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Thanksgiving Ketchup

Ok there was no Ketchup at thanksgiving I don’t think tomatoes even made an appearance but sugar sure did!  This year we held turkey day at our home.  It was actually super amazing.  Somehow, years ago, I got super lucky and snagged my grandma’s china and silverware so it’s always fun to pull those out and remember her although I don’t ever remember actually using her china… lol 🙂  I also found a super beautiful WHITE table cloth that was hers – so something I was really thankful for was all memories that washed through my soul about my wonderful grandma as I prepped for this year’s meal.

Before I give you the light fun stuff and adorbs pictures of the boys I’d like to give you a brief intro into how special my grandma was to me. Very recently a very good life long friend of mine had her grandmother pass away.  It stirred up ALL THE FEELS.  My soul ached for her and her family (and still does, Jasmine we love you guys!).  Seeing how I have a blog and all – I like to write (no grammar police I’m more of the rambling typing type), I often express myself and I’m surely a talker.  Through my 30 years on this planet I’ve never had a hard time expressing my feelings until the day my grandmother died.  Even the following days, weeks and actual years that have now passed I still cannot comprehend or express how much I miss her.  The only thing that has grown stronger is  how thankful I am that I was able to spend so much time with her.  To say she meant so much to me is an incredible understatement.  She was a wonderful woman.  I have so many fond fond wonderful memories with her.  My son Evan still remembers “gma” and knows she’s in Heaven but I have a constant pit in my stomach knowing Michael never met her.  Someday I’ll gather the courage to write a post thanking her for so many life lessons and recounting some of our most memorable moments but for now I’ll just make mention of her here because I feel like she was really with me on Thanksgiving. ❤

Now onto the light and love that was Thanksgiving 2017.  Last minute rinsing of wine glasses and mandarins initially stole the show, then it was mini construction trucks and dirty 3 year old hands:


Turkey-2.jpgWe kept my table simple but I stuffed some mushrooms had a rainbow of vegetables and a nice little cheese spread:



I dressed the kids and made them hug each other:

But these picture sessions don’t always work out well and my kids are not always smiling little angels. Michael is quiet dramatic at times he goes from this:


To this in about 3 seconds:


There are a lot of hard things about adulting. But you know what I truly love?  That I come home to my family everyday.  These kids, my husband… My friends, family I mean blessed is the word.

Happy Holidays.



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Tonight, Tonight it’s Halloween [Day Later]

Happy Day of the Dead, my friends!

In case you live under a rock and skipped social media altogether for the past several weeks – yesterday was Halloween!  The holidays are SOMUCHMOREFREAKINGFUN with children.  Honestly.  This year we bought so many costumes and I feel terrible because what Michael really wanted to be we couldn’t find a good costume for. Whomp.  But it worked out anyway:

Michael actually had several costumes to wear for Halloween but started the day off as a dragon.  I LOVE dragon costumes and have scored awesome ones over the years – 3 years of dragons, someday I’ll pull off my GOT “Mother of Dragons” costume, but until then I’ll enjoy shooting pictures of my sweet dudes – staying behind the camera is my thing.  Michael has been so very excited about Halloween and Evan in pure Evan style is just like “oh Halloween? That’s cool!”  Evan’s a totally go-with-the-flow kiddo but really really enjoys costumes and dress up so yesterday was really fun for him.

The day started with toast and eggs cut out in spiders, spider webs and coffins followed by making sure everything was packed for Evan’s school treat bags (glowsticks,  stickers, pencils and erasers) and my last minute PrimeNow order (ordered an extra SD card because, well, 150 of them isn’t enough -can anyone else NOT format their cards?  I feel like it’s a fail safe for my stored photos).  And just like every morning, on this couple weeks off from work, in the blink of an eye it was time to take Evan to school.  We dropped him off, headed to Starbucks and headed back to Evan’s school for his school’s Halloween Costume Parade:


It was flipping cold outside so Evan looked like a cool Patagonia Model. After the parade, Michael and I tried to go to the Gap so I could score some cool Halloween night pjs and grab some warm clothes for Mr. E but MAV fell asleep in the car so we ended up back home and I decided to walk Michael to school to pick up E.   On the way home from school we stopped at a creepy house and Evan got a shot with one of his favorite people on the planet, Hannah:


Going with the speed theme of the day, we walked in the door, I speed edited photos while the kids ate leftovers and the trick-or-treaters were ready for treats!  Evan and Michael were great helpers, and took their time giving the trick-or-treaters handfuls of candy:


Michael had a costume change to Thor so they were the perfect pair:


and they stalked our neighbors, per usual:


Then Auntie Jaz and Primo Jay showed up!  So Michael and Evan did a little bit of Trick-or-Treating with them and well these pictures speak for themselves on the fun they had:

This year my sister also opened her first annual Hocus Pocus House.  She went all out (you’ll have to check out my snap) and it’ll be something we grow each year now.  She EVEN GOT ME TO DRESS UP!  Once upon a time I’d get dressed for Halloween.  We always decorate but I typically don’t dress up and just get excited to hand out candy :).   Next year we will be in full Hocus Pocus attire and I promise to get some good pictures.

