Peter – Six

AS USUAL! This is woefully late, please forgive me. I shot the photos and wrote it four months ago you guys, FOUR. MONTHS. AGO. I tossed all the video clips in a folder and confidently told myself it’d take me an evening at most to figure out the new movie-maker software. Ha. Hahahahahahahaha. So I finally just sat down last night and sweated it out and got the thing somehow cobbled together, finished by 2am. And yeah, as per my usual video mastery, it’s a little wonky with repeated clips and weird cuts. I care not. It’s finished and done before Moose’s birthday hit. GO ME I TOTALLY DESERVE A BEER.

Anyhoo – on with the show.



Everyone tells you that there is That Year where they go from little to Big in a blink. And for Pete, this was that year.

My mop-headed shorty is now not-so-shorty, and suddenly has very passionate opinions. He can side-eye, he questions my judgement sometimes, he tries to soothe me when he knows I’m stressed. He weighs his options and makes wise (or unwise…) choices.  He is calm in most situations, much moreso than I ever was at that age. He gets that even-keel personality from his daddy, thank goodness.


This year he grew gangly limbs. His precious springy curls have softened to a soft wave, darker too, now that his unruly Boy Hair is completely in. He has zippy foot races with his friends and loves to dance hip hop and is way more coordinated than I ever expected him to be at this point.

And while all of that is normal and nice and everything, it also is crazy weird. When, my little child, did you get so darn big?


Anyway, you guys. Enough of that. What’s happened this year? Lots. LOTS. He’s still very sensitive, and because of that we’ve had a rough year. He started Kindergarten, then we quickly switched back to pre-K. His teacher was really worried about his stress levels. After a long meeting with the principal and teachers one afternoon, we picked him up from the AfterCare room and then gently broke the news to him in the car as we left: maybe it would be good to go back to Pre-K. He was his usual Peter self, optimistic, immediately seeing the positive in the move. Sure, he would love to be an Older Kid Helper for his pre-K teacher! It’ll be fun! And he missed Miss Theresa anyway, this is a great idea and he couldn’t wait to tell her he’d be back, oh man she’ll be so excited! And then once things were settled, and Scott and I confidently went back to an adult conversation in the front, distracted by dinner plans and other random crap, I heard him say softly, sadly from the back seat, all to himself:

“But I am not stupid.”

OMG you guys, just: Parenthood. Parenting can be some real shit sometimes.


But! It really was the best option. He grew, he flourished. Hip hop class was something I signed him up for on a whim and it proved to be a saving Grace. He came out of the Kindergarten situation insecure and anxious, and his hip-hop teacher brought out his confidence and a drive in him I have never seen.

He’s so creative, and seems to have a good head for numbers. He can make friends with anyone in an instant, it’s always shocking to me (introvert that I am) how well he can put a stranger at ease. Happy, charming Peter. He also questions lots of things, which is kinda infuriating. But hey, now we can now have real, actual conversations, which is also rather nice.

He loves all things mustard-y, vinegar-y, and sour. We’ve been sneaking a little more heat into our dishes, and if he isn’t told it’s in there he eats it with relish. He adores anything mint, which is funny because neither Scott nor I are particularly fond of mint-flavored things. He was pretty pumped to order his Creme de Menthe birthday cake this year. Halloween is his favorite holiday. Star Wars and Minecraft are his latest obsessions. Jayhawk Crimson and Blue are his favorite colors (because: good boy).


And while he still loves cats, he is fine with leaving Momo in his room all day. Sometimes he loses him, maybe forgotten overnight in the living room or left in his backpack, neglected in a corner of the basement playroom… Those things have happened more than once. He doesn’t really notice. Gets me in the Feels, him outgrowing Momo, but hey: that’s life. And Momo can come live with me when the time comes I am totally cool with that.


Happy birthday, bubs.  Can’t wait to see what the next year brings.

See also: Five. Four. Three. Two. And One.


Apple Pickin’ 2015

Hit the orchard a few weeks ago to stock up on the Redmax (they ripen earlier in the apple season). It was pretty warm that day, so it felt a little weird to be up at the orchard picking apples, but from the looks of things it’s going to be a rather warm fall, so whatever I can roll with it.

We picked and munched and finally filled our bag, then hit the road back home. After stopping at their general store for ice cream, anyway.





Note the pan of tator tots in front of that gal in the photo above (!). That is Baller Level of picnic at the orchard, in my opinion.

Have a great day, friends.


Labor Day 2015 – Chicago

We went to Chicago over Labor Day this year.  Last time we were in the City was a year ago, we really need to make an effort to go more often because there’s lots to do and it’s a quick little trip.

