Friday, November 2, 2012


or a recap of my week.  I can't believe it is Friday nor can I believe we are already in November.  This week was a busy one.  Gwen and I went into the office on Tuesday and Thursday, Wednesday was Halloween and today was gymnastics.

Halloween was so much fun this year! We went to my mother-in-law's house for trick-or-treating. Gwen was so cute.  She would go up to the door and say "treat," and then unprompted, she would say "thank you!"  I was so proud of her.  She had a really good time.

Getting Gwen on a schedule is going to prove to be difficult.  Our schedule changes every day.  We are going to start with an evening routine - dinner, bath and bedtime.

Yesterday was a really good day.  She had no meltdowns at all, which was amazing, considering it was a long day.  We went shopping and then we were at my office for over three hours.  When we got home she helped me do the dishes and make dinner.

She actually went down pretty easy last night and a reasonable time.  Unfortunately she had a night terror and work up at about 11:30pm.  It took me sometime to calm her down and get her back to sleep. She woke up this morning with the sniffles and by this afternoon it has turned into a full-blown cold.

Today we had gymnastics and they had a Halloween party.  Gwen was so excited to wear her costume again.

She was a really good girl again today. Day two with no meltdown!  I hope she keeps this streak going.  She is now on the couch asleep.  My poor little love :(

Joe is sick too, so this should be a quiet weekend.  I hope they both are feeling a little better in the morning so we can run a few errands. Other then that, we are planning on sticking close to home and getting some projects done - finally!  We may or may not be slight procrastinators!

Well I think it is time for a glass wine to start the weekend!

I hope everyone has a great weekend.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Developing a schedule

We have been having a lot of problems with Gwen's sleeping.  She has always fought naps and bedtime, but it has been really bad the last couple of weeks.  I was talking with my mom today and she said I have to get her into a set daily schedule for everything.  Get her up every morning at the same time, whether she wants to or not. Make her sit at the table and eat breakfast whether she wants to or not. (We also have a lot of issues lately with her eating - she has become such a picky eater.)

She had a nasty little meltdown this afternoon and I am at the point that we HAVE to do something.  No more just, Oh this will pass.  She is going to be three in January, if we don't do something now, no one is going to want to be around her.  She is a really good girl, but she has a terrible temper and is extremely strong willed.

I get so frustrated and depressed by her behavior.  I feel like I have failed her.  I should have done something different and she would be better behaved.  I don't know how mom's do it with more then one child.

So starting tonight we are putting a new schedule into place.  This will be good since she actually is taking a nap today! When she gets up, I will get her a little snack and then we are going to play with her puzzles and work with her flashcards.  Then a little TV while I am prepping dinner. Dinner will be at the dinning room table with NO TV on.  Following dinner we will do some sort of activity and then it will be bath time! After the bath, it is pj time and a book.  Then hopefully we will be able to initiate bedtime - in her room.

I know we have been really lax with Gwen.  We have worked our schedules around her and now we are dealing with the effects of that. So before this gets any worse, I am going to put this schedule into place.  And to be honest with you, I am more productive and work better when I adhere to a schedule.  Here is to hoping this works!

And maybe I will be able to get more done and actually start doing yoga again. One can only hope.

Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. 
Whatever has to be done, it's always your choice.
 ~ Wayne Dyer 
(I have no idea who this man is, but it is a great quote nonetheless!)

Have a great rest of your day!


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sleep Deprivation

Third night in a row Gwen has gotten up super early - 4:30am, 3:00am, 3:30am. I am so tired today I can't even think straight.  She is phasing out naps, even though she needs one, and falling asleep super early.  Hopefully she will crash today and take a nap for me, because I need one!

Joe is working till 4pm and then we are going to a Halloween party. I also need to finish Joe's costume, do the dishes and work on a layout I was suppose to do yesterday. It is going to be a very long day. I think it is time for a cup of tea (or a glass of wine).

Hoping I get some fun pictures from the party tonight to post!

Have a great rest of your day.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Indian Summer

Well I think we had our "Indian Summer."  It has been almost 80 the last two days. Gwen and I ditched the office yesterday and headed out to my parent's to soak up the last warm day of the year.  It was so nice.  We picked the last of the tomatoes and sat on the deck.  I love that we can do this.  Unfortunately we don't know how many more days we have out there.

My parents went to a meeting last night and it is official the Illiana Tollway is a go.  Construction is to begin 2014.  It just makes me so sad. My parents have worked so hard for what they have and now it is going to be taken away. Earlier this year the wonderful state of Illinois passed the quick-take law, that allows the state to take property and give what they think is a fair price. I thought eminent domain was bad, this is just wrong.

