grateful

It’s the unofficial start of summer and to that I say, “Amen!”

My little Eloise has been sick for about 2.5 weeks (cough, cold, pink eye?!?, ear infection…), so, needless to say, it was wonderful to get outside this weekend to soak up the sun. 

We dined al fresco for brunch with great friends at G & O. (My classic breakfast and mimosa hit the spot without leaving me too full or too tipsy, the staff was friendly, and we can’t wait to go back!) 


We walked around the neighborhood, trying new routes each time. Ellie loved watching the tour boats on the river.


We had a pizza party with family friends from growing up. We’ve been trying to get everyone together for a year so it was fantastic! Ten children, 10 adults, and a pup! Always a great time when we get together, and so fun to watch our kiddos make new friendships together, too.


We had a family graduation party for two of my cousins, Brittany and Kyle. I’m so proud of them and excited for their next big adventures (the real world for B and college for K!). 


And all the while, the sun was shining. Weekends like this remind you that life may not be perfect, but we are free and shouldn’t take that for granted.

My thanks to all who serve to protect us and our freedom. I don’t say it out loud enough, but I am forever grateful.

Ellie’s First Halloween

I’ll be the first to say that Halloween is not my favorite holiday (Christmas and Easter are!). Last year, we stayed in and watched a scary movie (No Country for Old Men). Having a child definitely makes for a different experience! This year, I’ve been thinking about the holiday quite a bit. Because Ellie can’t choose for herself yet, she wore two of her cousins’ costumes: an octopus in the afternoon and a flower in the evening! (George dressed up, too! See below!)

If that wasn’t enough, I got her a Carters outfit at Target that says, “I’m so cute, it’s spooky!” Who can resist polka dots, glitter, and a black tutu? Not this mama!

What’s great about Halloween is spending it with others. We had some friends over for stew and cider (and they brought Sweet Mandy B’s!!!)–not to mention adorable photo opps, then headed to the burbs for an open house party and more photos!!! 

Seeing all of the kids dressed up for trick or treating (both in person and online) was so fun! Keep the photos coming, and I’ll keep liking them!

It also got me day dreaming about when Ellie grows up: taking her trick or treating, seeing what costumes she’ll choose, making her give Mommy and Daddy all of the Snickers. Just kidding…she can keep some.

Hope you had a great holiday celebrating, and that you’re enjoying the extra hour of sleep. I’ve been up since 6 am…zzzz….

   
    
 

5 Lessons from My Dad for Father’s Day

I’m pretty blessed to have a lot of amazing dads in my life. I know everyone isn’t as lucky, and I don’t take it for granted.

For this Father’s Day, I thought it would be nice to share some lessons from my Dad. He’s always been a good teacher and wants to give advice. So, here are just five of the many lessons from my Dad (in no particular order).

1. Put family first. My Dad’s family life as a kid was less than ideal, and he made sure that when he was a father, he would be an active part of our lives. We were fortunate because my Dad worked mostly from home growing up, and my Mom was a full-time mom, so we were together all of the time. My Dad was my soccer coach, went to my holiday concerts, and was there for dinner every day. 

2. Education is important. My Dad always pushed us to do our best academically and to take advantage of all our extra-curricular activities. I liked school from a young age; we used to “play” with my sister (she would make my younger brother and I do her homework!). But working hard had its benefits. I had a 4.0 GPA all of high school, and enjoyed things like choir, cheerleading, year book, class council, and more during high school, and my siblings were just as motivated. I wouldn’t be where I am now without the academic support and motivation of both of my parents.

3. Travel. My family is big into travel, and we’ve experienced a lot of vacations together. Skiing, going to Disney World, cruising the Virgin Islands, driving the road to Hana in Maui, sailing in Mexico–my Dad instilled the importance of traveling, seeing the world, and learning about different cultures. I’ve been bitten with the travel bug and it’s in my veins. It’s not a coincidence that I work for a study abroad non-profit now! 

4. Work hard. My Dad has literally made a life for us out of nothing, and showed me that I can do the same. In conjunction with #2, I knew I didn’t just have to be good in school, but also get a lot of work experience. For example, my senior year in college, I did all of my class work, was the co-editor and a writer for the Latino newsletter, was a writer for the school newspaper’s magazine insert, and designed page layouts for the newspaper, too. It wasn’t always easy, but I knew if I wanted to be a journalist, I needed the experience. I still have this same work ethic, and I’m grateful for that.

5. Follow your heart. When it comes to love, my parents have a pretty amazing story of how they met at 15 years old, and have been married for 40+ years. They’ve been a great example of what true love is, and have urged us to find the same. When I fell for Nate at the end of freshman year at U of I, I knew he was special. The more I knew him and spent time with him and his family, the more I wanted us to be together. Thirteen years later, I still feel the same way, and love him more now than I could have before.

Nate is going to be a dad again (don’t forget Georgie!) very soon. I’m due with our first baby in five days (ah!), and look forward to sharing this advice with our child. What a journey it’ll be, and I’m so excited to share it with my Dad, Nate, and all of you.

Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads! Know that you are special and loved! XO