Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Princess Grace of Monaco


Happy THIRTEENTH Birthday!! WHAT?! 13? Are you kidding? Teenager??!
Weren't you just a lil girl with a short little brunette bob and cutesie blunt toddler bangs?  And now you have movie star long locks. Weren't you just dressed in mini Cubbie Bear pink jerseys and Nike tennis skirts and NOW you're always dressed in your totally impressive team colors... Weren't you just a mini shy little four year old with a secret careful smile and quiet whispers to your cousins and now... well... now that's still pretty much the same.
Except now you are a teenager!
And then next Quincy will be a teenager.
And then The Kid will be... ummm.. still just my The Kid. Let's not talk about it.
Happy Birthday beautiful Mona.  My children adore you.  They all have crowned Princess Grace the most hilarious cousin.  And Coach is so awed and impressed by your catching skills on the softball field.  He brags about you ALL. The. Time. For realz.
And Me? I'm just honored to be your Aunt.
Sending lots of love, from up North.  I hope your day was amazing.

Maybe the Cutest Picture Ever.

Tonight was officially the First evening all three kids played a sport on the same evening.
Coco had Tball at 5:00pm.
Tink had softball at 5:00pm.
The Kid had baseball at 6:00pm.
All on different fields but thankfully in the same complex.
I wore my tennis shoes tonight and got a mini work-out.
It was hot, sweaty, maybe too sunny (if that's possible....) but all three kids hit.  And they're pretty cute.  And for Coach?? These nights make him beyond happy.  He's even more skippy than usual. "Let's take this one for a ride, boys!"

Monday, May 26, 2014

Happy Big Weekend Sweetbreads!

Pre-Pregnant Sweetbreads was a totally cool chick.  A sharp dresser, always up for a great time.  The first to arrive, the last to leave.  A cool calm cucumber with a quiet but quick sarcasm. 
And I will be darned if totally near-the-end pregnant Sweetbreads is not still ALL those things!  And to boot, she's actually, surprisingly pretty sweet and maybe even nicer?? Wha??  How is that fair?!  She dresses in large horizontal stripes and looks amazing!  She attends yoga once a week and even pulled off an handstand at nearly 6 months along.  She still arrives early to the party and STILL outlasts the crowd... she's social, charming, her hair looks great (standard) and she has barely once had a single thing to complain about.
So she gets to be completely cool not pregnant.....
And totally awesome while pregnant?
That doesn't seem right.
She will even celebrate her and Warhol's First Wedding Anniversary this week by attending a concert in Chicago. So fine Sweetbreads, you win, you are the most cool sister-in-law. Stop showing off.
Happy Birthday and Anniversary to one of my favs.
I'm super glad Warhol tricked you into loving him.
And I am BEYOND excited for new baby snuggles.
(I seriously mean... BEYOND EXCITED...)

Friday, May 23, 2014

Happy Graduation Jumbo Joe!

Tonight you graduate High School,
and we are so proud to be your family.
Not just because you are totally beautiful.
Not because you are a sharp dresser.
Not even because of your great smile, your four years of touchdowns or your amusing, cute sometimes almost adorably ditsy personality...
I am proud to be your aunt because of your heart.
Maybe you think I've never noticed... maybe you haven't even realized that you do this... maybe every other person in the world would not think this was 'such a big deal'... But I have noticed.
Every time we have had a gathering, a party, even once at Springfest: You, Jumbo Joe, always take the time to acknowledge my brother.  You always agree to play catch with him.  You always graciously accept his high-five or handshake. You always make very polite conversation or toss a game of bags.  In return, Joel has always tried his best to attend your games (which is really such a huge accomplishment in his world).  You have never hesitated to be his friend and because of those simple acts, you have become important to Joel.  Maybe these were little, insignificant moments in your day... but they have meant the world to Joel.  And to me.
I understand school hasn't exactly been your thing..
And you are currently unsure where your future will take you,
still I pray you never lost your heart.  Never let the world chip away at your spirit.  Never lose the ability to simply be kind to someone, other people often look through. 
With your amazing heart, you will certainly become a tru-ly great man.
I love you Jumbo Joe.
Thanks for always being You.
Happy Graduation.

And to Flag Girl-
You have done the most wonderful job. Your boys were both so very lucky to have your love (and your earlobe rubbing).  Congratulations mom, on raising two exceptionally kind men.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Typical Last Child...

the poor baby of the family.
You have never had a photo shoot, devoted solely to yourself.
After five birthdays, you've had only two invitations made.
All of the Firsts in our home, have already been accomplished.
You've never had your own bedroom, you even share a bed.
You can't even get your birthday blog, on your actual birthday...

But you are not ignored.
You would never allow that to happen, not even for a moment.
You are utterly and completely exhausting. 
You are the loud, bright, attention stealing Grand Finale of the most grand firework show.  Born with the absolute certainty that we 'saved the best for last'.

My Coco is a bundle of enthusiastic giggles, drama-program expressions and bedazzled Jazz Hands.  She absorbs the energy from every room, she chases falling stars and attacks each day with Christmas Morning excitement. 