My parent's home and land is paid for. They have never taken anything from anyone. My dad is a Vietnam vet and union worker (retired). They built the "American Dream" and now it is being taken away from them.  I just don't get it.  You work hard your whole life. You save your money.  You Pay your bills. You retire thinking you are going to be ok. Then the carpet is pulled out from underneath you.  The stability you thought you had is gone.

I am so sad and frustrated, but we will make the best of it.  We will enjoy the time we have. We will continue to plant gardens and play until they tell we can't. We will find another place to call home.  Because home is wherever Mom and Dad are.

So for now we are going to enjoy the time we have and look forward to what the future holds.

But for what it is worth -  NO ILLIANA TOLLWAY!

Have a great rest of your evening.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Time flies...

Time flies when you are having fun, or have too much to do.  I don't know where this year has gone.  I feel like I have done so much, yet nothing, all at the same time.  In February I decided to take a break from blogging and the internet to focus more on being creative in my own life.  I had so many things I wanted to accomplish and then life happened.

"Life is what happens to you 
while you're busy making other plans."

~ John Lennon

My year recap:

Joe worked a lot
Willow had to go to the vet several times

Beautiful weather = lots of park time

Joe took a new job -  lots more family time!
Went to Appleton, WI for a weekend getaway
Went to a really cute tea shop with my mom - The Pickwick  Society Tearoom

Fairy Festival at Pilcher Park
Janesville Renaissance Faire

13th Wedding Anniversary
Signed contract with Milltown Market for a booth

Started doing freelance design work for Joe's company
Shot an engagement session
Shot a wedding
Gwen started swim lessons
Bristol Renaissance Faire

Started doing graphic design work for the park district again
Gwen started gymnastics

Fall Fest at Goodenow Grove
Shot another wedding
USF Homecoming
Fairy Fest at Goodenow Grove

A lot of design work
Gwen was sick
Family wedding

There were also play dates, trips to the zoo, gardening, fishing, painting and hanging out on the patio interspersed throughout the year.

And that brings us to the last full week of the month with Halloween only 8 days away.  We still need to finish our costumes and get a pumpkin to carve (we were suppose to go to a patch, but the weather was bad the day we planned).

That was our year so far. There was a lot more, but these were just some of the highlights! We are already making our holiday plans. Can't believe it. Thanksgiving is less then a month away!

On that note, have a great rest of your day!


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Burning the candle at both ends

October has been a crazy month.  Gwen has been sick and I have had a lot of work today. I dont' think I mentioned that I am back to work part-time at my old job.  I started back in the middle of August. I am helping out while the graphic designer is out on medical leave.  It is great to be back, but also very crazy.  I get to do most of my work at home and go in two mornings a week to do printing and meet with staff.  I also started doing freelance graphic design work for the hotel my husband works for.  And on top of that we also have had several photography jobs.

I do enjoy being busy and having more of a schedule, but it is beginning to wear on both Gwen and I.  Her schedule is off. She is not napping and she has become an even more fussier eater.  I know sleeping and eating issues are normal at this age, but it still leads to a lot frustrations on both parts.

We also have been cooped up the last couple of weeks because she has been sick. Result - a very restless two year old! She has energy to burn and then some.  I actually did take he into the office yesterday for a couple hours and low and behold she took a nap when we got home. She needs to be active and social.  I blame her father for that :)

In the little bit of downtime I have been getting, I have been immersing myself in Tudor/Elizabethan English history.  It is so fascinating.  Who needs fictional stories when these real life ones are so fantastic.

I have been reading several blogs on the subject:

Aside from the lack of hygiene, sanitation and antibiotics, I would love to have lived in such a time. Well, if I was a noble with the fancy dresses and lovely jewelry.  

Time to return to the present and get my day started.

Have a great day!


Friday, October 12, 2012

Tea Time

“Tea is the elixir of life.”  Lao Tzu

My mom always says, "tea tastes better out of a tea cup."  I have to agree. I usually grab a mug and throw it in the microwave, but today I decided to use my tea kettle and actually make tea the proper way. Then I decided to use my nice china. What a difference it made.

Sometimes it is the simple things in life, like a good cup of tea, that help you get through the day.

It has been an extremely long week and I am so ready for the weekend. Not that I don't have more work to do, but just the thought of "the weekend," seems to make it easier to deal with.  For now though, I am going to relax with a nice cup of chamomile tea and enjoy some quiet time.

“Tea tempers the spirits and harmonizes the mind, dispels lassitude and relieves fatigue, awakens thought and prevents drowsiness, lightens or refreshes the body, and clears the perceptive faculties.”   Confucius

Have a good rest of your evening

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Life definitely gets in the way of being productive sometimes.  I was sidelined with a sinus headache for a couple of days and now Gwen has come down with a nasty little cold. Hopefully we will return to our normal schedule in the next couple of days.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

We are back!