We only had to stop once on the way down this time, and it was a quickie stop at that, so we made it in about 2.5 hours.  Not bad, considering our squirrely kids.


Our first Chicago stop was the Northcenter neighborhood. We popped into Half-Acre, sampled some beer and had a little picnic. Then walked around a little to get a feel for the area – it’s a super cute neighborhood.


I have a confession to make: my baby is a beer-sniffer. He loves to smell it, I know that sounds weird but he is really into it and gets pretty pissed off if we don’t comply. And he takes deep, loud whiffs, you guys. We always let him get a good smell when we have a fresh pour, and yeah – we watch him carefully when we have a beer around. Because he’s a sneaky, curious little thing.


Then we headed to the Museum of Science and Industry, which is always a hit. Moose loves Mighty Machines, so to say he was in heaven would be an understatement. We split up after an hour, and each took a kid. Scottie and Moose checked out all the vehicles and spent a good chunk of time in the Boeing 727.

Oh and they each got a Mold O Rama. I have another confession to make: I love to sniff freshly-made Mold O Ramas. So I was a nice mama and I held (and took deep whiffs) of their freshly molded thingies.



Pete and I explored the physical sciences for the longest time, and he got to see a working Tesla Coil (they fire it off every half hour), which was the part he was most looking forward to. To be honest he was scared before it went off, knowing it would be loud, but I coaxed him into watching. Definitely worth it.


After that we made our way to the Loop, checked into our hotel (Moose was obsessed with the shower), and hunted down some grub. A Sunday night in the West Loop over a holiday weekend = everything was closed. Errrrrrrr-thang, even most of the fast food. Our options were Giordano’s, or a few random fast-food joints. We decided not to tourist-it-up with the rest of our fellow tourists (also: did not want to wait 1-2 hours for pizza) and instead wandered until we found the next open ‘restaurant’ – Red Robin. No shame. It tasted GOOOOOD.




We got the kids ready for bed, and SHOCKER they were too excited to sleep, so Scottie and I hid in the bathroom at 10p and toasted his birthday with cheap Trader Joes Prosecco. That’s how you Adult, my friends.


The next morning we got up and strategized our day over breakfast. We had a set rate for 24 hours in our parking garage, so we decided to check out of the hotel, toss our stuff in the car, and head down to Millenium Park. Take advantage of our full 24 hours, you know? Except out of habit, neither of us batted an eye when we paid for our spot before throwing our luggage in the car… Ooops. You have 15 minutes to exit the garage after paying, so we decided to split up. Considering we now had to pay for more parking, we decided Scott would take the car to find a new parking garage closer to the museum campus, and I’d walk the boys down to Millenium Park on my own, then we’d meet up there.

I only walked in the wrong direction once and righted myself pretty quickly (I walked out of that garage thinking I was going east, but nope: north. Whoops), so I was proud of myself. I pretty much suck at directions but Chicago is easy to maneuver, that helped to save me. Also with the re-route we went right past The Picasso, which is my favoritest of the downtown sculptures. Total Win.




We hung out at the Bean and played there while we waited for Scott. Finally he found us (took awhile, that should have given me an idea of what we were soon in for…). We played a little longer, then began our trek to The Field. Uhhhh – it’s about 2 miles to the Field from where we were. I don’t know why that didn’t occur to me earlier. It was the longest, most miserable walk I have ever taken. Hot humid weather, without a cloud in the sky, + slow tired kids + little shade + I was wearing cheap sandals. Ouchie. I took a spin class on Tuesday night, and I thought the bottoms of my feet were going to straight-up slough off about 5 minutes into the class. They are not looking so pretty right now.



OMG I can’t believe no one died (or killed each other) on that walk. So usually I am a total miser and refuse to buy the over-priced crappy cafeteria food at museums, but dude we needed something to change the mood. So the first thing we did after getting tickets was to get some grub and drinks. Sitting in the cool AC while we refueled, chatting about what areas to hit up first, that was an immense help.


Pete was so excited, because he thought we were at the museum from Night At The Museum. Heh. We checked out the Main Hall, then set out to find the Tsavo Man Eaters. I talked these lions up and Pete was dying to see them in person. At my previous job I worked with Bruce Patterson, he is a scientist at the Field and studies the Tsavo lions, so I told Pete everything I learned from Bruce (if you don’t know much about them check this out, they are fascinating). And dudes, they even had this portion where all the lights dimmed out and a video played on the wall and there was Bruce, explaining his research. Like some sort of weird floating hologram.


