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Friday, September 28, 2007

Trapper Keepers

I was in Target the other day. A place sometimes I spend far too much time. (and money. Oy!) After getting through my list I wandered over to the Halloween costumes and decorations and peaked at the new Christmas items already stocked and ready for the season. But just behind these bright and shiny new displays was the good old stuff. The cheapo clearance stuff. This time of year it's the school supplies. Bratz backpacks and lunchboxes. Index cards and student planners. Notebook paper and Trapper Keepers.

I paused as I looked at the Trapper Keepers.

If you, like me, are a product of the 80's, you too remember these wonderful creations. I always had wanted one of those. I remember in the 5th grade wanting one. And I remember my mom having me read the school supply list where it said "NO TRAPPER KEEPERS!" but yet I still wanted one. Because even though the list said we couldn't have them most all of the kids had them. And having one was going to be it, I would be content once I had that crazy looking thing.

I never had a Trapper Keeper but I ended up ok. (In my honest, ever so humble opinion.) But standing in front of those canvas/vinyl covered folder/binder thingy's I was struck with this awe of the understanding of desire.

I remember that desire like I wanted one yesterday because sometimes I will feel that way about something particular I see in a store or magazine or online. Something I think I have to have, I can not live without and this will be it, once I have this I am complete. But that is rarely the case, material things seem to pacify for a moment but new desires rise up again quickly.

Even just the other night, I saw a shirt I loved and knew it would be perfect to wear to an upcoming family event. But the $70 price tag detoured me. I did not need it but I wanted it. I drooled over it in the same way I did as a 5th grader over a Trapper Keeper.

Yet, I left the store empty handed and remembered that I have other things in my closet that will do just fine.

Our culture and society is so full of gimme, gimme, gimme. We are so spoiled by what we have and can do and afford. Yet we take so much of it for granted and are never satisfied.

Though it is hard to remember and keep in perspective I know that things are just things and won't matter down the road.

For none of it will go with us.

So today I am going to do something crazy and oh-so-copycat of Oprah and share what I am thankful for this week. Instead of what I want or wish for or desire, what I am truly thankful for, and I am going to pray for contentment in what I have and what I do and what I am.

It is far from complete but these are my gratitudes in this moment:

I am thankful for my husband. My family. Henry, Tyler, Madison, my parents, my sisters. My friends, both far and near. My health. My home. My job. My love of life and joy in many circumstances. My faith and the journey of my faith. My education....

What about you? Do you resonate with the need to feel gratitude? What are you content in?

Newly married, new apartment All our furniture was saved from
the dump Yes dear maybe we can afford a trashcan next month All I need is my
love for you and a seat for two New baby new life We will teach him to speak
French We’ve got no money so we’ll make it all ourselves I’ll make the curtains
and you make the shelves All I need is a power saw and a new sewing machine
Honey, this house needs a little something That bare mantle doesn’t look so good
Someone told me of a man Who makes animals from driftwood All I need is your
monthly bonus for a wooden walrus Honey, the Colbaughs are coming over This
house needs some renovationsJ ust a wall or two, just a little room And a few
new decorations All I need is a sectional and a satellite TVand dark-wood
cabinets that were custom built for me and a painting by that guy that paints
with his feet...That’s all I need For now
-Sara Groves ALL I NEED

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Me, Changing the World One Moms Group at a Time.

ECFE started on Monday. On our way out the front door, H managed to hit his head leaving a nice red goose egg in all it's glory.

Don't worry, every single mom in the class made sure to ask me if I noticed the bump on his head and ask what happened.

We're taking the "Seperating" Toddler class this time around. The first half is to be mom and me time, the second half the mom's leave the room and the toddlers stay. Should hopefully help with those seperation issues I've been mentioning.

These mommy groups make me nervous. I already told you about my anxiety in meeting new people. I feel somewhat better when I have H with me because at least I can talk to and focus on him. (Don't even tell me how twisted that thinking is, I know.)

So I realized some of the reason I may feel this anxiety is because I think sometimes I feel like a misfit among the other moms. I do not simply fall in one category, I fall in several.

Human nature tells us to classify and group people into groups and categories, but what if we fall in several? Or what if we don't necessarily fall in any?

I've got three kids at my house a lot of times at three different ages and stages. I'm a first time mom to Henry, but still have experienced things other first time moms haven't. I work, part-time. I'm younger than most of the other moms.

I have every reason to go running the other direction and stop trying this mommy things from MOPS to ECFE, but I persevere.

Because I know that this is important to me and important to H. He lights up as soon as we arrive at the building for ECFE, he could have cared less about the whole seperation thang, because he loves that place.

