Sunday, September 30, 2012

Art Prize and A Prize for YOU! {Giveaway!!!}

Today we went to Art Prize in Grand Rapids.  The art on display completely amazed me.  There are so many talented people in this world we live in!!  My kids enjoyed every single exhibit we saw.  I loved that they appreciated the art and no matter what we were looking at, they could recognize the "cool" factor in the exhibit.  Ben minored in fine art in college - so seeing the amusement in his eyes was great for me too.  Myles was big into making sure not to touch the art.  Both kiddos would fold their hands behind their backs as they approached something new.  So cute!  Here are some photo highlights of the day.

Obvious cool factor for Myles on this one!

Bright colors had children flocking to this sculpture that you could go inside and sit in.

Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Steel birds.  I think it was called "In flight".  Don't quote me on it.

 Happy Jillian loving the day.

Visiting a cool sculpture created by a friend's dad.  Awesome!

Yes, that is suspended in between two buildings.

Myles and Jillian join this twosome to help them make musical art.  Other kids soon joined in!

Myles making his own Art Prize creation.

Jillian wearing hers.

Both kids posing while we waited 45 minutes in line to have their faces painted.  The only drag of the day in my opinion...but they were so excited and patient about waiting.

Jillian posing again.  I believe this one is called squirrel.  There were dozens of these poses.  I spared you from having to see all of them that she asked me to photograph.

Myles was following Jillian's posing lead - but this one was cute!!

Finally his turn for face painting.

She asked to have "a princess" painted on her face.  Uhhhh.  Not exactly sure what that would look like.

This is what the painter came up with.  She loved it.

Myles asked for Spiderman.  The painter had no idea what he looked like.  Myles told her red and blue webs.  Here you go!

Complete awe.

Hope you had a great weekend.  If you live in West Michigan (or anywhere drivable) be sure to visit Art Prize!  You have one more week to see the awesome artwork from around the world!



Since we are talking about talent and art - I might as well give you wonderful friends another free giveaway!!  This time, I am featuring Amy from Norah's Nook!  She certainly has creative sewing talent...that I definitely don't have!!

Her adorable shop has all sorts of cute items for the tiny tots in your life.  Some of my personal favorites include...

This adorable onesie that would be perfect for the upcoming holiday season.

How about this cutie little hair bow?

Tis the season for this macho little number.  Myles is a little too big...  I need another baby to fit into this! (hint, hint Benjamin Alan!!)

AND - a paci holder.  We needed this in Disney world a few years back!  Then, maybe we wouldn't have been searching to buy a new one in every single store on Disney property.

All wrapped in an adorable package!

Well, today is a lucky day because Amy wants to give one of my lucky followers their choice of anything in her store.  One lucky reader can choose any item and have it shipped right to your door for free!

All you need to do is comment below on your favorite item from her store!  Easy as that!  Oh - and if you want to like me on Facebook - that would make little old me very happy!  :)

This contest will be open for one week!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Morning Routine.

Do you know any moms that wake up every morning looking lovely, dress each of her children while making pancake animals with fruit and crepes for breakfast?  They arrive 15 minutes early for school and each child has perfectly placed hair and a smile on their face as they say, "I love you, Mom...You are the best ever, " as he or she skips down the hall to their classroom blowing kisses back at their mother.  Yeah, well, she is not me.  Want to hear the reality of this morning?  It was not my best effort ever...  (I wonder if my kids were wishing I went to work today - luckily I redeemed myself!)

We woke up late.  I don't like being late.  I don't like feeling rushed either.  Every night I lay the kids' clothes out, so they can independently get themselves dressed within a certain window of time as we get ready for school.  Well, today they didn't feel like getting dressed.  In fact, Jillian didn't even want to go to school.  She cried over her waffles (frozen waffles) about it.  Maybe "cried" is an understatement.  Is "wailed" too strong?  I don't think so.
So, we are late"ish", (Myles was very informative this evening about "ish."  "Mom, "ish" is when things are not perfect, but they are close enough."  Love it.)  Jillian is wailing, no one is dressed, and I have not even taken a shower.  Awesome.  Did I mention I still needed to pack a lunch?  Yup.  Thus the mad dash crazed-mom began.  Remember my never-ending patience?  It was out the window this morning.

