Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday Field Trip: Xtreme Trampoline

The kids and I spend most of our summer days outside. Chicago winters are so terrible that we try not to waste too much time inside. But of course there are exceptions---rainy days, sweltering hot days or just days where you need a change of pace.

Today was one of those days. We spent the last four days outside at Girl Scout camp, so we were ready for something a little different. We headed to Xtreme Trampolines in Buffalo Grove. In February Julie won six tickets to Xtreme Trampoline at a Daddy/Daughter Valentine's dance.

We wanted to make sure we used these special tickets before we moved. (Price is $12 per hour per person.) Julie and Johnny took along four good friends and they jumped the morning away at Xtreme Trampoline.

There are six huge areas covered with trampolines---plenty of space to run, jump, flip and be silly (especially since we basically had the place to ourselves this morning.) The highlights were the foam pit and the dodgeball courts. Who wouldn't love jumping on trampolines while nailing your friends with dodge balls.

Pretty much awesome.


Friday, June 20, 2014

And then there were three...

That's how we announced our third pregnancy.

Yup. Number three is due Dec. 29.
Kind of scary and crazy considering we are moving to Atlanta in a few weeks.

Needless to say, we were a little..ahem..."surprised" at our pregnancy news. Considering the timing, it took a few days to feel the joy without feeling completely overwhelmed.

But, before too long, we had picked out names and were making bets on whether we'd have a boy or a girl.

Sure. Life has a way of throwing curve balls, but this little one is meant to be. I just know it. Though Scott might disagree, I never felt completely "done" after Johnny was born.

Johnny was such a snuggly, happy baby that I clearly remember feeling so sad that I would never have another baby. I thought he was my last, which was probably why I babied him so much. I just couldn't get enough of him.

When he turned 5 in April, I was miserable. There was no denying his big boy status---even if he still pronounces his sister's name as "Juweee."

So, I truly don't think we were done. Though we're a tad older (Scott is 38 and I'm 36), we have more love to give. It will be completely strange to revert to diapers and feedings and naptimes and sleeplessness. But, in a way, I can't wait. And, I just know I'll cherish every single second. This will be our last....For real this time!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Thanks Daddy.

There's a line in a song Taylor Swift sang about her father: "He had my back even when I was wrong."

That gets me every time.

It kind of sums up the relationship with my dad. For Dad it was all about unconditional love. He truly supported my sister and me no matter what. He stuck up for us and he trusted us to a fault.

Right around 6th or 7th grade I was befriended by a neighborhood girl who was had a rough life.  She was constantly finding ways to get into trouble. One afternoon we decided to prank call another girl in the neighborhood. Little did we know her dad was a police officer and he traced the calls back to my house. (Back then, caller ID was not the norm.) Of course the cop contacted my parents. Terrified, I swore I didn't do it. And, I specifically remember Dad believing me. I'm not sure whether I ever told him the truth.

Much worse than getting grounded was suffering my dad's disappointment. I can never remember Dad yelling or raising his voice. (Spanking wasn't even close to a possibility in our house. My parents didn't believe in it.) Soft spoken and gentle, Dad just talked to us when we did something wrong. That's it. Just a simple conversation. But, he never failed to express his disappointment, and it often came with the "look." That was the worst. I'm not kidding. That look kept me out of a lot of trouble. It didn't scare me. It just made me so completely sad. I never wanted to disappoint him.

And, it all goes back to how much I loved him. He loved us so much and made it so clear how proud he was of his daughters that we always wanted to make him happy. Many of the things I did in school and even later in life were to make him proud. It was just the best feeling.

He had a way of making us feel as if we were the most special girls on earth. Of course we eventually realized that wasn't exactly true. But, what a wonderful way to grow up.

Thanks for making me feel so special Dad. All the time.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Our little grad

There's our little guy with his preschool teacher. Hat falling down over his ears--all smiles and completely proud that he just graduated preschool.