TONS of candy and cool Halloween costumes later… Halloween is over 😦 – We had my annual pumpkin party and I didn’t document it!  Oh well, I hope to share a bunch of our Holiday traditions this year.  Fingers crossed we do something every weekend 😉 Until next time, friends.


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Hello Friends!

Happy day after the Chicago Marathon!  Congratulations to all the runners!  Super special shout out to those I know and who kicked-ass. So proud of you!

Today is the day I tell you all about a GLORIOUS weekend I had with some of my very favorite people. We were out celebrating LIFE, MARRIAGE & Friendship. I honestly am already planning the next Staycation.  If ya’ll weren’t aware we live in Chicago.  To say there is lots to do here is a massive understatement our Staycation covered about .025% of what to do in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs but I’m going to share and encourage everyone to do this.

Friday began pretty straight forward.  Last minute packing (duh…) a shower and trying to clean a but of my house that was upside-down. Before we knew it we were headed to our first stop of our staycation a tour in Oak Park of Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and studio:


Now. Let’s just stop right here.  This guy was a pure genius and interesting to learn about.   He lived beyond his means “hand to mouth” I believe was the phrase he was the epitome of “fake it to you make it” and his home life even was a bit scandalous, something about getting caught in Europe with a mistress, but ANYWHO this guys is famous for good reason as his ideas were… spectacular. This house features a playroom my kids would kill for, a studio that his breathtaking, and some hacks (e.g. painted plaster that looked like bronze and granite) to make it look like he had boatloads of money.  He was a design-with-purpose type guy all about an experience and let me tell you I had to pick my jaw off the floor several times during this tour.


If you follow my photography page on Facebook you may have seen these.  I didn’t get too many of inside the studio – it was hard not to get people in my shots and I wanted to do FLW justice. I highly recommend this tour – click here for website.  We also took the walking tour where you get this cool looking phone thing to walk around stunning Oak Park this phone talks to you and tells you about several houses near his home.  I’m sure there was great information but I was more concerned about taking a few pictures and missed a lot it…lol guess I’ll have to do it again!

After this experience we ate a local fav spot – the Blue Max and headed downtown to our hotel:


Kimpton Hotels host a wine hour with a featured red and white.  We grabbed glass (or two) each and headed off to dinner at Proxi.


Proxi is one of my new favorite restaurants.  Small plates, great cocktails. We loved the shaved zucchini, elote something or another, and some sort of fish in a coconut curry sauce.  You can check out the menu here – their Gin and Tonics are pretty and tasty and I quite like their champagne ice cubes.


After dinner we headed to London House for drinks – the view was spectacular.


We stumbled into our hotel and took a snooze before my favorite part of the weekend SPA DAY. Saturday we took a stroll to Target to come back and have brunch at Sable (yum!), followed by a nice walk to the Gold Coast.


My dear friend and I were treated to a spa day at the Waldorf Astoria and  Was it ah-mazing.

Mark, my masseuse, ripped my back apart in the best way the whole time I was just like “I’m so grateful, I’m so grateful” – Truly lucky – I highly recommend him, he just got all the knots and I smelled like a lavender leaf when I walked (glided? hovered? flew? IDK it was graceful and I was butterfly-like) out of the room. They treat you so well at the Waldorf, they have fabulous products (Oribe! My fav!) for use and the very best coconut water while you wait in the resting room.


After our massage we had an hour of relaxing followed by a facial.  Jenny was amazing, the room was quite and my face felt pampered I even fell asleep at one point.  I came out literally glowing.  I cannot wait to go back.  Thank you thank you for booking this for us boys!

After our Spa day we were so hungry.  Walked in just in time for wine hour, ran upstairs and headed  over to Eately.   I’ve probably never eaten so much bread before in my life and olive oil.

On Sunday my wonderful husband got up early and took a nice walk with me along the river.  Chicago is such a beautiful city.  We enjoyed the beautiful fall flowers and super quite landscape.  Chicago is such a beautiful city and it was wonderful to walk hand and hand with my soulmate taking in this beautiful place we live.



The weekend was wonderful and my heart is still happy from it. Thinking of a Staycation Chicago friends? Just. do. it!

I’m off to spend time with my favorite little humans, get in a good sweat sesh and take some fall photos.  Tis the Season!

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Train Thoughts 10.4

I’m not putting the year on this post because it’s 10/4 – get it? Ha. Anyway.

Today I have a dentist appointment so I’m on an earlier train than normal about to hurl. The amount of anxiety that goes into my dentist appointments is serious. The amount of anxiety in my life in general is an issue but especially tied to doctor visits.

Babies and dogs don’t even make me feel better about it for more than 3 seconds. 

Anyone else have this?  Last year I had BOATLOADS of work done.  Two gum surgeries, two root canals and 6 grand later (thank god for insurance- something around 2k out of pocket) I also have receding gums and I very likely grid or clench my teeth at night (probably due to anxiety and stress… full circle?). Awesome. My doctors are amazing.  No joke, the office staff is friendly and I even go every 4 months!  My teeth just suck so I just hate it and literally dread it for weeks.