"Get your clothes on!"
"Eat your breakfast!"
"Shoes!  Where are your shoes?"
"Wipe your face, please!!!"
"Why aren't your shoes on yet?  We are late!!"

All of this, in between talking to Jillian about how great school is going to be today - show and tell day!!  At least my sales pitch on school was successful.

I have never been short, impatient, or raised my voice with my kids without feeling guilty.  It happens every single time.  Rightfully so, I suppose.  As soon as we were in the car (within an ample safe window to not receive tardy marks at both schools) it hit me.  The guilt.  I was short.  I was impatient.  They will be away from me today at school and their leaving image of their momma is with unwashed hair,and a tone in my voice that doesn't leave them with that warm and fuzzy feeling at school.  Not ideal.  So...I turn the radio off and apologize.  What do I receive in return from the two cute faces looking at my through my rear view mirror?  Smiles.  Giggles.  "It's okay Momma!!"  Then, they return to talking about school, the day, and what they are looking forward to.  I love them.  Amazingly, they even love me when I am not at my finest.  Unconditional love.  Amazing. Oh - and I still got the kisses and hugs in the hallway at school...deserved or not.  Thank goodness.

Just wait until Wednesday (the next day I will be doing the school route)...I'll be back on my game.


I am so excited to announce the winner to our latest giveaway from Yameyu!  This adorable silver bracelet is now owned by Brooke!!  Please let me know what color bead you would like (red or teal).  Stay tuned for the next giveaway!

Have a happy Friday!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tuesday's Love and I'm Better Off Without List...

Love List...

  • Tonight while I was making dinner, I was awarded a sticker from Jillian for, "being a good dinner-maker."
  • On the way home from school, Myles was having a very in-depth conversation on his cell phone with one of his friends from school.  No, he does not have a cell phone.  He was using his Nana's old disconnected phone.  I remember these phone conversations back when he was two, but let me tell you, they are much more involved as a kindergartner.
  • On school days for Jillian, Myles wants to know how her day was as soon as he walks in the door.  
  • At night when I go and check on Jillian sleeping I give her a little kiss on her soft and squishy little cheek and I tell her I love her.  I love that in her sleep, she will sleepily mutter, "I love you, too."
  • Friday night in Chicago, Myles hauled out a board game for family game night.  He was so excited to learn all about the new game.  After about fifteen minutes he says, "Mom, how about you play for me.  I'm gonna go do something else."  Next thing you know, Ben and I are playing our game for the kids...on our own.  He was over it.  Gotta love my mover and shaker.
  • I love that Ben and I can share our favorite big city with our children.  They love Chicago like we do.

I'm Better Off Without List...

  • Fall and winter laundry.  Seriously.  I'm back to pairing socks after a three month (very enjoyable) hiatus.  And jeans?  They take a lot more laundry real estate than shorts.  I honestly think I'm up two whole loads per week as compared to the summer.  Lovely.
  • Our Paypal password.  We do the whole "reset your password" thing every single time we order something.  Why can't we remember this? (I say WE because it is Ben's Paypal account and he is the password setter, since mine was shut down after a jerk in France stole my account and got me banned from eBay for life.)  I have no idea why these nine digits can not stay in our heads.  It is super annoying, though.  Especially because we talk about HAVING to remember it this time...every time.
  • The kitchen garbage stink that had me gagging upon our return home from a weekend away.  
  • After a full day for the kids in Chicago on Saturday, Ben and I decided to take the family down to our favorite restaurant.  Myles was a trooper and we walked about 15 city blocks (about 1.5 miles) to have the best hand-rolled cavatelli Chicago has to offer.  They were closed for a private event.  Sweet.
P.S. Don't forget to register to win the new giveaway - a cute bracelet!  Click here and enter for your chance to win!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Chicago Family Fun

We took the kids on a quick roadtrip to Chicago this weekend.  Excited doesn't begin to describe how pumped they get about going.  It doesn't matter how many times we go...they love it.

This trip we did something we have never done before...a whole day without a stroller in Chicago.  Thank you CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) for making this possible.  Subway trips, bus rides, a little walking, and we made it a whole day without a wheeled vehicle. (At least one that you push...since a bus does have wheels.)  Astounding.  Here are some pics of the fun.