I really love this museum. We wandered all over, the boys got some glow-in-the-dark dinosaurs from the Sue Store that they still carry everywhere (score, most toys fall out of favor quickly), and we took our time walking back to the car. It was a much shorter walk to the new parking garage, and it was overcast. Much. Better.





No trip to Chicago is complete until we stop at Scott’s favorite brewery, so we went off to Logan Square to Revolution for a late lunch. Pete and I split a pork-belly-with-over-easy-egg sandwich. Holy crap that thing was good.


We hit up IKEA on the drive home, because one can never have enough cheap Swedish junk. Also we had to get more stuffed veggies for Moose, because I am pretty sure they are discontinuing the Torva line soon. He now owns 3 carrots and 2 broccoli. You can never have enough stuffed veggies.

That’s it, kiddos. I still have lots of catching up for other things, so will post again soon. Enjoy your short week and GOD BLESS THE COOL FALL WEATHER.


Chicago, The Outtakes

We went to Chicago this past weekend.  I am pulling together a post and I have to say, this was a banner trip, and that is basically because I have a whole lotta outtakes.  Most trips we pull it together pretty well, but like anyone else we all have our… moments… while traveling.  This trip was extra-special, because (1) Pete is six and therefore has developed his own ideas for what is a personal hell, and (2) Linus has hit the Screaming Dictator of Toddlerdom stage.  So anyway, while going through my files I noticed a distinct pattern, and thought I would share.  A ‘normal’ post to come later.

Reasons my boys are angry, the Chicago Edition:

This is the 28th (approx.) colorful wall his mom forced him to stop in front of to take “just a few quick” pictures.


We wouldn’t get him a beer, no matter how many coasters he had.


He whined about wanting to go to the People Face fountain, so we went out of our way to back-track to take him, but then he was mad we didn’t pack his favorite swim trunks, so forget he even mentioned it, GAWD.


I took a picture of him relaxing with dad.


We made him walk to the museum instead of getting a cab.


(In his defense, it was a damned long walk and it was hot Hot HOTTTTTT, LAWDY SO HOT.  Still. He could have been a smidge less dramatic about it.)


We made it to the museum, but it turns out we had to take a different entrance.


Pete went to use the bathroom without him. He threw himself upon the floor, crying loudly, then stopped and toddled over to his crib.  Took out his stuffed carrot, dragged it to his perch outside the bathroom door, then proceeded to continue crying loudly while prone upon the (carrot on the) floor.


At one point they both cried because I took away their new toy dinosaurs at the Field Museum (because they immediately had loud, obnoxious dinosaur fights when I handed them over, because GAWD NEVER HAVE KIDS).  Unfortunately I was too tired at that point to take any photos.  Here is an approximation.

We ordered him his favorite food, French fries. (He threw them.)


Actually: Pete isn’t actually mad in this last photo, instead I had randomly asked him to give me his best Angry Face, because I was curious.  Or bored.  Anyway, he really owned it.

(He has had lots of practice, trust; we made him walk in the heat a LOT.)


That’s pretty much the best of the sourpuss faces, although believe me I could share all night if I didn’t have several other things to do instead.  Off to prep for tomorrow and take a shower; I’ll share more soon.



Yum Yum Fest 2015


Posting before I forget entirely about this little thing.

Months ago, I purchased tickets to Yum Yum Fest. What is Yum Yum Fest, you ask? Well! – Yum Yum Fest is an annual ‘festival’ organized by the Madison Area Chefs Network, to benefit food-related programming for children. The festival features dishes and drinks from ~20-ish of our favorite restaurants/chefs in the Madison Area, at a mere $5 per tasting dish/drink. And there are musical acts throughout the evening to keep you as entertained as the food.

How could we not attend, really? I missed out on tickets last year and was really bummed about it, so we were sure to purchase early this year. Soon enough the weekend was upon us, so we headed out for Central Park…



We got 10 tickets for food, and used 2 on a beer each for Scott and me (hello, do you know us…).  That left 8 for food…  We stuffed ourselves with… (drumroll please…)

(L to R, top): Korean BBQ bowl, Duck-confit-and-roasted-corn risotto (with popcorn shoots), and a plum ice cream push-up.

(L to R, middle): handmade sausage and peppers on masa cake, The glorious Heritage Tavern pig head (didn’t actually eat that…), and salmon on bed of potatoes, with eggplant mayo and a fresh tomato caviar.

(L to R, bottom): Bacon S’mores, Tuna on wonton with crema and veggies, and roasted pork carnitas.


So yeah, basically we all ate our way through it.  Then we ran around and danced and eventually made our way back home.


Impromptu photo shoot on the way out.