It is good for me to do things that are for him (ECFE) and for me (MOPS) and like my friend Sarah said, I can be the one to make a difference and be more welcoming and different on the other side of things.

In the meantime though I'm rehearsing the following introductory speech so it's all out on the table when I arrive at these functions from here on out.

"Hi, my name is Samara. No I am not foreign. I am not Jewish or Middle Eastern.
Yes, I am aware there is a city in Iraq called Samarra. Yes I am aware that the
girl in the movie The Ring is named Samara.

I am a Christian.

This is my son Henry. No he is not big for his age, he's right on track.

Yes I am young, I am 25 1/2. Yes I still count halves.

I have two stepkids, Tyler is 8 and Madison is 6. Yes we all get along. No, their mom isn't a meanie, I actually like her a lot.

I work two days a week and stay home the other three. No I don't wish I stayed home all the time, three days is more than enough for me.

I like to pretend that I am a professional blogger, so watch yourself. Anything you say or do, may be blogged.
No, that is not a joke."

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Speaking of Fall.

I made my first apple pie of the year on Saturday morning.

I love apples and pies and just the smells and colors that fall provides.
I cheat and use pre-made pie crusts, but nonetheless I consider my pies homemade.

Looking forward to cooler evenings (I know in two months I'll want to eat those words.) Looking forward to changing colors and sweaters and delicious warm foods. Like lasagna and spaghetti and cider. All those things that taste so much better in the fall when there's a chill in the air.

And now, just so you again have a reason to smile today, enjoy these pictures of Mr. H enjoying some spaghetti and the bath that made it all go away.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Fall Lovin'.

Yesterday I woke up on the wrong side of the bed-literally.

I'd fallen asleep watching my favorite show on DVD (also referred to as Grey's Anatomy, I know I'm obsessed.)

I'm sure you can only imagine just how exciting my Saturday nights are these days, huh?

So I woke up on the wrong side of the bed and felt off all morning. My throat was sore, my head was pounding and H was of course, ready for action!

After last week both J and I were exhausted, between work schedules and kid schedules and the busyness of life it had seemed like we'd fallen into a pattern of ships crossing in the ocean.

There was more than one occasion that I was short and snippy about things that really don't matter but when you're tired and spent it happens anyway.

So we spent Sunday doing our "fall" cleaning and organizing. Got the house in order. Got things put away. Ran to the grocery store, where I am once again guilty of trying to buy unhealthy snacks even though my husband is trying so hard to eat healthy. I can't help it I've got such crazy eating habits. He calls me the 'sabotager', but I'm really not. I just really happen to like cinnamon pull aparts, chocolate chip granola bars and Cookie Crisp cereal. And in case you're wondering we did not buy any of the above. Sadly.

It has certainly been a few weeks since we'd had a good date night, so I mentioned getting a sitter and going to a movie. Considering we only had H, our nephew was available to come and hang out while H slept and we went and saw "The Nanny Diaries."

You think I'm kidding, but I'm not.

Of all the movies out and all the times they were showing, that was the best fit for our evening. And my husband did not put up a fight.

Because the way he loves me he is willing to do things like sit through "The Nanny Diaries" on a Sunday night when he's got a hundred and one things going through his mind about the upcoming week.

And sitting in the movie, which I know is far from what some would call a quality date night. (I think the words some use is movies=false sense of closeness.) But sitting in this chick flick, next to the one I call my husband, sharing our typical movie theater treats (all healthy, of course.) was just what I needed to end a day that started on the wrong side of the bed.

It is funny how much I take J for granted. I know that sounds so cliche to say, but it is so true.

Though, yes, I am the first to admit that he knows better than anyone else how to push my buttons and get me fired up about something, he is also the first to try and make things better when they aren't quite going my way.

We are far from perfect people, that is for sure, but we are perfect for each other.

Perfect in the way that we complement the other, know how to make each other laugh and know how to make things work.

Making it work is what it is all about.

So I'm going to reitterate and add to the words I wrote two fall's ago and say,

Find a guy who calls you beautiful instead of hot, who calls you back when you hang up on him, who will stay awake just to watch you sleep. Wait for the guy who kisses your forehead, who wants to show you off to the world when you are in your sweats, who holds your hand, Wait for the one who is constantly reminding you of how much he cares about you and how lucky he is to have you. Wait for the one who's willing to make it work, day in and day out, through laughter and tears, good stress and bad. Wait for the one who turns to people and says, "...that's her."

Me and Him. November 2003. London.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I Do Crafts Now.

I started MOPS with H this week.

For anyone who doesn't know, MOPS is an acronym for Mothers of Preschoolers and it is a Christian based mother group/program.