This picture commemorates one of my finer motherly moments (please note the sarcasm here).  Despite my mom instincts reminding me not to take children into a bar (like any mom should need a reminder of this?!?), we did.  At least it was during lunch.  I peeked my head into our very favorite pub from back in the days when we lived in Chicago.  I asked the bartender if I could bring kids in during lunch.  She paused...and replied, "Sure."  I'm sure she was thinking, "What the heck kind of Mom wants to bring her kids into a pub?!?"  Well, this one I guess.  It was great.  AND - they loved it.

We went to the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum for the first time ever this weekend.  It is walking distance from where we used to live and we never even knew it was there...weird.  Anyway, the kids liked it.  Notice the snake in the tank?  Sick.

I love to see awe in their eyes.

Jillian in the butterfly garden.

She always has a pose for me.

Myles loved this skeleton.  He kept telling us, "It is actually real!!"  

Myles actually asked to have his picture taken in front of this artwork.  That never happens.

For dinner, Myles ordered a "make your own pizza".  They brought out the ingredients and let him assemble the whole thing for them to put into the oven.  Brilliant idea!

Today, we went to the Chicago Children's Museum.  They always enjoy a few hours discovering new things at this museum.  Do you see what Jillian is doing in this picture?  Rather than driving the firetruck, climbing the ladder, pretend spraying the hose, or anything else to do with a firetruck...she chose to clean it.

Waterworks exhibit.  Here, I had an awkward conversation with a man who wanted to purchase the necklace locket watch that Ben gave me for our anniversary.  I declined.

Digging for dinosaur bones.  Please excuse the lighting.  It is a cave you know.

Jillian posing.  Where do little girl learn this?  Seriously.

Hope you had a great weekend.  We sure did.  I had so many favorite parts, I'm sure a few will probably make my Tuesday's Love List this week.  You know what I am so thankful for?  Myles was excited to come home for school tomorrow.  Happy Mom, for sure.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Dancing Jillian AND {Giveaway!!}

I have no words.  Simply...adorable.



Okay...I lied.  That is just not like me, right?  No words?  Yeah, right.

My favorite part of Jillian's first day of dance ever...  She walked in to the room which was filled with older girls and the littles combined.  She squeaked her little bottom right in between two older girls and started copying the stretches they were doing.  So sweet.  It is going to be a fun year.  I promise to try not to be a "dance mom."  We'll see.  That bun, those shoes, the pink...I LOVE it!  So glad she did too.



So...I am super excited to have another fun giveaway for my followers!  

In my jewelry box, I find that I have a few simple, go-to pieces that go with every outfit and are easy to wear everyday.  In fact, sometimes the necklace or bracelet that I wore all day, doesn't make it back into the jewelry box...for a week.  Maybe I'm just too lazy to even take it off?  Or maybe, it's because a simple, classic piece is so versatile...there is no need to take it off!

Well, that's why I was so excited for Yameyu to be featuring the next giveaway.  All of her handmade pieces are simple, feminine, and modern.  What is also awesome about Yameyu?  She was inspired by her mother to begin crafting this gorgeous jewelry.  I'm all about Mom Love!

"Inspired since childhood, I explored my own creativity and found designing jewelry gave me so much pleasure. When I was a child, most weekends were spent visiting fashion galleries and jewelry stores with my mother and aunt. My mother made me custom dresses and accessories that were the envy of my friends! I have always admired my mother’s great sense of style."

Take a look at this adorable silver bracelet!  The winner can choose a red or teal bead with it.

A simple, chic and minimalist bracelet.
A modern curved silver bar on sterling silver chain with a pop of red or green vintage bead.
♥ Sterling silver chain and clasp
♥ Available with coral red or teal green vintage bead, the winner can choose the color!
♥ Length approx. 7 inches long
♥ Silver tone metal bar measures 30mm do you enter?  Follow my blog (Click "Join this Site" in the sidebar) and comment below with your favorite item from her shop!  You can find her shop by clicking on the link in this post, or the Yameyu button in the sidebar.  Easy as that!  If you are already a Follower, you have it easy - and can skip that step!