I’m writing this to tell you if you have fear you are not alone and it’s perfectly ok!  Even for us waterpik, sonicare, listerine loving folks.  Hector? He doesn’t need to even brush his teeth they are like diamonds. Me I look at sweets and have a cavity. Wish me luck as I’m off to find more funny memes for my next train Thoughts post.


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Train Thoughts 8.30.17

It’s been a while since I’ve done a train thoughts post!  Part of my 25 minute train ride it’s typically totally random.

Today’s thoughts?

I. Love. Game of Thrones.  It’s playing on auditable as I type this! This is how I feel right now about the tv show:

I just can’t get enough!  Here are a couple 😂 memes 

And this 😂

 I mean this stuff makes me happy. That’s all.

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Evan’s New Adventure

We are finding a new routine around here.  My oldest son has started Kindergarten.

My whole heart simultaneously swelled with happiness and sadness.  Happiness because my boy is growing and thriving.  Sadness for the obvious – he’s a baby no more.  “Always my baby you’ll be” will always be in my heart but the truth is he is (and has been for some time) a little person learning, testing boundaries and soaking up all there is to know about life.


Evan is a special soul he is sensitive, sweet and smart.  He was born a sweet soul.  As we awaited his late start I tried to fill my mind with other things; keeping busy making sure things around the house were picked up and he was ready to go.  Michael and him walked around saying “it’s Kindergarten day!”  We put on jeans, took pictures, realized it was too hot for jeans, changed to shorts lol.  Time ticked away too quickly and before we knew it Evan and I got in the car, drove the short drive to school, pulled up the new color doors and waited for them to open.

Evan stood close to me looking around for children he recognized and people quickly gathered on the grass outside the doors.  The teachers walked out with signs with their names on it and we got in line next to his new teacher.  Parents were allowed in the new classroom and were given a high level of what’s changing from preschool to kindergarten.  Not going to lie, I was instantly more nervous.  I started thinking to myself this is so much overwhelming information.  It’s literally school.  They are going to teach Evan a lot of independence this year.  I’m quite comfortable with this because Evan already has to be very independent due to Hector and I’s work schedules but still it’s just crazy to think how much more ridged his life is going to be.


The teacher went on about making sure the kids were well rested getting at least 12 hours of sleep; and that they could not be late.  They would be getting homework (so soon!) and that this little blue folder was super important and needed to be brought to school EVERYDAY.  After lots of speaking she sat down with he children and read a book called “The Kissing Hand.” That’s when it took ALL OF ME to hold it together and not start sobbing.  I needed the kissing hand…

The wonderful thing that happens with newness of things is a re-evaluation of routines (or the establishment of them!).  So we’ve started a new things to help Evan make sure he’s organized and responsible for his things [more not that later!].

This new adventure is just in preparation for the rest of his life.  Like I said – so happy for him but also the dull ache of him being a true baby no more.

Good luck my love it is so amazing to watch you go through these new adventures!!!


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Baby Feeeeeever

Ok ya’ll.

It’s hit hard over here. Miss Jen has baby fever.   It’s probably because this guy:


Couldn’t be less baby.  He’s literally moving and shaking at all times until he just crashes.


He’s airborne most moments of the day.  He’s sorta like a rubber chicken, just bounces off stuff.  Smashes into things and just is crazy, but in the best way.  His energy is the best and as fun as ALMOST 3 is…

We are fresh out of baby clothes, toys and all that and I’m missing it.  It’s NO secret I’m the worst pregnant woman.  When I think about pregnancy in my head I’m like it’s not so bad, I can handle it.  I wrote this post about how to feel about pregnancy the next time after I had Evan and when I was pregnant with Michael? I still HATED BEING PREGNANT.  I want to clarify what I hate about pregnancy.  It’s feeling exhausted, not myself and sharing my body which I’m too obsessive about.  I’m way too body conscious and although with BOTH my pregnancies I gained around 20-25lbs I still STRESSED about it.  I’ve definitely come to understand that those preg hormones, not for me. I get morning sickness, feel gross and my thighs expand *sigh*.

BUT – I still think I want to do it again because I love babies and I feel like I’m supposed to have them.  I bring my babies home and I know what I’m doing.  I’m CONFIDENT in what I’m doing even when that stupid lady in the store gives you the stink eye (or EVEN says something!  when your baby is chewing on something potentially dirty INSERT EYE ROLL).

The fact my oldest is now five FIVE five years old and starting KINDERGARTEN has also put me over the edge:


No seriously someone hold me.


I also love that getting older means I really do care a lot less about people’s opinions.  One day I’m going to write a blog about being a young mom because I had Evan when I was 25 which was younger than a lot of my friends (not all of them!) but thinking about a baby after 30 is interesting and I’ll have to share my thoughts on all that.

Anywho I’m off to enjoy the rest of the day with my dudes and start jotting down ideas for more content like EXTENDED breastfeeding (happy dance), favorite kid stuff and what we are up to, per usual.

Today we saw peacocks and butterflies so I’ll leave you with a couple shots of those guys:




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