So long, Yum Yum Fest.  Until next year…


Week stuff 8-30


Tired. Not sure why, not the most grueling of weekends, but then again: 3 workouts, 2 spin classes, and 1 sleep-deprived toddler. Plus lots of house cleaning, closets organized, floors cleaned countless times (gawd, toddlers are messy things), and I randomly re-potted several plants. A year ago, I was known for my plant-killing ways. These days I can’t keep up, they are outgrowing pots. Random.

Oh, and made Danish pancakes.

(Okay fine, they were frozen and from TJs. Still baked them myself.)


Toddlers are maniacs. He’s lucky he’s also terribly funny and has weird hair, otherwise he’d be out on the curb with a For Sale sign.


Pete’s cameo, he shows up from time to time.

Oh, and Sunday I went out to the Cave with superstar Marta, to sneak in and scout wedding spots. It was fun. I can’t wait for that wedding, folks.


PEACE – another expiration-closing face mask needs to be applied and then I need to sneak in some sleep. Talk again soon.


Weekend Ramblings 8-23-2015



I am writing this with a fancy face mask on my face (because it expires in a week, and also coincidentally because wearing a face mask keeps me from stuffing my face with these cookies) and a good movie on in the background, so will be quick. And also the fact that this is about a week late means I should also be short but succinct.


The week!  Well there was not a whole ton to report, but I do have to brag that I actually crawled out of my introverted hole a few times to interact with other human beings in a normal fashion.  First up was Marta’s bachelorette party.  I arrived at Hilldale a little earlier than planned, so spent my time (and money) cruising Anthropologie before meeting up with the gals at Pasquals.  Then off we all went at the appointed time to Lush, where we feted Marta with champagne and cupcakes and were all kinds of pampered.   Facials, massages, product demos, made our own bath bombs, and also private shopping.  PRIVATE SHOPPING, I AM IN HEAVEN.  I didn’t bring my camera because I felt a little self-conscious doing that, so you’re going to see some crappy phone pictures.  Sorry not sorry.

These are some of my friends wearing assorted face masks, scrubs, toners, and whatnot. I am sharing because I am a bad friend.  There are no pictures of me in my oatmeal-cookie-smelling face mask, thankfully (probably because they were nice enough to realize no one wants to see that).

We were all given a monetary credit and let loose to shop at the end. I pretty much bought all the things, as one does in Lush anyway. I got all the Fun soap colors for the boys (Pete LOOOOOOVES them), bath bombs, and that cookie-dough face mask. Which I am currently wearing. I want cookies.




This weekend we actually cooked a meal, which is worth noting given it’s end of summer and the garden/CSA bounty is good and what the hell, lets just snarf it all down in salads, raw with a bit of salt, or in a quick saute as a side dish. Sandwiches for all! Except for our favorite roasted summer-tomato pasta, that stuff is the shizz, and I have no issues heating up my kitchen to make it all the time.


Linus and I also made cookies, partially because I felt like baking and partially just to keep Baby Dennis the Menace busy so he doesn’t flush more items down the toilet or dump random things from the pantry all over the carpet.

PS – our vacuum died, like right after vacuuming up a full box of cereal he squashed into the carpet. Toddlers are so fun, you guys.


On Sunday we headed to Yum-Yum Fest, which was all kinds of awesome and deserves a post all on its own, so that will come later in the week. For now enjoy just a few outtakes from that.



Peace out – off to wash my face.



Second verse, same as the first.  Cooler weather on the way riiiiiight nooooow so next weekend’s festivities should be much nicer!  Not to mention: I got the nasty cold, then Scott got the nasty cold, we are both still coughing our guts out HOWEVER – while we down for the count the last few weekends, we should be ready to roll and enjoy summer again come this next weekend.  THANK THE LAWD.

Anyhoo. Thanks to crappy chest colds and the heat, we spent a good chunk of time inside.  The boys tore the house apart, had more than a few dance parties, and did a lot of healthy bed-jumping to supplement their exercise.







By Sunday Scott felt a weeeee bit less like death warmed over (I could have told him that it would be a short reprieve before the ugly virus raised its head again, but I didn’t want to kill his spirit so just rolled with it).  So we hit up the Monroe St. Farmers Market, which is (blissfully) on a Sunday and therefore helpful if you miss the DCFM (or our other haunt, the Hillside Market). We got tomatoes and cukes, some kettle corn, and the nice folks at Ernies fawned over the kiddos and then gave the boys cups-ful of rainbow corn as well.  Because: spoiled.  Linus enjoyed watching all the airplanes overhead between bites.



