Monday, May 20, 2013

Sending Prayers

I had another plan for a post today, but it seems so trivial in light of the terrible events that are taking place in Oklahoma. My heart is heavy. I can not even imagine what those parents are going through right now.  So instead of sitting in front of my laptop, I am going to snuggle with my daughter and say prayers for those children who are not safe in their parent's arms.

Oklahoma, my thoughts and prayers are with you. I will light a candle and keep my own vigil for the safe return of your family members.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Regularly Scheduled Programming

Just checking in really quick to say HI!  I have been so busy with work this week and Joe and I photographed a wedding this weekend. I am hopping to return to somewhat regular blogging schedule this upcoming week!

Have a great rest of your day!


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The little things in life

Blog Every Day in May 
Day 14, Tuesday: Ten things that make you really happy

I really do try to take pleasure in the little things in life.  My family brings me the most joy and happiness, but there are a lot of little things that make each day great.

1. Being a mom! I know it sounds cliche, but my daughter makes me so happy, even when she is making me crazy :) She tells me I am her best friend and I just melt.

2. New shoes - really what girl does not like new shoes!

3. Cheese - I could live on cheese

4. Cooking 

5. Red wine - 
                 Red red wine you make me feel so fine
You keep me rocking all of the time  - UB 40

6. Hot Summer days
7. The smell of fresh cut grass - it takes me back to summer days as a child.

8. Daisies - they are just so perky!

9. A good book - especially anything that has to do with history


This is just a handful of the things that make me happy!

Have a great rest of your day!


Sunday, May 12, 2013

I Miss You

Day 12, Sunday: What do you miss? (a person, a thing, a place, a time of your life...)

I miss this lady everyday.

On Mother's Day 2009, my beloved grandma passed away from pancreatic cancer. 

My grandma was an amazing woman. She was from England. She met my Grandfather, an American GI, when he was stationed in England during WWII. My Grandfather was 14 years older than my Grandmother. They got married when he was on a 3 day leave and 9 months and 1 day later my mom was born. The war ended and my Grandfather went back to America. My Grandmother and Mom came to America 10 months later.

She was always such a strong and optimistic person. She would always say "this too shall pass," and "everything happens for a reason." She had such great stories about living through the war.

We talked everyday and she was my shopping buddy. 

I miss our Sunday morning coffee time at my parent's house. I miss sitting and having a nice cup of tea in the afternoon. I miss going to Chicago and shopping at Marshall Fields (Macy's now). I miss her accent and all he wonderful sayings. I just miss everything about her.

I found out I was pregnant with my daughter two days after she passed away (May 12, 2009 - 4 years ago today!). I wish she would have gotten to meet her great-granddaughter and share with her what she shared with me. 

Mother's Day is a very bittersweet day for me - I lost such an amazing woman in my life and started my much awaited journey to becoming a mother myself. 

So on this Mother's Day I celebrate, I celebrate the great woman my Grandmother was and still is to me and celebrate because I am blessed to have my own daughter. 

Happy Mother's Day!

Have a great rest of your day!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Quiet Moments

Blog Every Day in May 
Day 9, Thursday: A moment in your day (this can be just a photo or both a photo and words)

I took this photo today while I was taking a break from doing some design work.  I love just taking in moments like this, when she is playing by herself or just sitting and "reading" a book. 

Have a great rest of your day.


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Fear itself

Today is Day 7 of the Blog every single day in May.  I haven't been able to actually blog everyday, but I am trying to hit some of the key ones. Today's topic is - The thing(s) you're most afraid of.

I have anxiety & depression issues, which are the result of a medical condition I have (PCOS) and may or may not have anything to do with the fact that my mother and grandmother before me are complete and utter worriers. This leads to a lot of unwarranted worries & fears, I know. That being said, I think I am actually becoming slightly agoraphobic - I fear tight spaces, bridges and I am not good in large groups. 

Like most people though, my greatest fear is losing those that I love. Since having my daughter, this fear has grown exponentially. She is my everything. 

