Friday, July 31, 2009

July Loves

When are the fireflies gonna start?
Reacting to each individual firework explosion, with delight.
Loving the new names we gave each other at the park while playing catch: Iacocco, Lucinda, Lucille and Blanket (my tribute to MJ).
Knocking on the bathroom door where Phoebe was, and with your lowest voice saying: "THIS IS DAD!"
Visiting Dad at work in the cafeteria (her fave place to lunch), Dad's coworker said: Lolly, when do you turn 5? She said: After 4.
Eating a strawberry and saying it tasted funny, and upon further reflection, saying: "It tastes like.....a toenail."
Your reaction to me singing you our lullaby...sweetie.
Riding your little bike at Grammy and Papas.
Convincing Papa that a cupcake was a good idea for breakfast.

Talking my ear off every. single. day. I love it.
Running in the grass of summer.
Questions in the morning, right when you wake up!
It's 5 days before your trip and I miss you already.
Your blue lips at swimming lessons.
Being so brave as you walked to the airplane with the jetblue guy.
Doing all the CA stuff: mudrace, beach, pioneer day, riding a pony, sewing, riding a bike.
Reported "I miss mommy" tears on last night of CA solo vaca.
Being really grown-up and trying hard for the family picture.
Your trail of scabs down your left leg from being crazy on the razor scooter.
Running down the hill and up again and down again.

Frustrated Handy Man.
Getting the painting done.
Planning a perfect 4th of July.
Taking days off to parent the girls when I couldn't
Getting the girls treats when you had a few days off with them.
Taking the time off so that I could work without worrying about sitters.
Singing hymns in the car when the earphones weren't working. Telling the girls you used to sing hymns on dates when your car only had AM radio.
Jason wondering why no "I miss Daddy" tears from Phoebz.
Being excited about the family picture.
Emailing me checkbook entries while I was still on vacation.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


I got pretty excited about our family photoshoot this past spring/summer.

I spent loads of time thinking about outfits, accessories, composition, set-ups, color schemes, dos and don'ts. Sometimes I had a hard time going to sleep at night, because I was thinking about it so much.

I had to drag a few of us along to get AS excited as me, or at least just a little more excited than they seemed to be.

The family portrait almost didn't happen because of a few health scares, but literally 10 hours before the originally scheduled time, we were back on. The stars aligned, rashes dissappeared and the ironing board was humming as every item pf clothing got a once-over.

The setting was the beautiful Cantigny Park in Wheaton, IL. We ran into a few other folks with photographic aspirations that morning, only we started at 8, so we had most of the park to ourselves for our session.

After 2 hours of photos, most of our clan was satisfied with the experience. Maybe even more then satisfied, I would say they ENJOYED it.

I have not seen a single frame from the day, but often I judge a picture by how I felt when it was taken, and so I know these are going to be amazing.

Here's some behind-the-scenes from the point n shoot:

Our set-ups included grandbabies, individual families, the original 6 (4 kids, 2 parents), sisters, siblings, and of course a jumping pose! I was holding Lolly for the jumps, so not sure I got too much height, but I am sure my bro and sis made up for it. I think I spotted Jason practicing some cheerleader splayed kicks in preparation for that set-up, so my hopes are high, even if my jumps weren't.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


After my 2.5 hour massage today, we headed to Pelican Harbor Aquatic Park in Bolingbrook, IL. It's a good deal.

We did the waterslides, the lazy river, the swimming, and my favorite part was reading HP7 on my lounge chair. I am not one to lay-out, so I was a bit paranoid, I layered on the sunscreen probably a little too often.

Here's Dad and me:

How cute is baby sister's swimsuit? And no, she is not standing on an apple box.

I've been lamenting my thighs since Niagara Falls, but after about a month of changing up my cardio, I did notice a slight difference. Suh-light, the ice cream sandwich did NOT help: was quintessential SUMMER:

Tonight, Sam is treating us to the Tastes of the Dominican. I can smell it from here, and it's gonna be good!


