we did a pub tour of Dustin's favorite local places that were actually open on Monday night, including Mushrush, Kellehers, and Tavern on Prospect.  It was a great way to wrap up their visit, and we loved getting to see them.  It's been too long.

Peoria Zoo - We actually go to the Peoria Zoo all of the time because we are members and it is a great way to spend a morning since it is small enough to do in about an hour - or two if you actually LOOK at the animals.  While we were there we witnessed a terrible tragedy that actually ended with one of the beloved giraffes passing away.  I won't go into detail, but you can read more about it here.  I was haunted by it the entire day (even though I didn't know he had actually ended up dying), but I don't think Miles even really noticed it - which is a good thing.  Let's just say that it was a good thing my animal-loving husband wasn't there to witness it.  Obviously this event didn't make me fall in love with Peoria, but our trips to the zoo always do.  We have an awesome Africa exhibit and I just know that in the coming years it will continue to get bigger and cooler.

Alright...if you're not from Peoria, I'm sure this post was incredibly boring...but if you are, hopefully it gave you some great ideas of things to try out on your own with your family.  We <3 Peoria.