I found out I was pregnant with Gwen two days after my beloved Grandmother passed away. My husband & I had been trying to have a baby for over two years and had had two miscarriages, before Gwen (we also lost Gwen's twin). If I could, I would keep her with me every moment of every day.  I also know that that is a slightly unhealthy notion. 

Each day is blessing and I try to focus on that and not the what if's. The what if's can paralyze you and completely take the joy out of everything. Fear of the unknown is the worst. Your mind can come up with far worse scenarios than what the actually outcome could possibly be. 

So I guess what I am actually afraid of is fear itself. Fear can take hold of a completely rational person and make them completely irrational. Most days I try to be that rational person, but it is not always easy, especially being a Mom!

From this self professed worrier with irrational fears, be safe and enjoy the rest of your day!


Monday, May 6, 2013

Weekend Recap

It was a fun and busy weekend. It started off friday with the arrival of the bracelet I won in the mail! I was waiting not so patiently for the mail man to arrive all day! (Am I the only one who still gets excited to get actual mail?)

Friday night we just relaxed. It was a long week for all three of us. Gwen fell asleep early and Joe and I did a Season Two of the Vampire Diaries marathon. I love Alaric. I miss him in season four. Only two more episodes left.  Can't wait to see how they leave it, knowing that the new spin off series, The Originals, got picked up for the fall.  Talking about fall pick ups, my guilty pleasure got picked up too - Hart of Dixie! I just love Levon and Wade! 

Saturday Joe worked and Gwen and cleaned house. I worked on a couple work projects and watched Roman Holiday. I love Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn. When Joe got home from work I ran out real quick to get my hair cut. My brother and his girlfriend came over and brought chinese! Gwen just loves them.  I think she would actually leave Joe and I for them, given the choice. Thankfully though, they wore her out and she crashed early! 

After Gwen fell asleep, Joe and I watched Death In Paradise.  It is an English mystery series on PBS, and we have become quite addicted to it! It may or may not have something to do with the fact that it set on a tropical island :) It was a nice quiet way to end the night.

Sunday we slept in, kind of. Well, Joe and Gwen did.  Why is it the mornings when you can sleep in, you can't! It was nice though, to have a little quiet time and catch up on some reading. When Joe got up we grabbed our coffee and sat out on our balcony. I am so enjoying the fact that weather is finally getting nice! Our vacation spoiled me :) We then popped some champagne and had mimosas and planned our day. 

We went to brunch at Coopers Hawk. I had a birthday coupon and needed to use it. We have never been there for brunch before and now I can't wait to go back! I had eggs benedict and Joe had their three little piggies! The hollandaise sauce was amazing! Each meal came with choice of mimosa, bellini or sparkling wine.  After we finished our delicious meals, they brought me out a birthday dessert with a white truffle, chocolate covered strawberry and fresh berries!! 

While we were there, we also picked up our wine of the month, which was Orange Muscat. I am not a sweet wine drinker, but this is good! It is very fruity and light.  It is a great balcony/patio drinking wine!

After filling our bellies, we went shopping to walk off some of those calories :) We hit Old Navy to use our Stuff & Save coupon and stock up on some summer outfits for all of us and jeans for gwen. I am not good at trying things on at the store, so unfortunately a few things are going back.  Then we went to Bed, Bath and Beyond to get some glasses for the summer (plastic - I break glasses all the time and don't trust myself with nice glasses outside).

I think I finally used all my birthday coupons and gift cards. My birthday has stretched on for over a month this year! Not that I am complaining :)

When we got home, Joe put on golf and I played with my new clothes. Gwen helped me purge her closet and hang up all her new clothes. Joe and I also organized our closet, which was much needed. All in all, it was a great weekend and I hated to see it end.

We are waiting on some news this week, so hopefully things go well! Trying to stay positive. Positive thoughts. Positive results!

Have a great rest of your day!


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Tomorrow is a New Day

Blog Every Day In May Day 4 topic is - Favorite quote (from a person, from a book, etc) and why you love it.  

My favorite quote comes from my favorite childhood book, Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery.

“Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it... Yet.” 