I've only been a bridesmaid in a few weddings, and a flower girl, only once. My sister and I were 7 and 4.

Here we are:

We found the dresses at Grammy's house, and so, here, my girls, at the same age in the same dresses:

I remember hating my dress when I had to wear it. But, what was I thinking? They're so cute. 1986 Woot!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Hey Chicago, Whaddya Say? I really liked that song. We heard it at Wrigley Field.

Jason and I used to live on Sheffield a quarter block from the field, and the neighborhood has changed so much in 10 years. I loved the game, and so did my girls! The Cubs Build-a-bear giveaway upon entering might have helped. The Ann Sather Cinnamon Rolls and Potbelly's mini Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies that I picked up on Belmont pre-game helped ME.

I admit, I fell asleep for a few innings, but I took pix for the rest of the game to keep my interest. It was really fun though. And Cubs WON!

Metra, the way to REALLY fuh-LY!, of course we had to sit on the TOP level:

Blue Men tossed out first pitch, LOVE.

I watched these little boys cute:

Monday, July 27, 2009

Easter in July

My mom thought it would be fun to have an easter egg hunt. So we did.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

New Food

As part of my transitioning diet to get off sugar, (yeah, it's not going TOTALLY well, but at least I haven't had a COKE) I am trying to find new go-to snacks. I am also on a pursuit for NON-fish oil sources of Omega-3.

Go Lean Crunch Honey Almond Flax Cereal


Stoneyfield Plain No Fat Yogurt

green ikea plasticware

Friday, July 24, 2009

She's Coming!

Thank goodness for bloodtests. Sister's immune!


My mom has been working on cupcakes. And I got to try some.

YUM. Yeah, taking a break from the sugar diet. I only had 1, not 2...which was really good, especially since in the old days, I might have had 3.


I polled the people coming down the escalator:




What row?

I was impressed at how many people remembered their seat.



When I heard: "28E, he's coming, he's right behind me."
I started sobbing.

And then he was there.

My girls stared at him for the next 4 hours.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


We made a sign.

Actually, I did not help make any part of THIS sign, I was in charge of the airport sign.

I did assist in putting it up on the house though.

She's Back

My little jet-setter got back from her trip.

Here she is in LA, Olivera St.

Dress Up

My mom has a dress-up closet at her house.

Look at the treasures I found:

These dresses are old, like at least 50 years old, probably more like 60...or more.

I smell a photoshoot coming on...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I have not given my dog a psuedonym. Her name is really and truly Chloe.

When my brother left 2 years ago for his mission, he made my mom promise him that Chloe would stay alive. She is nearing 13 or 14 years. We have figured out her age before, but then we always forget, and time passes and we try to figure it out again. In the end, we just say: she's old.

She is doing really well though. She still has quite youthful moments, and she is still good at leaping, jumping, bounding etc. She is almost completely bald, but has been since she was a young dog, she has some thyroid thing or something that is not life-threatening, but just makes her the first bald dachshund I've ever met.

I decided it was time for a portrait.

Man, I scared this dog. Once I got her to sit, she just shook and most of the time, refused to look at me.

I think she thinks I am going to let her off the hook, but she's wrong...we are going to try the portrait again in the next few days. And next time, I will rake the dead leaves on the set first.

SAM! Week

Little Brother is coming home.

Can you believe it's been 2 years? He has been ever-present since he left, but we have missed his presence at my Grandfather's Funeral and the blessing of our new niece.

Here is a video he sent us when he was training in Utah before he left for the Dominican Republic.

I miss him more this week then I have the entire 2 years, it's because I know I will squeeze him and smell him and shed tears on him so soon.

My girls are going to FUH-lip out when they see him...they have been praying for Sam every night for 2 years.

I imagine the family dog might be in danger of dropping dead when she is reunited with her boy...she's that old.

And he hasn't even met the 12th member of our family! EEEEEEEEEEK!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Only gets better from here. {?}

Lolly, diagnosed with 5ths Disease.

