Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Best of 2013: #1-5

The best Big and Small moments of our year.
(In no particular order.)

1. Family Trip to Florida.
My most favorite moments: Searching for sand dollars with The Kid and Quincy, holding the alligators, eating swordfish during a sunset dinner and watching the cousins (and broders) love each other.

2. 2013 was The Year The Kid FINALLY Got It.  After many years of Coach's suffering, his son began to listen to his gentle advice and used what the good Lord gave him and actually tried at athletics.  And by golly... It worked!!

3. Sweetbreads and Warhol married.
The day will forever be known as the day it rained more inches than any where on the planet, ever in the history of ever... except during those 10 beautiful minutes they said their vows.
(It will also secretly be known as the day a few of us ladies began to re-think our fashion choices... Not Sweetbreads... she was beautiful.)

(Great picture)
4. I remembered why I liked Coach.  This year, our children became old enough to wipe their own butts and take care of basic hygiene needs... apparently both are accomplishments which helped two parents slowly climb out of Baby Zone and back into a place where we remembered we were our own people. (I'm not talking about dirty stuff, perverts...)
For example, having more opportunities to chat, laugh and remember why we like each other.  (So there you have it... I like my husband... hopefully this declaration doesn't jinx anything and 2014 is not the year Coach Jacked Up our Good Roll.)

5. Coco's hair grew, her freckles popped and she became Breath.taKing.

But she still screamed during the Annual Shelbyville picture... keeping up her tradition of being Coco difficult.

The Best of 2013: #6-10

The very best Big and Little Moments of our year.
(In no particular order...)
6. Coco's Sweet Shop Opens!
Providing it's namesake with many, many trips uptown for mint candies.

7. The Rock of Ages Dance event.
We know so many great people, who (for some reason) are always willing to help with our crazy ideas!

 Our Next Relay for Life Dance is "Friends in Low Places" on January 25th.

8. Engagements and Engagement Parties.
We celebrated (really celebrated) the upcoming wedding of Sweetbreads and Warhol earlier in 2013.

And the happy recent engagement of Flag Girl and Chili D (wedding coming soon!!).  I also captured the best Photo Bomb on top of a Photo Bomb. (Photo Bomb squared)

9. Tinkerbell flies..
My middle became a Big Girl version of her little girl body.  Practicing and perfecting her cheering, piano lessons, reading, Tball and general adorable awesomeness.

10. A Cubs Game Couple Style and The Cubs Game crowning Coach the Greatest Dad ever...

 In July, Coach and I spent a great Saturday night in Chicago.  Rooftop game with friends, great hotel stay and the perfect quiet Sunday morning walking the city and lunching on deep dish pizza.
 A few weeks later, Coach was offered 4 tickets to another game and within hours threw together an amazing evening for him and his kids.  He honestly refers to it as one of his best Dad nights ever.
** This is also one of the best pictures ever taken of our babies.  It so perfectly captures each personality.

A pretty great year!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Our Christmas.

It felt a little as if our Five Family was the most over-scheduled it has ever been, over the last five weeks.  As a result, around mid-night on December 23rd I declared "Enough.  I'm exhausted and stressed.  We have yet to just really relax and enjoy our children..."
We hunkered down and spent a few extra hours more than usual, just being in our home.
First a little Christmas Eve cookie decorating.

The girls were gifted (not by us!) a make-up set from one of our many Christmas parties.  Coco took it upon herself to model every shade of eye shadow... Looks like she needs another lesson on 'Less is More'.  Unless maybe she's nervous about being mistaken for a boy, like her mother.

Matching Christmas jammies.

 It was a Frozen Christmas from their parents.  Unfortunately, the Elsa dolls sold out before I got to the mall.. Maybe that's why people start shopping before December 17th.

 Coco's Santa present:  She asked for this Pony doll.. over and over and over and over... And over.

The Kid had an electronic Christmas. Booooooring.
And Tink receive her HUGE bag filled with ten pairs of jammies.  Have you ever seen a child so excited and in love with pajamas?
Though admittedly, ten pairs of pajamas costs WAY more than one may realize....

