Happy New Year!

Some thoughts from the kids as we close the door on 2014…

What was your favorite thing from this past winter:

  • Joey: My birthday!
  • Grace: Building snow forts
  • Thomas: Playing in the snow.

What was your favorite thing from this past spring?

  • Joey: Running in the grass again.
  • Grace: My birthday party with Ciara
  • Thomas: New leaves

What was your favorite thing from this past summer?

  • Joey: Swimming
  • Grace: Swimming
  • Thomas: More leaves

What was your favorite thing from this past fall?

  • Joey: Going to the ND football game.
  • Grace: Playing in the leaves.
  • Thomas: Changing colors.

What was the hardest thing that happened this past year?

  • Joey: Giving up being the turtle vet.
  • Grace: Moving upstairs at school.

What were the best books you read this year?

  • Joey: Captain Underpants
  • Grace: Amelia Bedelia
  • Thomas: Scrambled Eggs (Green Eggs and Ham)

Who were the important people in your life this year?

  • Joey: Family, Vincent, Mr. S (LE teacher)
  • Grace: Mommy, Mrs. S (EC teacher) and Mrs. S (LE teacher)
  • Thomas: Just Mommy.

What was your favorite thing you learned this year?

  • Joey: Being the turtle vet.
  • Grace: Swim lessons
  • Thomas: All the things.

How do you hope this next year will be like this past year?

  • Joey: Fun
  • Grace: I hope we swim at Grandpa’s house.

How do you hope this next year will be different for you?

  • Joey: I want to see a squid.
  • Grace: I’m good.

Questions from The Art of Simple


Michigan Trip

While we were in Beverly Shores this spring, Jon and I decided to make a real vacation a priority for Summer 2013. We’ve enjoyed our share of fantastic weekend trips, but have only taken two vacations in 9 years of marriage (one was our honeymoon!).

It. Was. Time.

After much discussion, we decided to do a road trip to northern Michigan and maybe head into the UP. Our general plan was to visit Mackinac Island and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and if we happened to eat copious amounts of fudge and ice cream on the way, all the better.

In the end we put 1000 miles on the car and visited Traverse City, Petoskey, Mackinaw City, Mackinac Island, Empire, and Glen Arbor. We saw three Great Lakes, the tunnel of trees, a funky Polish restaurant, Canada, and some of the most amazing dunes imaginable. We rode bikes around Mackinac Island and hiked miles around Sleeping Bear Dunes without losing the kids. In short, it was an awesome trip and I’m so glad we finally got out there.

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4th of July

We had a great 4th of July once again this year.  It was seriously a great day.  The morning started off with the annual Marquette Park parade and brunch at our house. I love this event.  It’s been going on for at least 4 decades and it’s such a treat to see the little ones riding their bikes, but even more to see the older kids (some high school, some home from college) out there walking/riding and totally owning it.




We celebrated a favorite friend’s birthday.


We spent the afternoon/early evening swimming and cooking out at my dad’s.  If I can ever figure out how to embed the YouTube video, I’ll update.  🙂

Once we dried off, everyone headed over to Derek’s Dad’s house for fireworks and baseball.  As kids, we spent hours playing baseball in the backyard with our dad after dinner.  It’s one of my favorite childhood memories and I had so much fun playing with him and my sisters again.  Honestly, I really can’t think of a better spot for home-based fireworks.  The backyard is huge and backs right up to a cornfield with a stunning view as the sun sets.






I hope everyone else had a fantastic day!

April – May – June Photos


DSC_0511  Enjoying their baskets.

IMG_2338 Dyed eggs for breakfast.

IMG_2352  Big cousins playing.

Indy and BSU Visit:

IMG_2377 Indy Children’s Museum

IMG_2403 The glass sculpture.

IMG_2409 Thomas and I sitting in the lobby of my building at BSU.

Beverly Shores Cabin Trip:




Playing in May


IMG_2715 “So dirty!”

IMG_2900 This girl loves the water.

IMG_2944 Joey rocked his second season of soccer with MSA.  Go Italy!

Sunburst 2013 – My First 5k

IMG_2954 The back of the 5k pack.

IMG_2960 Katie and I after the race.  She was awesome and really encouraging when I wanted to pass out.

IMG_2968  My cheer squad!

The School Year Ended!  

IMG_2998 Our last morning.

IMG_3007 Joey and his teacher.