Before kids, I kind of thought preschool graduations were completely ridiculous. Why all the pomp and circumstance for a bunch of four and five-year-olds? But, I get it. Graduating from preschool is much more for the parents than the kids. When your kids goes off to kindergarten---it's a pretty big transition--probably one of the bigger milestones of childhood.

If you're a stay-at-home mom like me, it's probably a little more emotional--just because you're used to having your little munchkin around all the time. For five years, Johnny has been my little buddy.
By the time he was born, Julie was already in preschool, so many times it was just my guy and me.

Kindergarten changes all that. Off he'll go next year every single day...spending more time with teachers and friends than his mommy.

 I'll ask him what he did that day. Maybe he'll tell me. Maybe he won't. I'll see papers and crafts and drawings and maybe emails from his teacher talking about the school day.

But, I won't be there.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Here we go...again

My mom was pregnant with me when she and my dad bought their first home in Baltimore. The house was brand new at the time, and I think they thought if it as their starter home. I lived in that same house for 25 years. Except for my for a four-year stint in college housing with roommates, my address was 26 Bantry Court until I got married. (My parents still own that house, though now they rent it out.)

There were times I remember wanting something bigger or fancier than our little townhouse northeast of Baltimore. I wanted a bigger room or a bigger yard or just a house where you couldn't  hear your neighbors' conversations through the walls.

Looking back, however, I realize I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. It was our little house---small, but comforting and full of memories. Our bedrooms were so close together that on Christmas Eve my sister Kelly and I would talk through the vents, wondering what magic awaited us in the morning. We ate all our meals in a tiny kitchen...except when guests were visiting and we moved to the dining room and ate with mom's fancy china. In the evenings we'd gather in the basement, play games and watch Wonder Years or The Cosby Show or Family Ties.

It was a warm house---where I always felt at home.

Never having moved as a kid, I imagined my grownup life with kids would be similar. Little three-bedroom house where we would live until we retired.

I couldn't have been more wrong. In a few weeks, we will be moving for the third time in our 10 years of marriage. From Maryland to Pennsylvania to Illinois, and now to Georgia. This will be Julie's third school in four years. We feel terrible for the kids, but each move has kind of been thrust upon us because of Scott's job.

Though it's exhausting and often upsetting to leave somewhere you've come to call home, we try to think of it as our next adventure. We try to sell it to the kids---"Think of all the new friends you'll meet." "It will be nice and warm there." "Maybe we'll have a swimming pool."

No matter how much we sugarcoat it, we know it's not easy. We're leaving. Again.

What we do know, however, is how important it is to rely on each other---just the four of us. Though our kids won't have memories of one special house or neighborhood, and maybe they won't feel completely rooted to a city or town---I hope they feel that home is so much more than just a house.

Monday, June 2, 2014


I have always sensed the ticking of time. Since I was a little girl, I was acutely aware of an end in sight. I distinctly remember dreading my 10th birthday. I didn't want to be an age with double digits. I didn't want to grow up.

I still don't want to grow up. Yesterday was my birthday. 36.

36 is scary. Life is real. No denying that you're a responsible grownup--or at least you're supposed to be. Four more years until 40 and that's just frightening.

I think this fear of getting older must be genetic somehow. For as long as I can remember, my dad has denied his age. That's kind of hard to do when you have a twin sister, but he tried anyway. He hates getting older and he almost wants to forget his birthdays. In January he turns 70. That's a big one.  A milestone.

I just don't want all the stuff that comes with getting older. I don't care about wrinkles or extra pounds or Menopause. That stuff doesn't matter to me.

 I just hate watching the time pass. I want more of it.  I want my kids to stay little. I want my parents to be able to get down on the floor and play with their grandkids. I want them around forever. I want Scott and I to run races and stay up past midnight drinking wine and talking by the campfire. I want this beautiful life as I know it to freeze or at least slow down.

Of course it all can't last forever. But, sometimes I wonder why can't it?