The best part of our Christmas morning:
we gathered around the tree and listened to Tink play Jingle Bells and We Wish You a Merry Christmas.  As a non-music player, it is amazing to see her tiny fingers dance over the keys.

I hope everyone in blog world felt as lucky as we did.

Monday, December 23, 2013


There is a great photographer who takes pictures at local sporting events.  People should always take advantage of his talents because it is such a gift to keep shots like these:
Some of you may have heard, Coach is taking a break from coaching.  He has been coaching as long as the girls have been alive. We decided it would be nice if Coach had the opportunity to simply be a fan.
All of that said, it hasn't stopped Coach from volunteering several hours on The Kid's team and many many hours working with the youth program.  And I fully support his contributions to that program because I believe he is the best example for great sportsmanship.
Honestly though, Coach misses the action in seriously competitive ball.  This weekend, Jake captured one of my new favorite pictures of our Coach.
You'll notice him, dressed in green, sitting alone just behind the team's bench.
I added the following caption:

"Hey guys!!  It's me... Coach!  Hey... I still really love basketball.. I really do.. I'll be back soon, my dumb wife and kids can't keep me down for good... Guys!!  Boys!! It's me.. up here!  Do you see me?? Guys, do you want me to jump in the huddle??  Do you need me to give a solid high-five or butt smack??  Maybe I could play for a couple minutes??  I have a pair of gym shorts hidden under my jeans!  Guys... can you hear me??  I'm up here.. It's me, Coach..."

I'm almost positive those are his thoughts verbatim, directly from inside his head.

Monday, December 16, 2013


Warhol sent a mass text message which simply read:

July 13th.

Can anyone guess what that meant?!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Three Reasons why we love Tink.

In just 24 hours, Tink proved three times, why this blog was originally written with her as the inspiration.
1.  Her School Christmas Pageant:
She was asked to wear plain black leggins and a plain green or red shirt.  To match the other elves in her grade.  We put on the required outfit but then, Tink says "You know... Elves like tall socks.. and you know, Elves like sparkle socks and probably sparkle shoes.. Elves would REALLY like that.. really" And then looked me square in the eye to emphasize her point.
So she wore sparkle leg warmers.
 (Do you like my garbage bag tree skirt??)

2. Yesterday, while practicing for the Church Christmas Pageant... Tink was front and center, with two of her other mini First Grade Friends.  Each child is standing sweetly in their spot.  On the large, Catholic alter... then, while calmly singing Silent Night as a group, Tink suddenly rocked out the Air Guitar: on her LEG.
Moments later, she head-banged during Joy to the World. (I mean.. that makes a little more sense than a Silent Night leg Air Guitar...)
The actual program during Mass on Saturday, may get reeeeal interesting. Gramma G- Maybe you'd better stay home.  Or at the very least, cross yourself a few extra times for your grand-daughter's soul.

3. Just hours after the air guitar... we gathered at the kitchen table to write letters to Santa.  Each child is allowed to ask Santa for one important (yet reasonable) gift.
Below, is Tink's actual letter.

Tink is asking Santa for One giant box, filled with 10 pairs of pajamas.  Tru Story.  You may also notice the (1.) in the upper right corner... she snuck that in at the last second, before the letters went into the envelope.  She wrote that, to make sure Santa read her letter before reading her sister's letter.
I honestly can not make Tink's stories up.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

An Elf Sex Change.

After two years of constant "Why can't we have a girl Elf??" complaints, we decided to give our boy Elf a lil Sex Change.  When I presented the idea to Coach, he barely reacted with surprise and simply responded "We're doing WHAT with the Elf??"
We're performing a Sex Change.
Because nothing actually changed on our Elf (I'm certainly not shelling out the cash to purchase a whole new Elf kit)... I decided what we needed was a back story.  First the girls woke up to a note on the kitchen table, which read:
Oh... Elves can't write or read good... funny little uneducated elves...
See, it makes sense the Elf looks the same, because they are brother and sister.  Get it?!  Next, I decided to name the Elf myself.  I thought both names should start with an F.  And because this house is Tinkerbell crazy, I choose 'FiFibell' as the new name.
I asked Coach: What do you think of FiFibell?  Is it too much or just right?