To me, it is a reminder that every new day provides us with new opportunities and new beginnings. We wake up each morning with a clean slate, fresh and optimisticEach new day holds unlimited possibilities, both good and bad. The mistakes we made yesterday are in the past and we have gained better perspective about them.  We all make mistakes and through those mistakes we learn and grow. 

Anne: "But have you ever noticed one encouraging thing about me, Marilla? 
I never make the same mistake twice."

Marilla: "I don't know as that's much benefit when you're always making new ones."
― L.M. MontgomeryAnne of Green Gables

Well, tomorrow is a new day and it is time for me to go bed and wait to see what it holds for me.

Have a great rest of your day.


Friday, May 3, 2013

the story of my life... 250 words or less

I follow the blog Story of My Life and Jenni, the blogger had a post early this week sharing her life in 250 words.  It was the first post in her series of blog every day in May challenge. Needless to say I failed this challenge since today is May 3rd! I thought I would share a little about my life though, and try to keep it to 250 words or less.

I was born in a suburb of Chicago in the mid 70's. I have two brothers (one older and one younger). I lived in a small town until I was 15 and then moved to an even smaller one.  I was obsessed with Anne of Green Gables (still kind of am). I wanted to be a photojournalist, so I went to a small liberal arts college and majored in Journalism/Communications with a double concentration in Advertising/PR and Graphic Design. I played soccer in college until I got hurt. Met my husband my freshman year and we got engaged my junior year. My first job after college was at a small ad agency in Chicago. Got married in June of 1999.  Moved a lot. Lived in Hilton Head, SC for two years. Got homesick. Moved back to IL and bought our condo. Got a job doing marketing for a park district. Finally got pregnant in 2009 and delivered a healthy baby girl in January 2010. Quit my job at the end of 2011 to stay home. Started doing freelance photography and graphic design last summer and went back to work part time at the park district doing graphic design.  I am so thankful that my career path has afforded me the ability to stay home with my daughter and still do what I love.  Along the way we have acquired two cats, a dog and two hermit crabs! I give thanks every day for the life I have been given.

249 words! Considering I ramble a lot, I am amazed! 

Have a great rest of your day!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I Won!

I am so excited!  I enter online giveaways all the time, but never win.  So when I logged on to Facebook and saw that I won, I had to keep checking to make sure it really was me!!

This is what I won!

An amazing bracelet from Kiel James Patrick

I can't wait to get it! 

Have a great rest of your day!


Monday, April 29, 2013


The last four months have held a lot of changes for us.  The two biggest changes are - Gwen is now pacifier free and completely potty trained! We are so proud of our big girl.  Both things happened rather quickly.

Two days before Christmas, Gwen announces she needs to give all her pacis to Santa.  Joe and I were completely in shock.  We thought for sure she would be taking them to college with her :) We went shopping and bought her a little treasure box to put them in and then on Christmas Eve we left them on the counter with a letter to Santa.  Santa was to give all Gwen's pacis to other little children who needed them.  On Christmas morning, in place of the pacis, there were all kinds of big girl presents - nail polish and lip gloss as well as all kinds of princess items. As of that moment we have been pacifier free!

The second big, big change is that Gwen is completely potty trained!  I do owe some of this to my mom.  Gwen spent the last weekend in January at my parent's house and my mom got Gwen to try and use the potty.  I had been trying since her second birthday, the January before, but to no avail.  I was hoping this was the start and she would be potty trained by the time we went on vacation the second week of April.

So on February 1 Gwen and I started potty training full force.  It was definitely frustrating the few days, for both of us, but we made it!  I moved her little potty into the living and set an egg timer for ever 15 minutes. She would hear the timer go off and sit on the potty. We did this for about a week. Next step was just urging her to try every 30 minutes.  We were doing really well.  The other key was to have her wear her big girl undies.  If I put a pull up on her, she would just wet the pull up. We also used dum-dum suckers for her rewards.  I know some people use m&m's, but Gwen doesn't like chocolate. A side note too, Gwen had been waking up dry in the morning for months, so night wetting thankfully has not been an issue.

Week three we moved the potty back into the bathroom and she was doing very well with that. We were still having a few accidents here and there, but on the whole she was doing well, even with pooping on the potty!