Coco is friendly, kind and without prejudice as she chooses her new friends.  I picture a young Coach, so much like his baby girl.  Happily waving, skipping with anticipation for each new activity.. running to 'catch-up' to their older siblings. Coco/Coach eagerly wants to be just as fast as her sister, just as tall as her brother, with just as many friends and just as many stories at dinner.  And like her father, she is genuinely sympathetic towards each family member.  She craves all our love and equally returns our affection.  She worries if we are injured, she cheers as we perform, she races to hold our hands and searches the crowd for each of our smiles.

But unlike her father, Coco is quick with her little competitive temper.  Quick to stomp a foot or throw a toy, if she feels ignored or unfairly (according to her) disciplined.  Coco wants everything RIGHT NOW.
At five years old, I'm afraid she has nearly defeated me.  Her will is strong, her spirit is stubborn and her confidence is unwavering. She has made it clear that no one will ever put this baby in a corner.

When she slows, for just a moment, just long enough to capture a quick picture or to hug her tightly, or to catch her sleeping so deeply.... you are struck by her beauty.  Beneath the blur of rhinestones and sass, hides the most adorably freckled nose.  Coco's crazy chocolate brown curls float around her, as her full snow white lips, curl easily into the sneakiest smile.. And her Kaleidoscope eyes, change according to her mood or environment. Even her eyes are too spirited to settle on just one color.

To My Baby-
There have been many days, when you have completely spent your mother.  Often weeks have passed where you have won more days than I have.  Raising you will likely be the death of me... But I accept the challenge.  The walls of our home echo with your joy.  You are the sweetest treat in our chocolate box called life. You make us more. I was missing you.. before I met you.
Happy Fifth Birthday, my bouncing baby girl.
You win, I love you a bajillion ka-zillion times best.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Happy 22nd Birthday, One!!

If you could only believe in yourself, half as much as your large extended family... you would be unstoppable.  You are your mom's first baby.  The first grand-child. The first little nephew.  The first Jr Groomsmen.  The first to steal our hearts. 
And we all 'see' you.  We really see you.
We know you are capable.
A gifted salesman, a charming spirit, a quick snap of perfectly snapped sarcasm and a quiet soul.
Wake up tomorrow and plan an ADVENTURE! Love life. Love yourself. Take a trip.  Kiss a girl.  Get a passport and fly to Greece.  Read a new book.  Apply for a bunch of crazy jobs.  Register for a class. Make a new friend, worthy of your friendship. Smile at a stranger and just LIVE!
You're 22 kid... this only happens once.
There are no words to describe how much you are loved.
Happy Birthday!
(ohhh... and you're pretty cute too.)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Yesterday, we traveled out of town, to a school which caters solely to children with behavioral issues, children living within unfortunate circumstances or in foster care.  We arranged to do a brief demonstration on using yoga to calm negative thoughts and improve self esteem. Next, Coach cut two boys' hair.  Typically, all the boys are not afforded the opportunity to go to a professional Barber (because of money or because of the lack of attention).
Coach has been doing these cuts at another similar classroom environment, several times a year for the last couple years.  He goes on his Mondays off, when I am teaching yoga.  I have never witnessed first hand, the impact he has on these boys.
Coach began by showing the kids a few basketball tricks.  Drills they could do in their home, when they do not have access to their own hoop.  The boys immediately responded to Coach.  Loving the attention he paid to them.  After the first hair cut, I was near the back of the room and watched the boy sneak over to a mirror... He smiled so big but immediately tried to hide his smile, wanting to be too Jr High cool to show pure emotion.  Rather than be jealous, the other boys in class were genuinely happy for him. "You look so fancy! You look like a movie star!"
Coach did not receive parental permission to cut all the boys in class and it killed us, to leave the others scruffy.  I was so moved by the confidence and pure joy that a child can receive from a $14 haircut that so many other children take for granted.
The children loved Coach.  Asking him so many questions.  I wished The Kid could have been with us, to see the impact his father had in just a few short hours.  Many of the boys in that classroom, lack a positive male example in their lives. Coach has learned to be such an extraordinary and humble man from his own father.  Coach will hate that I used the Internet, to discuss his Monday. He would never want a Big Deal made out of something that was simply the right thing to do.

Long Story Short:
Today is our Wedding Anniversary.
And it continues to be confirmed that I made an amazing choice.
Coach's loving spirit, still makes me catch my breath and pause.
Happy Anniversary Coach-
choosing to take the path that led me to you, was the smartest decision of my life.

Springfest 2014

This weekend we held our 4th Annual Springfest Festivities. 
I think it is safe to declare it the Best Year to date.  The weather was beautiful (little windy) the stage was phenomenal, I loved the booths and the picnic tables.  And the food was amazing!
Amazing job planning by all involved.
Especially, Grammy.

Tink LOVED throwing a Pie in The Bride's face.  Tink thought this was hysterical... she is still talking about it.
Coco's Daddy did not appreciate seeing this picture, after the fact.

Check out Tink's sweet Tatt.
Cuz she 'lobes her mom'.