Coach: Doesn't matter to me... I'm still just gonna call it The Elf.

Coach is fun and festive.
Next, I set the scene.
I decided the little sister would want to arrive with more flair than her very boring big brother.  I dressed her in the new skirt, posed her sweetly, threw marshmallows every where and sprinkled glitter all over her.

I became nervous this was not convincing.  I worried this idea could blow up in my face and actually cause the girls to realize this whole elf thing is a scam.  I started questioning Coach "Is this enough?  Should she wear a Barbie tank top?  What else can we do??"

Coach pretty much ignored me.
Me: You're really not helping at all?  You could at least offer a suggestion or pretend to listen as I bounce ideas off you...

Coach: I don't know what to tell you!  I've never given a doll a sex change before!

Me: Me either!
Me: Well... I guess that's not true.  I once cut off all my Barbie's hair to try and turn her into a Ken doll.  It didn't really work.

Remembering that Ken mistake did nothing to help my anxiety.
It went perfectly!
We smiled and played dumb.  Pretending to be just as excited and surprised as the girls.  (well... Coach at least raised his eyebrows a couple times..) I'm not sure why I worried.  We live in a fairly liberal and LGBT sympathetic home.  Our children are cool with change.  No biggie.
I figure, I'll place FiFibell in a few overly girlie situations over the next couple nights.  And then ease into ignoring her, just as much as her big brother.
Holiday cheer and all that...

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Inside the Parent with an Elf

It's been too long since I posted.
Maybe we've been insanely busy.
Maybe I've been waiting to see if any body else would wish The Kid a Happy Birthday... (only 4 comments?)
Maybe we go to basketball games every night and hosted Thanksgiving and etc.
The show must go on.

The Elf on the Bleepin Shelf:
We purchased our elf years ago.  We were one of the first families to jump on this trend.  Our Elf is a boy and The (young) Kid named him Flash (because he's so fast yada yada...) Way back when this trend began, The Elf was meant to be a Mall Santa within your own home.  Watching daily to see if your child has been naughty or nice.
Now Elves are causing mischief and decorating rooms, gathering other toys.. How does the Elf have time for this?? Isn't he flying to and from the North Pole? Our Elf can barely remember to jump from one shelf to another only feet away.
I was browsing The Net the other evening and showed this idea to Coach:
He looked and immediately started shaking his head: No. Nope. I don't like that.  That makes my belly hurt.
Me (laughing): What do you mean?!
Coach: I don't know... it just makes my belly feel funny.  The floating goldfish.. it's not right.  I don't like it.
Me (really laughing now): Why?  You know, no one is going to make you eat those floating fish?!
Coach (not laughing, he's totally serious): No.  I don't know that.  That water is too blue.  The fish look weird.  We're not doing that.
After The Kid learned 'The Truth' we (gladly) gifted him two important holiday season jobs.  1. He is the Elf Checker.  He checks each morning to see if we have forgotten to move the Elf, if we have forgotten (which happens often) he gets to move it.  2. The Kid is the Santa cookie eater, milk drinker. Thankfully, because I am NOT eating one more cookie that a grimy little girl has touched.
Any way... where is this rant headed??
Well.... tonight, our Elf is undergoing a Sex Change. Tru Story.
The girls have been bummed for years that they have a Boy Elf when everyone in their whole world has a girl.  This weekend, while in Target, I spontaneously purchased Elf skirts.  And declared to Coach, We're giving our Elf a sex change.
As you can imagine, his reaction was priceless.
Turn in tomorrow, to read the entire process.

Friday, November 22, 2013

The First Baby.