We made a deal with her, when she was having no more accidents, she could get a hermit crab when we got back from vacation!

Two months after we started, we are completely potty trained and we have two new additions - Nick and Sally the hermit crabs!


Very Happy Big Girl!
My baby is now a big girl.  This fall she starts preschool. I am not going to think about that today, though!  Today is suppose to be beautiful. Time to get outside and play.

Have a great rest of your day!


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Mini Fashionista

My little fashionista posing in her nautical inspired ensemble. 

Gwen's outifit:
Top -  Old Navy
Jeans -  Target
Shoes -  Nine West (mommy's and really old!)

These would look so cute though!

Have a great rest of your day!


Monday, April 22, 2013

Sunny Day

Sweepin' the clouds away
On my way to where the air is sweet :)

Last week was a long week.  The first week back after a vacation is always difficult - trying to get back on schedule and back to a routine. Then add a pesky little virus to the mix and now we all need another vacation.

Gwen was running a fever for a couple of days and was just not herself. She built herself a little nest and just snuggled up in the big blue chair. She is a really good sharer and now I am not feeling fabulous.

Today is sunny and finally warm enough to open all the windows and air out the house. Hopefully all the pesky little germs will fly away on the breeze!

I am so ready for summer.  This winter and spring have been so cold and miserable.  I want to get rid of the sweaters and boots and break out the cute sundresses and sandals.  I got a pedicure from my husband as one of my birthday presents while we were on vacation.  Now that we are home, my pretty toes are hiding beneath socks and closed toe shoes :(

So in honor of the nice weather I put together an April wish/want/bought list. Some of the items I did get already, some are in transit as we speak (I am a bit of an junkie!) and others are just things I really, really want!

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

I am hoping to post a recap and some of the photos from our recent trip to Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana later this week.  We are still sorting all the photos out!

Hope you have a great rest of your day!


Friday, April 19, 2013

Finding Purpose

The older I get, the more I try to live my life with purpose. I just celebrated another birthday and it has me really looking hard at my life. I have been pondering the same questions I think we all do as we get older.
What have I done?
What have I learned?
How have I made a difference?

Life has not turned out the way I had imagined it would when I went off to college almost 20 years ago.  Somethings have surpassed my expectations and others have fallen extremely short.  I had such grand plans for my life. When I graduated, I was either going to work for a big newspaper as a photojournalist or be an advertising executive.

Upon graduating, which I did in 3 1/2 years, I took a job in advertising.  It was amazing and taught me so much.  One of the biggest things it taught me though, was I was not meant to work in advertising!

In the last 16 years I have had several jobs, all in the graphic design and marketing field. Three years ago though,  I began the best job - being a mom. I am so blessed to be able to stay home with my daughter (I still work part-time from home and do freelance photography and graphic design on the side). My daughter has brought me so much joy and fulfillment. Fulfillment which I never felt in any job position I have ever had.

My husband and I waited to have our daughter. We were not always sure we wanted children. We love to travel and do things on whims, which with having children is not as easy. We both agree though, that we feel complete now that we have her. All the sacrifices are so worth it. We give thanks every day for the gift of her.

So to answer my questions:
What have I done? I have a college degree. I have worked continuously in my field of study, in one way or another.  I may not have done anything ground breaking, I didn't win a Pulitzer for any of my photos or Clio for any advertising campaign I designed.  My career path has afforded me the ability to work from home and take a lot of pictures of the cutest model ever :).

What have I learned? I have learned that above awards do not even compare to my greatest accomplishment, being a mom. I never thought being a mom was what I was meant to be when I grew up. I have learned that the most important thing is family. I work to live. I do not live to work.  I want to enjoy what I do, but I don't want my job to be my life, except for the job I have now!

How have I made a difference?  This one I am still pondering.  I hope I have made a difference in the lives of my family.  I guess for now though, that is all that really matters.

If at the end of it all, my sole purpose in life was to be a good mother, daughter, wife, sister, granddaughter, niece and friend, I am completely fine with that.

Each morning upon waking, I say my prayers and thank God for the life I do have, for the new day I have been given and for all the possibilities that the day holds.