I can't believe how long it has been.  We have been so busy.  Can't wait to get back to writing and sharing. More to come soon!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Taking a Break

I have decided I have become far too dependent on the virtual world. I need to reconnect with the real world. I want to write letters. I want to actually talk to people and visit them. I want to get outside. So Gwen and I will be going out and about for awhile and I promise I will take lots of pictures. I also plan on trying new recipes and work on my food photography. Hopefully this break wont be as long as the last. See you soon!

Have a great day!


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Food and Wine

Just a few things we have been eating and drinking as of late.

Pizza with caramelized onions, ham and mushrooms topped with cheddar/gruyere cheese

Charles Shaw Cabernet - don't knock the 2 buck chuck! (well $3 here) from Trader Joe's

Asiago cheese, crackers and marinated artichoke hearts with some Charles Shaw Merlot

Pizza with fresh grated asiago and parmesan cheese

Caves du Fournalet Cotes du Rhone - Another Trader Joe's wine!

My homemade meatballs and sauce

My recipe was in the local newspaper about a year ago!

Hope I gave you some yummy ideas for dinner or just a snack!

Have a great rest of your day! Buon Appetito!


Just Not Feeling It

I just haven't felt like blogging. I think the winter doldrums are getting to me. I know they shouldn't be this year. I should have nothing to complain about, because we have been blessed with an extremely mild winter so far. But, I long for the warm, long days of summer.

Gwen and I are climbing the walls. Her nap schedule, or should I say lack there of, makes doing anything outside of the house almost impossible. For instance, my friend Carrie just sent me a message to see if I wanted to meet here and her daughter at the zoo, but Gwen just went down and wont be up for at least two hours. So, on a wonderfully mild late-January afternoon I am sitting at home watching the walls close in around me.

Don't get me wrong, I love being a stay-at-home mom and I am completely blessed to be able to do it. I am just not quite use to staying in everyday. When the weather really gets nice, I know things will be better.

I know Gwen has got to be bored. She was so use to playing with other kids. We have just been hanging out at home and watching way too much Tinkerbell! I feel like such a bad mom (hangs head in shame). We have done a couple things outside the house - we went to the library, out to lunch with Dolly and to Target. Nothing special, but at least we got out for a bit. I really need to get her signed up for some tot classes. I looked into programs at the library, but they have theirs at 1:30pm. When Gwen naps, it is usually at that time. Back to the drawing board. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

This past week we took the front off of Gwen's crib, because we are so afraid she is going to fall climbing out. Well that lasted for all of about three days. She hardly napped or slept at all those days. So, at about 10pm Thursday night, the front of the crib went back on.

We are also dealing with a severe pacifier addiction. I do not know how I am ever going to break her of it. I have been reading up on it, but nothing is working. I am so torn - I want her to be happy, but I know she is getting too old to be needing/using a pacifier as a means of soothing herself. I even lied to the pediatrician and told him she was done with the paci. When we are out she is good. I think it is just being home so much right now.

Ok, so I am done throwing myself a pity party. I need to put on my big girl panties and figure out fun things to do to help Gwen - 1. nap/sleep better; 2. give up the paci; and 3. stop watching so much Tinkerbell!

I am going to take advantage of her nap right now and do some research!

Have a great rest of your day!


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Socially Awkward

The older I get the more socially awkward I feel. I am so uncomfortable in group situations, especially when I don't know anyone. Last night was Joe's holiday work party and I was so out of my element. I talked his boss' wife's ear off. I know I was rambling and probably over-sharing, because that is what I do when I get nervous and have a couple glasses of wine. I brag about unimportant things and dwell on sad things. I kept looking at my watch counting the minutes, knowing I was being completely awkward and probably making things awkward for said boss' wife. I wanted to go home so badly and be in the comfort of my home where I could be me.

After events like last night, I don't want to leave the house for a very long time because I am embarrassed by my behavior. I assure you, I wont be going back to Joe's work for quite sometime.

I try to change, but it always ends up the same. I get home and I don't like me. I stay upset with myself for days and I am in just a bad mood. So here we are again at that stage. I just hope I didn't say anything that will cause any issues for Joe. I am pretty sure, his boss and his boss' wife will just feel bad for Joe and think that I am certifiably crazy.

I know I am over-thinking this and should not dwell on it, because it is over and there are more important things to worry about. I need to stop throwing myself a pity party and just get on with life. So I will pick my self-pitying-self up off this couch and have a good day.

I hope you all have a good day as well. Happy Tuesday!


Friday, January 20, 2012

Let it Snow!