With your first child, a parent reaches each new milestone or birthday with a sense of equal parts: Excitement, Eager Anticipation and Undeniable Melancholy. Their first day of Junior High, their first real game, their next big birthday.  Each 'event' of their lives is inevitably the newest and biggest shared 'first' for the both of you.  It has become common knowledge: each of The Kid's birthdays which further separates me from my once snugly baby boy, breaks my heart a little. Until Today.
With complete confidence, I can declare The Kid to be the most happy of his entire life.  The Kid loves hard, he breaks easy, he second guesses and wants so badly to belong.  He views himself with a fun house mirror, unable to accurately see the beauty and goodness inside, which is so clear to the rest of us. 
Until recently.  At an age when so many other boys are suffering from a pre-teen identity crisis, The Kid is settling into himself.  It is amazing to watch.  I have been his front row, center stage Fan Club President since the very first moment I knew I was becoming a mother. 

This Fall, The Kid received the best report card of his life. (which is saying something...) His teacher conference was glowing (which is REALLY saying something..) He has made good and tru friends.  He is (mostly) doing his own laundry (and actually liking it because it makes him feel 'grown up').  His Speech team won a Best in Show award.  And he is GROWING (3 jeans sizes in 12 months. Ouch.)

He began pitching for his school baseball team.  A position he steadfastly avoided due to nerves.  While watching his first full inning of strike-outs, tears streamed down my cheeks.  My throat was tight and I could barely breathe from the wash of emotion.
Sure... I Heart a great strike-out.  But the tears were not a result of pride from an athletic accomplishment.  Instead I was so overwhelmingly pleased for his confidence in himself.  I have never seen my son with such a comfortable strength.  It is the most beautiful thing in the world, to witness your child becoming themselves.

I have spent the past ten years utterly convinced I would never again see anything cuter than his chunky toddler smile.  Those big brown eyes, hidden deep inside his chubba cheeks... that was the best it would ever get. So color me surprised to realize his twelve year old mini-man face is suddenly ALSO the cutest thing eva?!  Man sized jeans and American Eagle tshirts?  Possibly even cuter than little Carter's onesies on rolly polly legs.  How can that be?

I love this child so much it hurts.
We have probably never made more mistakes and yet without question, Coach and I have done our very best parenting on this amazing boy.  The Kid glued our three hearts together.  How could he ever have reason to second guess anything?  Because falling in love with The Kid, was easily The Most Important milestone of our adult lives.

Happy Birthday, to the First Baby.
My birthday wish for you is simple: to continue to be so darn happy.  To be your best self.  To strive to be as kind as your father and as brave as your mother.  Be so much more than a good grade... be a good person.
I have never believed in anything so completely, as I believe in your heart.  Everything right I have ever done, was to bring you to this joyful space in your life.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Bro in Laws.

As promised, following my Thank-full Post, a new picture of the Brother in Laws:
Aren't they cute?

But the real reason I like them, is for their funny.  Because sometime before this pic was snapped, one of these men said (from his own personal experience):

"... you can never un-take your cousin to the prom."

I'll never reveal who made that confession... but just know... it was easily the funniest thing said all week.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Fairy Tales...

Over the weekend, Flag Girl and Chili D became engaged to be married!
In every great childhood Fairy Tale, the story line is essentially the same: the beautiful princess begins her story with a struggle... She is forced by life to start an adventure.  The Princess is thrown out into the elements.  She must over come a dragon, fight the evil step-mother, travel to a far away land and battle through tough elements.
Near the end of each fairy tale, the beautiful princess is either found by her Prince or realizes the man fighting the elements along side her: has been her Prince all along.
It is the long story, which makes the ending so much sweeter.
Congrats to the Princess and Prince,
for finding their fairy tale love in each other. 
Cheers to your Happily Ever After!


In addition, Doc and Clark are celebrating their Golden Anniversary today.  A couple so adorably matched.  Who support and believe in honoring the best in each other.  With two full decades of 'Good Times'.  May the rest of us, follow in your footsteps! You have created an amazing life together.

Congratulations to both beautiful sistas. 
They deserve all their happiness.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Happy Birthday to my Guy.