He actually spilled the remainder of his cup on the ground, he was so busy freaking out over airplanes.  Whoops.  Thankfully planes trumped snacks and he was okay with it (whew).

We got home and cleaned and stuff, all the usual weekend stuff, then went outside to tend the plants and ended up spending the rest of the late afternoon goofing around out there.





That’s all, dudes.  Catching up on all sorts of stuff, so more goodies to come soon…


Dog Days.

It’s hot.  It’s humid.  We have lost all desire to cook dinner in our kitchen, instead living off grilled things and BLTs and chopped veggies. We flip-flop between hiding inside in the cool AC watching TV and working with Perler bead crafts, and just accepting it’s gonna be gross and hot outside and just embracing this dastardly weather.

Hello, August, nice to see you.

Daycare was closed unexpectedly this week, which wasn’t the biggest issue because I still felt like death warmed over thanks to that nasty cold/flu thing (which is still clinging deep in my chest…).  Home with both boys, lots of trips on bikes exploring our neighborhood, playing at the park, walking the wetlands and the conservatory. And ice cream.  And water fights.




Funny story: at the park a bunch of kids Moose’s age were kinda hanging out together with their moms, and since this is a wee little park by our house I thought I’d be friendly and head over there with my own toddler, but when I turned to coax him over I found him talking lovingly to the park bench, occasionally leaning over to moon at it and kiss it.  Soooo, nevermind actually.

8-13-002 8-13-003 8-13-004 8-13-005

One of those days we hit up the local nursery – I have quite the collection of houseplants these days, and one that I bought when a wee plant – my lovely split-leaf philodendron, which was growing nice and big – had some kind of bug problem. None of my other plants seemed affected, but whatever gross bug it was, it was really enjoying my poor philo. So we hit up the local nursery with pictures, they found us a spray to apply and also I couldn’t just go to the nursery and not come home with a few new babies…. So I have a (wee, tiny) staghorn-or-birds-nest fern (time will tell on that…) and another (wee, tiny) snake plant, and Scott just groaned because we have pretty much run out of counter/ledge/window space for all these plant children of mine. Whatever, deal dude.


Yeah, our Perler-bead addiction is getting out of hand, too. Stocked up on more beads this weekend.

Also we had some epic water fights in the yard. This is how you deal with heat and humidity on the cheap – fill some tubs with water and toss a bunch of random toys/cups/spray bottles out there. Try to aim towards the gardens while you’re at it, boys. BOOM.




That’s it for today – will upload more another day.  Stay cool (as in not sweltering), my friends.


Sunflowers and The Plague

Hellllooooo! I have a nasty chest cold but wanted to get a post up. Even though I am kinda delirious right now and would like nothing more than to pass out. For the third time today. (No shame.)

ANYWAY. Here are some pictures from the Pope Conservatory Sunflower Field! I was told to come here. Kansas people love sunflowers, duh. But for real, it was gorgeous and I’m glad we went, even though it was packed and Linus threw the biggest temper tantrum known to man (and he’s not even TWO, we are SCREWED, guys, everyone and I mean EVERYONE stared as we dragged his screaming snot-covered self back to the car. Nyquil me.)



So sometime around Friday, right around the time I got Linus down for bed, I felt the Plague upon me.  Fever chills, muscle aches, all the sads when I hear that Rachel Platten song, the works people.  I’ve gone through 2 boxes of Kleenex and a roll of toilet paper, plus it has migrated to my chest.  WEEEEEE.  The kids and I hung out and I was able to get off a few pictures, so there’s that at least.  Linus loves his $1 blue foam crown from Joann Fabrics.  I am not sure why but whatever, own it baby.  Also Pete is about 2 seconds from losing his 3rd tooth. Those things fall out crazy fast once they start, man.


We got our CSA and pretty much 60% of it was different from what they said in the email, so I’m kinda scrambling. At least there are not 3 kinds of cabbage as originally promised. So anyway, even through my fever dreams (and while the kids destroyed the living room and playroom) I have been able to make strawberry oatmeal bars, orzo roasted-veggie salad, and I cut up the melons for the kids. Which they devoured in less than 4 hours.

Also if Pete is good he gets Scott’s old phone in the evenings as his Screen Time, and it’s kinda creepy how much they resemble each other…

Oh and I finally made a big print from a vacation (from Cannon Beach, where we were exactly a year ago weirdly enough) and got it on the wall. Finally art is going up in this hizzz-ouse, woo hoo.


Yeah that’s all I got, peeps. Have a good weekend.  I’ve got another shot of cold meds and will chug a giant glass of water, then I’m outtie.  Have a good week.