We are getting the first really big snow this winter in the Chicagoland area. I can't believe we are more than halfway through January and have only had a few measurable snows this winter. It is so nice not to have to go out in it. I am not a confident driver, so being snuggled up at home with Gwen works perfectly well for me. I only have to worry about all my loved ones being out in it.

Gwen and I worked on our Valentine's Day window decorations today. We have been in our condo for over 7 years and have never decorated the window for any holiday before. It was so much fun. I put tape on the hearts and Gwen placed them (well most of them) where she wanted them. She then got out her crayons and decorated them while they were hung-up. It is so amazing watching how her mind works.

Hopefully tomorrow we will dig out and head down to my parents to go sledding. The weather is suppose to be nice tomorrow (well better, as in NO SNOW). I need to get the little one outside. We have been cooped up all week.

For now though, I am going to go make a cup of tea and cuddle with Gwen under a big blanket and watch Finding Nemo.

Be safe if you are out tonight! Have a great Friday Night!


Monday, January 16, 2012

First Steps

One year ago today Gwen took her first unassisted steps. This may be the only milestone I actually know the exact date for. I am such a bad mom (hanging my head in shame). I have no excuse as to why I was not paying close enough attention to document when she rolled over, or started crawling or cut her first tooth. Most first-time moms are so diligent about these things. All I can say was that I was living in the moment and not about to stop and write down what was happening.

Tomorrow we go in for her two year doctor appointment. I always forget to bring in her book for the nurse to fill out her stats. Hopefully I will remember tomorrow! If not I will come back and write it here.

I hope you have a great evening!


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Condo Dweller

I am a condo dweller, not completely by choice. It has its pros and its cons.

A little back story...
Joe and I lived in South Carolina for two years (I know, why would I move back to Illinois, right?). When we moved back we had arranged to live in my grandmother's house so it would not be vacant (she had passed away earlier in the year). Joe and I lived there for a few months when one of my aunts decided to sell it, and sell it quick she did. We had a month to find something. So here we are, condo dwellers. It was a flip so everything was freshly painted, new carpeting and new appliances. We only thought we would be here a few years, then the economy tanked. There are so many foreclosures in our area, there is no way for us to sell (we had it the market for awhile and had no bites).

So here we are over seven years in our condo. The longest we have lived in one place since we got married. We were a little like gypsies our first six years of marriage. We lived in five different places! That is a lot of packing and unpacking. Our next move will hopefully be our last our second to last. I really hate packing!

There are a lot of advantages to being in our condo. First of which it has afforded us the ability for me to be a stay-at-home mom (now). We are blessed with a small mortgage and low expenses. We also don't have to worry about yard work (too much anyways). The place cleans up pretty quickly. We have no stairs to worry about Gwen falling down. And it is easy to keep an eye on her when I am cooking or doing dishes. It also affords us much more family time, since we don't have as much to do.

The downsides to be a condo dweller include crazy neighbors below us, community property that certain people don't take care of (crazy people below us), changing demographic in the area, not a lot of privacy, no yard and no sense of personal space.

I know we are completely blessed to be in the situation we are in and the pros definitely outweigh the cons, but somedays I just want my little house with the white picket fence and a vegetable garden. Until that day comes though, I will be content with the roof I do have over my head.

Here are a few picts of our dining/living room.

Welcome to my humble abode.

I will take you on tour of the rest of our condo soon (when I get the rest of the rooms photo ready!).

Until then, enjoy the rest of your day!


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Two Years Ago

Happy Birthday Baby Gwen!

This time two years ago I was in the hospital waiting not so patiently for the arrival of our baby girl! Gwendolyn Clarice was born at 2:17 pm, January 10, 2010 weighing 5 lbs 14 oz and was 19" long.

Here is a quick birth story:

I started having contractions on Saturday at 4:30pm. Went to the hospital at 5pm having contractions 7-8 min apart and was 3 cm dilated. I progressed to 5cm rather quickly and my contractions were coming every 1-2 min. I received my epidural, was put on pitocin and had my water broke at about 1:30am. My labor began to stall out so the took me off the pitocin and then started it again only to find out my OB was at a funeral. So they took me off again and let things slow again. At about 1pm on Sunday my OB called back to say she was on her way. I started pushing at 1:30pm and Gwen was delivered at 2:17pm. As crazy as my pregnancy was, my delivery was easy and uneventful!

It is hard to believe it has been two years. Watching her grow and now being home with her everyday, has given me so much joy. I love her more then I could have ever imagined. The challenges and heartache we suffered to get her was all worth it in the end. One day I will sit and write about our fertility issues, but for today I am just going to concentrate on the little girl who has blessed us in so many ways.

I can't wait to see what she becomes, but I am not rushing the time. It is going by too quickly as it is. So for today, we are going to enjoy this warm January day and celebrate her first two amazing years.

Have a great rest of your day.