5ths Disease, a result of Parvovirus B19, which has some risks for pregnant women, if they contract it.

I am not pregnant, but my sister is.

And so after a long afternoon of information-gathering, 1st, 2nd, 3rd opinions, conversations, logic vs. gut-reaction, praying, tears and feelings of "This is NOT FAIR!", our much-anticipated family reunion has been altered.

My sister is opting to avoid the potential risks associated with possible exposure to 5ths Disease, and she and her family will not be there when our Sam gets off the plane.

Lolly is happy as a clam with her rashy self. Hard to believe that the effect's of this skin disease could be so harmful to an unborn fetus. I am devastated and cautiously tiptoeing around the hole that is in my heart at the thought of their absence.

To console myself, I turned my attention to our family photograph that I have been planning literally for weeks now, and emailed the photographer to let her know the session has gone from 12 down to 4. Turns out, she's pregnant too.

A break? Anyone got one? Arms open, ready to catch...

Tune Up

I got my med bracelet last year.

I really liked it, but it started tarnishing. I knew it wasn't real gold, but I thought it was some other metal that would stay gold looking...uh....nope.

Also, the cool red med charm fell off, and though I saved it on my dresser for weeks, of course it got lost.

So, last week I headed to the gold district and I randomly picked a jeweler. I had certain rules (mostly to do with ratio of men to women employees) about which one to walk into as I was walking by storefront after storefront. I expected I would need to visit more then one, but Esmeralda came through for me with one-stop shopping.

I had never seen such a delicate little med charm, and I fell in love with, even though it does not have room for inscription of further medical info, I thought it would do for now. I also got a pure gold bracelet that was a bit smaller then the original, and more feminine, and within the hour I had a new, snazzy bracelet!

And now the bracelet that was beginning to BUG in a major way, is delighting me again.

Monday, July 20, 2009

July 2007

This was one of the last celebratory moments I had with my ENTIRE family, over 2 years ago.

best video ever

We will reunite again this week, and I seriously can't take the waiting.

On the Job

Last week I wrangled for 2 different clients, and one job in New Jersey had a woman there who caught me in the act.

Photography by Michelle Alton.

I think I now know why my face hurts on a wrangling day.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


My friend invited Phoebe to go camping with her family.

I think she expressed concern for her urban up-bringing, and the lack of green in our concrete jungle, and that camping was a necessity. I was convinced.

We made a deal with Phoebe. If she could save up a certain amount of money from her practicing money, then we would pay for the rest of her plane ticket to visit her friend and go camping. [Sidenote: my friend gave me the wrong dates for the camping trip, and I could not afford to change the ticket, so she is not actually camping, but is experiencing nature and green.]

She did it!

Thinking about the trip for almost an entire year, really motivated her to practice on the mornings when she didn't want to.

It came down to the morning of the trip. I had figured out all the details of traveling as an unaccompanied minor, and I was feeling pretty confident about the process, with a tiny bit of unease about my little one traveling alone across the US of A. I kept thinking about this time when she was a baby and she and I were together on a plane and it dipped suddenly. Her presence brought so much comfort to me as we emergency-landed and deplaned and started the trip all over again. I was hoping nothing like that happened to her on this flight.

As we drove to the airport I reminded her of how hard she had worked and how well she had saved. I told her; "you could have bought a bunch of hotdogs each week (one of her favorite treats), but instead you put the money away and saved it up." I told her how proud I was of her practicing and her saving and her being brave enough to go on the trip. She said: "Mom, I'm sort of crying, hearing you say that."

I then reminded her that if she felt any unease, or any nerves that she could say a prayer. She said: "But, I'm just going to say a prayer in my heart because I don't want to say it out loud, because that would be too embarrassing with the person sitting next to me." I replied that a prayer in heart was fine and that I had prayed that angels would attend her.

