new year, new me

Ahhh, new year, new you.

I’m so familiar with both my optimistic and sarcastic thoughts on this phrase.

While I love a fresh start, I’m a little weary of change these days. (See update on previous year.) A new baby, a new home, a promotion…while I’m grateful and excited for all that happened in 2018, I’m also looking forward to finding my groove with these great changes in 2019.

That said, I did think of something broad I’d like to work on: Improving my health and my family’s health.

Now, for me, I don’t mean run to the gym and work out religiously in January and then fall off the wagon. Yes, I want to make better food decisions. Move my body and way more often. But it’s not just for me anymore. I want to take care of my physical body so that I can live a long life with my family. If that doesn’t motivate me, I’m not quite sure what will. I mean, look at this guy.

My girl has (another) cold, so she wasn’t feeling celebratory last night, but I still love her so and want to see her grow. (Shout out to my sis for bringing over the NYE goodies!)

But health is about so much more than the physical. I’m talking mental, emotional, and spiritual health, too. I want to make time to slow down and read a book instead of being hypnotized by an Instagram video on icing a cake. I want to call my 97-year-old Grammy and go see her when I can because she’s funny and wise and I love her so much. I want to go on dates regularly with my husband instead of twice a year. I want to have a hobby again. I want to plan a vacation. I want to live in the present instead of being sad about the past or anxious about the future.

And I want to blog again.

Last year was about the big things…this year is about self improvement, challenging myself to be my best, while slowing down to enjoy life. Taking care of myself and my family is number one.

Happy New Year to all!

christmastime is here

It’s been so long, it’s hard to know where to begin. I haven’t visited my blog for so long. With three posts in my cue, I question why I never shared them.

And I know why. This has been such a year that it never felt appropriate to post something. People were/are/will be dealing with so much, that I didn’t know how to add to the conversation, and I didn’t want people to think I was out to lunch (mentally) either. (Although I will say, ignorance is sometimes bliss these days.)

That said, I have missed writing, so here I am. Back, older, not sure if wiser, but eager to share again. So, here goes!

Merry Christmas, everyone!!!! Christmas was a little crazy for us this year, in that our plans were ever changing. We try to alternate Christmas every year, and this year was scheduled to be at the farm. We were there the weekend before for an extended family celebration (a fun, delicious, whirlwind of a weekend!), and were due to go back on Saturday morning.

We got the call that Nate’s Mom had been sick in bed, as so many have already been this cold and flu season. Eek! So we decided to postpone our visit to next weekend when all are better.

So what would we do? Luckily my aunt gladly took us in for Christmas Eve, and the plan was to go to my mom’s or sister’s on Christmas Day.

An interesting note: Since we’ve been married, Nate and I have never been in our own apartment for Christmas Eve. Never slept at home. Never put out cookies for Santa. Never opened presents with just my husband and now daughter.

Let me tell you, it was simple and nice. This is the first time Ellie is really into Christmas, and it’s been such a joy to share it with her. Decorating cookies, teaching her patience with the Advent calendar, sharing both our Swedish (Nate) and Polish and Catholic (me) traditions. Her excitement is infectious, her joy never ending. Truly makes my heart happy.

And on Christmas Day? More sickies entered the picture (my Dad and nephew), so we just enjoyed a quiet day at home, with the exception of a visit to my Grandma’s house with my mom (who is also now sick). It was fun to watch her play with her new gifts (like her Melissa & Doug salad set) and just relax. We are always on the go, that it’s nice to sit back and breathe.

And for dinner? Some good ole Trader Joe’s veggie fried rice, orange chicken, and dumplings with edamame on the side. You know, because we were not prepared for a traditional feast thinking we would be elsewhere. Who knows, maybe it’ll be a new tradition!

In the middle of dinner, Ellie randomly said, “Amen!” So we decided to hold hands and say a little prayer. Ellie liked this so much that we held hands and prayed a few more times during our short meal. She surprises me, that one.

What did I learn? Roll with what life gives you, and make the most of it. You can celebrate with family any (and every) day, so don’t sweat it when things don’t go as planned. Who knows, it might just be quite wonderful.

Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend! More soon, I swear!

quality time

Let me start by saying, other than holiday time, I haven’t taken a week off in years. In addition, I’ve never taken a week off…to stay home!

Whether you stay at home or go to work, you enjoy spending time with your children. But my time with my girl is limited, so I always try to make the most of it. I try really hard not to be on the phone. Not to turn the TV on. To be present. And that’s what I planned to do for the week we shared together.

I also know it can be exhausting to watch a child, 24 hours, seven days a week. Frankly, I was nervous about it. Could I handle it?

But that’s what Ellie and I did. And it was FANTASTIC!!!!

Memorial Day Weekend was packed with al fresco brunches…


long city walks…


family friend reunions…


 graduation parties outside on a lake…


and we kept the party going all week long with lots of family time. We were blessed to have excellent, sunny weather.

It was a time to slow down and enjoy the small things in life. Hanging out in my sister’s backyard, watching the kiddos run around the yard together, walking my nieces to school, meeting their teachers. On Thursday, my niece Emma asked if I could drive her to school, just me. It made my heart do cartwheels!

The highlight of our week was Wednesday, our city day. My mom drove into the city in the morning (something that’s special in and of itself), and we headed to Lincoln Park to visit the Green City Farmers Market and the Lincoln Park Zoo.

The strawberries were sweeter and more delicious than any I’ve ever purchased at a store…


and we spied the cutest succulent arrangements!


After picking up strawberries and rhubarb, we went to the Zoo, riding the carousel…


 and enjoying the animals.


We also walked through the Lincoln Park Nature Boardwalk. It’s become one of my favorite gems of the city, my urban oasis. 


Ahhhh…

On our way back to the car, we stopped back at the farmers market for a loaf of bread, and headed home to eat lunch and get Elle Belle down for her nap.

It may seem simple, but it was perfect. To share my city with my mom and my daughter was perfect. I had two of my favorite people to share the morning with, and it was lovely. 

There’s something to be said about parenting and time. I may not have the quantity, but I’ll be damned if I sacrifice the quality. My little girl is a gift, and I am so grateful for our time together. It also reminded me that I need to find more work/life balance, to make sure I don’t miss those special, simple moments. Xo