I was excited about it, yet very, very nervous.

I haven't exactly had the best luck with mom's groups. When H was just a newborn the local representative from our MOMS Club stopped at my home to get me interested in the club. I was interested alright, until she found out that I'm a stepmom and and gave me her thoughts on that. She then informed me of an application process and that they would let me know if I was accepted. That's right about when I decided that Moms Club and I weren't going to work out.

Last spring H and I did ECFE and we're signed up for a class this fall too, and I really enjoyed that and am looking forward to it.


But it was more of an individual parent/child thing. There wasn't a whole lot of opportunity to discuss things with people and get to know them.

Call me crazy but since I was pregnant with H, I have always wanted to have "mom" friends. People who have children around the same age and live in the same area so that H can have playdates and playgroups.

So I've been talking about wanting to be in this MOPS group since last Christmas and now I'm in it.

Leading up to Wednesday I had anxiety, and could have found a thousand different reasons not to go. But I knew if I didn't go now, I'd never go.

I know anyone who knows me is wondering why so much anxiety, why so nervous. I'm sure you're thinking that I am outgoing and friendly and love meeting new people.

It is hard for me to meet new people.

There I've said it.

So I called ahead of time to get the information about the group. The woman in charge said to come at 9:15 Wednesday morning.

I arrive and notice one thing right away. My clock says it is 9:10am and the parking lot is full.

We are late to our first session of MOPS???!!??

No, everyone else just likes to come early I guess.

So I sign in, drop clinging H off and go find a table.

Everyone else at the table knows each other so they continue chatting.

This is a side note, but in my experience, I find that Christian women are the worst at welcoming newcomers to a group. I mean this.

So if you fit that category and you're reading this, work on it will you?

Though I like to call myself simplicity, I know that in reality my life is far from simple as proven by the below.

After the leader talks a bit we are all at the table and the woman next to me asks my name.

"Samara." I tell her, then reading her name tag I said, "And you are Chris?"

"Yes, I like your name, where is it from?"

"Thanks. My name is Hebrew," I tell her.

"So, you're Jewish?" She says this with an exasperated gasp, while the rest of the table is staring at me flabbergasted because hello, we're at a Christian mother's group.

"Umm, no, I'm Christian." Moving. Right. Along.

After discussion time and snack time, we moved on to our craft.

At MOPS you do crafts. I learned that yesterday.

As we work on our craft, we chit chat amongst ourselves. The woman next to me asks how many kids I have.

"One. Three. No, One." I answer very flustered. "Er, Three."

Imagine what kind of look I get when I answer a question that should be simple, like that.

"I have one son, Henry, he's here with me and two stepchildren, Tyler and Madison."
Final answer.

"Ahh." And she gives me a nod like she totally gets it.

Doubt it.
So see what I mean, so not a simple question to answer. I could say I have one child, because I do. But then I am leaving out T and M, who are such a big part of my life and they are my stepchildren. But then if I say I have three kids, I get comments and questions on how young I am. Oh there will be more on that whole issue another day, don't you worry.

So despite my nerves upon arriving and the questions on my ethnicity and religion and despite the confusion on how many children I have, I did have a good time.

H, had a questionable time. He's with about 10 other 1 year olds for two hours, which should be fun, but he's going through that whole seperation-y thing.

But we'll go back and yesterday I took the first step I needed to take.

Out of my comfort zone into something that should be rewarding.
Taking the first step is half the battle.

And in case you're wondering, like I said, I do crafts now, here's what I made:

We will be sharing recipes and filling this all year long. Next month's soup, so email me some good ones if you have any because I have, umm, none.
Considering my recipe repertoire revolves around 5-6 basics being in this MOPS thing is going to work out pretty well for my husband.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Uncharted Territory.

I am sure that there are many books available or articles I could read.
To teach me how to watch my mother. To teach me how to wait.
To teach me how to listen to my father's tears stream down.
To teach me how to shield children from the grave and honest truth that death is on it's way.
But this is all uncharted territory for me.

My mother taught me my ABC's and how to tie my shoes. She taught me manners and prayers.
My father taught me how to be funny and how to love the Lord.
They taught me that life is sometimes not fair and how to be open minded. They taught me to be kind.
But neither of them taught me how to do this.

How do you wait and watch your parents through sickness, pain and suffering?
Because I want to make it better.
I don't want to watch and wait anymore, I want to make it better.
Sadly, so sadly, I can't.