IMG_3003 IMG_3002 Grace with her teachers.

Playing in June:

IMG_3098 Strawberry picking.

IMG_3159 Visiting with A&C (college friends)… plus our 6 (!!) children. We had so much fun!

IMG_3119 Swimming and a cookout with our two favorite Dads on Father’s Day.

IMG_3090  Grace’s kindergarten backpack arrived.  We’ve made it a tradition in our family that once you’re in kindergarten you get a monogrammed backpack from LLBean in your choice of color.  With the lifetime guarantee, the backpack will last for years and the kids are finally big enough to carry the bag.  🙂

IMG_3113 Jon built a deck in the backyard.

IMG_3149 We bought a new table and chairs and have been eating outside as frequently as possible.

IMG_3167 Umbrella lights make for pretty at-home date nights.

IMG_3178  I made homemade lemonade for the first time.  So good.

Happy July!

52/52: Finished! Kinda.

My year is up. I made it through 28 books with some surprisibg wins and some real duds. More than anything I love that reading is a part of my daily life again. Happy reading!



We braved the cold, drizzly weather to attend the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade downtown last Saturday.  It was cold, but the kids had a great time collecting candy, seeing the bands, floats, and different animals (there were even llamas all decked out!).   We were even on TV, which thrilled the kids.  Per our tradition, we headed out for Mexican food after the parade.  I think we were the only people in South Bend, Irish or not, eating flautas instead of corned beef and cabbage but it’s fun and we never have to wait.

We ended the afternoon celebrating one of our favorite people, Tessie!  Love that girl (apparently so much that I forgot to take pictures of the party!).  Date night for us (Oz: The Great and Powerful and BW3s) and a sleep over for the kids with Grandma and Grandpa sealed it as a pretty awesome weekend.  Sunday, Grace and I went shopping with Jon’s mom to pick out some new things for Grace’s birthday.  That girl cracks me up.  She picked out her Easter dress at the first store and then got the rest of her stuff at the second.  We were in and out in less than two hours… including lunch!  #SoMyKid


We spent the better part of February battling a stomach virus, but we had fun trying to stay warm.

IMG_1973  Snowball fights.

IMG_2007  Library

IMG_1960  Baking

IMG_2071  Reading

IMG_1956  Helping with chores.  😉

IMG_1985  Hanging out.

IMG_2051  I got highlights!

IMG_2075  Joey completed the St. Jude’s “Math-A-Thon” challenge.  A big thank you to those of you who sponsored him!  We talked about how he was doing the different problems as a way to help sick children and what it would mean to those kids and their families.

IMG_1949   While most of the month was too cold for family excursions, we drove through Potato Creek State Park several times to check out the fields and lake.  It was really fun to point out the different landmarks to the kids and have them recognize how our favorite spots change during winter.

IMG_2042  The best part of February will always be our Thomas!  I cannot believe he’s two already.  Two?!? Unfortunately, he spent the better part of the week surrounding his birthday sick so we celebrated with dry pancakes.  A few weeks later we invited our neighbors over for dinner and cake to celebrate.  Thomas was a happy boy.  Happy birthday, littlest man!




52/52: Quiet

I was really excited to read Quiet after seeing numerous recommendations online. Honestly, I thought it was awful. Badly written, more self-help than science, and far too long for the lack of substance.

On to better books! 🙂


With the start of the new year, our family enters into what we jokingly call “Birthday Season.”  Joey in January, Thomas in February, and Grace in March.  It’s actually ridiculously fun and we have put together little celebrations to make each month special (e.g., each kiddo gets to be the featured photo on my phone for their birthday month).


Here are a few photos from Joey’s 7th (7?!?) birthday.  He kept with his standard interests and asked for Star Wars Legos and Sea Creatures.

DSC_0280We got Joey a sperm whale to add to his collection of creatures.  It was a hit.   IMG_1813 After school, we went bowling with friends and had a GREAT time.

IMG_1818 We met Grandpa Dave at “The Hot Dog Place” to enjoy his free birthday hot dog.IMG_1893 A few days later we had a really fun party with his friends, including a pinata in 20* weather!  Jon won dad of the year in no time flat.

52/52: Batch Entry

For Valentine’s Day, Jon and I gave each other an iPad Mini and I’ve been reading consistently since then.

The Happiness Project

Happier at Home

Love and Salt

Your Brain After Chemo