When we got to the airport, we waited in the long FULL SERVICE line, then the special services line, then the security line, with full plans to get breakfast at the airport because of all the waiting we would have to do. Instead we arrived at the gate right when they were boarding and though the map indicated there was a Dunkin Donuts right there at the gate, there was not. I tried to brainstorm what to get her for breakfast with very little time. She told me she could eat the dry cereal I had packed. I made sure her SIGG bottle was filled up with water from the fountain so she didn't have to wait for the drink service.

I was pretty horrified at myself that I hadn't gotten my child a proper breakfast just before a 6-hour flight, even though she also had a lunch packed and puh-lenty of snacks. I was even more horrified when we watched 5 sparrows descend into the water fountain for a bird bath, moments after we had filled her sigg bottle with water from that very fountain.

Two other Unaccompanied minors gathered around the desk. They were siblings, probably 13 and 14 years old. They looked a little rough around the edges and I worried about their language. (TOTALLY JUDGING I KNOW!). I introduced Phoebe to them and asked the girl, who took more interest in her than her brother, to "TAKE CARE OF MY BABY!"...they were all sitting together.

Then it was time to go. Phoebe waved and said BYE MOM! I insisted on a hug, then she turned and walked onto the plane, and didn't even glance back.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Last night as I was drifting off to sleep...

My eyes were closed but smiling and I felt a real, Kristy emotion. It was clear and penetrating and not clouded by anything else.

And, it was HAPPY.

Movie in the Park

Movie in the Park.

I saw Twilight. It was beautiful weather and my allergies weren't too bad.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Artist Date


During a search for CLOCHE, I came across this fabulous hat shop. I love these hats because of the unconventional shapes and versatility.

I fell in love with the aqua fedorable, and I couldn't stop thinking about it for so long that I had to have one. I realized that the hat-maker is near my hood, so I tried to set up a time when I could try on some of the hats, but that didn't work out. It was okay because I was still just set on this 1 hat, I knew I would end up with it in the end anyway.

I saved my pennies and arranged for a pick-up, to save on shipping, and waited a week for the hat's completion.

Wednesday, Lolly and I stopped by to pick up the hat and Terry graciously opened her home and studio for us to take a look around. Her husband engaged Lolly in a game of marbles, in which she finagled 3 marbles out of his possession, into hers, and I got a chance to see the studio.

The door on the outside has 4 letters painted in pink: hats. Inside are large rolls of fabric, stacks of ribbons, a large sewing table, bulletin board with patterns and I am sure much more, but I didn't take a photo and I wasn't there long enough to soak in every detail. I loved the space. Someday, maybe, I can have an artist space of my own...though I do love my "nook" as a friend recently called it.

If you would like your own Terry Graziano hat, you can shop on etsy. This month she is giving 20% off a hat a week, and you can find these updates on her twitter page or her blog. She is a really open, nice person, and does impeccable work, all stitched by her hands. Next on my list: Fine and Dandy. That green bow! Stop it.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


We painted last weekend.

This paint was a white chalky nasty paint that we SHOULD have painted the day we closed, but instead we waited two years and took everything apart and it was a big pain and yadda from white to REJUVENATE:

Oh, and the desk, we put it in a notch too high, and it's annoying, and we still haven't fixed it yet. Maybe in 2 years.

And I decided to paint this hand-me-down bookshelf CERULEAN:

I'll be honest, despite my primer and two coats of high-glass cerulean, I am nervous this paint is going to chip pretty bad. So far I have made a rule: No taking anything off the shelves, no putting anything back on the shelves. And this is completely impractical as this bookshelf gets a lot of traffic. On the "to budget" list is perhaps a new bookshelf.

And on the "to do/to budget" list is about 3 tiny frames to put in between the pink frame there and the GOD BLESS OUR PAD embroidery.

Oh, and a new leather sectional to replace those blueish couches, and a new rug and mounting the tv, which might totally change this nook anyway.....oh the "to budget" list!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Gradually Going Green

I happened upon Two Coves a few weeks ago.

I finally got a chance to stop by briefly the other night to take a quick peek.

I want a garden plot.