While browsing old Coach posts, I began to collect my favorite quotes I have written about how I feel for him.  (Because occasionally, I give him the credit he deserves on this blog.)
February 14, 2013
"You make me giggle in a manner I didn't think was possible, for a woman so inherently opposed to cutesie-girl giggles."
May 6, 2012
"Coach is always exactly and amusingly who you'd expect him to be. There is hardly a person alive, who does not enjoy the company of Coach.  Me... especially."
April 10, 2012
".... because is there anything better, than making Coach contagiously giggle??".
November 10, 2011
"I can hardly resist your ridiculously confident smile. (gosh knows there are many times I try to stay angry and your stupid cuteness gets in my way). Above all, you are my laugh."
May 6, 2011
"So often, Coach is the main character in our story because he typically shines much brighter than I. Except the trait which has always made him unique, is the joy he finds in other people's happiness."
November 10, 2010
"Coach: You are the pepperoni on our pizza.  The Bounce in our step.  The swish of our free-throw.  The bacon on top of our nachos.  Without you, this family would be pretty bland." 
Coach is aww-shucksly adorable.
He is sweet and kind.  He is honestly one of the only two people (his father) I have met who genuinely wakes every single morning with the intention to simply remain happy throughout his day.  He has a faith in his heart which allows him to believe in the warmth of people.  I am a better person for loving him.  My children will undoubtedly become the best versions of themselves with Coach enthusiastically in their corner.
Happy Birthday, Coach.
You are without question,
my most Favorite Grown-up. Ever.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

One Huge Blow-out November Thank-fuLL Post!!

Rather than every day post my 30 days of November gratefulness, I am knocking this out in one giant post. (with the exception of the first two, these are in no particular order...)

1. Obviously, my babies.  How I created such beauty and character, is beyond me..
2. My Coach.
3. Having the ability to own a home.
4. My yoga sTudio!
5. Coach's successful business.
6. My sister-in-laws.  Whom are both my sisters and my best girl-friends.
(Ummm this is weird, my only recent picture of the sister in laws, was taken at the end of a Bachelorette Party and with the bartender... ignore the part of his face I wasn't able to cut out.)

7. Repeat all of the above sentiments and include my brother-in-laws (legal and not yet legal).
8. My amazing nieces and nephews who make me a very happy Aunt. (Including the newly turned 5 niece, Joy.  Happy Birthday!)

9. My Temper-pedic bed. For realz.
10. Reading anything by my fellow bloggers, especially because they are also my buddies.
11. Our Relay Dances.  And the many people who help make our dances so amazingly fun.  Including our DJ's and performers.
12. Our puppy. (that one just made Coach puke in his mouth a little bit...)
13. Our small town life.
14.  The ability to afford to travel away from our small town life.  And create amazing memories.

15.  Our children's health.  Their brilliant minds and capable bodies.  Which allow them to participate in all the activities filling our calender. 
16.  My in-laws.  I could not have hand-picked a better couple to call my second parents.
17.  Our family's only great-parent GG.  And her NINETY-SEVENTH birthday, which she celebrated this week.

18. Coco's Sweet Shop, for making my mother happy.  Though I do not thank Cupcake Saturdays or Dark-chocolate covered carmels sprinkled in sea salt. (or rather my jeans do not thank..)

19. My brother.  For setting a positive example to my children, for how hard the human spirit can and should fight for happiness.

20. Mass text-messages.  So often they are the most funny part of my day.

21. My Favorite Band.

22. My parents.  For giving me life. Pretty big deal.
23. The soft blankets Gramma made. (especially in November, when my hibernating kicks into high-gear.)
24. My children's sweet little friends, which are all taking a spot in my heart.

25. That two sets of parents chose me to be a god-mother.  I love the honor.
26. The amazingly funny people that surround me.  Our nights out laughing are my favorite.
27. New Orleans.  While I am not there now, it just helps to know it's still out there.  Waiting.  NOLA 2014, who's with me?!

28. I'm thankful my old-lady knee is feeling much better.  That was really starting to tick me off.
29. DVR. Seriously.  I am.
30.  Last, I am thankful because: while I normally have only like 4 white blood cells on a good day, Someone Up There has taken the time to watch over my health and provide me with the opportunity to enjoy everyone and everything numbered 1-29..

Now use the Comment section to give me at least 5 things you are thankful for.. and include some funny.  The Comment section is missing funny.