Good luck, friends!  This contest will close in one week!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Lunch Lady Confessional

It's that time again.  Confession time.

I love working lunch duty for Myles's school lunch.  I am known as "Myles's Mom" to all of the little tykes.  I love to help the kids, meet his classmates, and get inside scoop on his friendships.  Some of the kiddos, during these first few weeks of school, appeared completely bewildered with the lunch process and I am so glad that there are moms there to help each and every one of them.  I take Jillian with me every time I go and I also love watching her blend right in with the kindergarteners.  I pack her a lunch and she just pluncks right down at his class's table and eats it.  Today it was so fun to see Myles actually get up from his friends and go and sit with her.  That was a first.  Adorable.  So - I love it and I will keep doing it.  (Especially since Myles begs me to come on my days off.)  I just want to put that all out there before I get to the nitty gritty truth about lunch with six classes of kindergartners.

They are sticky.  Everything is sticky actually.  There is milk splashing, pasta sauce smearing (all over my skirt), applesauce spilling, and tubes of yogurt popping...everywhere.  Many kiddos will suck on things and then ask you to open them.  Everyone has to go to the bathroom.  Everyone.  All the time.  (Despite the fact that only two girls and two boys can leave with the bathroom pass at any given time.)

How about the little guy last week that had something SO IMPORTANT to tell me.  I got down to his level to hear him better, but it just wasn't close enough.  So, I got even closer.  Really close.  I'm thinking...oh no...the poor little guy probably peed his pants and he doesn't want anyone else to hear.  Nope.  He says, "Last night...I puked all over my bed."  Awesome, kid.  So glad I got right in your face to hear that.  Annddd...why is he at school today?  I think you all already know that I am a germophobe.  Ick.  That doesn't even begin to address the runny noses, snotty sneezes, and bodily fluids that are everywhere.  There is just something different about your own kids boogers, right?  Then, of course, there was the kid who had a used diabetic needle in his lunch box that his mom "must have accidentally packed in my lunch after she used it on my brother."  Again, awesome.

I have always appreciated teachers.  They are wonderful people and they have patience to manage gads of kids with grace and composure.  After working lunch for the last three weeks, that respect has increased ten fold.  I am always just fine leaving after my half-hour duty is over.  Seriously,  I love kids...but I don't know if I could handle everyone else's kid day in and day out.  I'm happy minimizing my exposure to just my own kids full time.


On another - less messy note.....

The WINNER of my very first giveaway is......drum roll please.......

'Sina from Field of Poppies!

Please email me ( with your address for shipping!  The next giveaway will be unveiled soon!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tuesday's Love and I'm Better Off Without Lists...

Love List...
  • Setting out Jillian's clothes for preschool the night before.  She and I love planning out her outfits.  
  • My first giveaway!  I will be announcing the winner tomorrow, so make sure you enter!  Just comment on that post with the item you like the best from her shop!  Oh - and don't forget to follow me!  I have a lot more giveaways lined up.  Hope you enjoy them!
  • Family meetings.  We call them anytime we have something important to discuss.  All family members have their chance to give their opinion on the meeting topic.  Also, any member can call them.  Our latest meeting topic?  What to do in Chicago this weekend!
  • Since it is National Cheeseburger Day...I love Five Guys.  I'm really not a burger fan.  I don't eat much red meat.  BUT - that place is amazing.  Their burgers are the best.  Not to mention, any place that lets me design my own soda flavor is high on my list for a revisit....or two.
  • Doing new and innovative things at work.  I love being a part of a changing world.  
  • Listening to Myles and Jillian plotting out how they could get their new baby cousin, Josephine, to be their baby sister instead.

Seriously, can you see her smiling?  Adorable!

Josephine is not happy in this picture, but I had to show you an unwrapped version of this present!

I'm Better Off Without List...
  • In an effort to show Myles a cool cricket that was chilling on my car yesterday, I got right down close to the cricket and "encouraged" him to jump by blowing on him.  He definitely jumped...right into my eye.  My idea to show Myles something cool ended in two sets of watery eyes.  I scared the crap out of Myles with my scream.  Fail.
  • Two months worth of work crammed into two days.  Turn off the sirens.  I'm over it.