Tonight after our Monday activities of football for T and dance/gymnastics for M we sat down to dinner.
To talk.
And again we entered this uncharted territory that no one ever told me about.
The kids most likely did not comprehend the true meaning of the words that were spoken. M, always a ham, tried to add humor.
Cancer, what an ugly, icky word.
A word I wanted to protect them from.
We are in uncharted territory. There are no instructions to how to get through.

I'm realizing that this is the difficult part of growing older.

I'm realizing that there is nothing I, in my humanity can do but cry out to God.

I'm trusting Him and hoping in miracles, but I also realize that sometimes things don't work out the way we want them to, or the way we plan.

I realize I will never know why her or why now because this is a flawed world. Though I can't say that I don't wish to know.

I do, so badly wish to know why. I do, so badly wish to know how to get through this uncharted territory.I am reminded of my words in May.

This cancer, this battle, this thing will undoubtedly be one of the most
difficult things I have to deal with in my lifetime. If not the most difficult.

But it is more than a thing, it is more than something to deal with.

It is my mumsy. My most precious loving mumsy who brought me into this world and raised me and loved me. And stood in my corner when no one else would.My mumsy who still in the wake of personal crisis and sickness could say that the Lord is good.

Today while sorting through my e-mails, I came across an e-mail exchange from May 22. Just eight days after her diagnosis. Once in awhile M will get on a kick and ask to e-mail family and friends, just short little notes saying hi and a song. She recites them and I type them. My mom wrote her back with her own song.

Good morning Maddy: I loved your singing and your song choice. Now I
will sing for you
....."Oh the Lord is good to me, and so I thank the Lord, for
giving me the things I need, the sun, the rain and the appleseed. Oh the
Lord is good to me."
Hope you make it a wonderful day, learn lots at school. Love, Nan.

And the Lord is good, especially in uncharted territory. For I think He knows that is where we need Him most.

Monday, September 17, 2007


As H and I stood in line at a restaurant to get {unhealthy fast food} lunch one day last week we chatted with a gentleman named Cornelius.

I find that having a baby with you is an instant conversation piece, and people who would have otherwise not said a word to me all of a sudden want to both my and H's attention. This has happened everywhere from the mall to airport restrooms regardless of gender or age.

Cornelius was an African American man with a big bright smile and a white hat atop his head. H was captivated.

We chatted about babies and toddlers and life until I heard a voice behind me say my name.

I turned around to see two gentlemen I used to work with downtown.

One of the men gave me the once over and then smugly asked about who the little one was.

I introduced H and explained that he's just shy of 17 months.

They humored me and acted interested in what I had to say and what I was doing now for a whole 30 seconds, then we exchanged our "nice to see you's" and "take care's" and started to go our seperate ways.

I said goodbye to my new friend Cornelius and walked towards my minivan. I watched the other two walk towards their car, and I felt my insecurities rising.

I knew that both of them had looked down upon the choice to leave a couple years ago and I could tell that neither were impressed with what I was doing now.

Don't get me wrong, they're both wonderful men who do are great assets to the company and love what they do.

But here were two former colleagues dressed in their corporate business attire, like I used to be. I'm sure they'd never seen me look as casual as I looked.

My unwashed hair thrown into a ponytail, a sweater thrown on with some faded jeans.

Ugh! Why is it that sometimes we can beat ourselves up over other people's opinions?

As I buckled H into his seat I looked down at my shoes and I realized that at least I had good shoes on.

And I felt a whole lot better, because I am happy with what I'm doing these days. It suits me and it is where I want to be. I wouldn't change anything for now. So why would I feel bad, right?

Plus, I was wearing good shoes.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Friday Night Lights.

I think the second week of school and work routines really got to me.

Between figuring out again how to juggle school, children, busy toddler, family commitments and the normal errands that are just a part of life.

By this morning I was tired and ready for a break. Lucky for me, H slept in until 7:00 a.m.

Haven't you heard, 7:00 a.m. is the new 9:30.

I called my mom this morning and knew that things were amiss just by the sound of her voice. Little did I know it was because of her pain that was so bad it caused a trip to the hospital.

My mumsy, the strongest, most pain tolerant person I know was in pain.

My mom and dad had a rough day, cancelling the trip they'd been planning on going on.

You know that feeling you get when you watch a child fall down and bump their head or skin their knee?

That ouchy, ugh feeling.

When it's your parent feeling that pain it feels ten times worse.

I finished the book Love You, Mean It this week, which is our book club book for this month. What a lesson on making every day count in this life! May all the love you's I say have meaning and may I never hold back on saying it.

My other enjoyment this week has been Season Three Grey's Anatomy which came out on dvd Tuesday. Of course we had to get it so that we can catch up before Season Four starts later this month. Anyone want to record the episodes for me?

Tonight though will be an early night as we start disc two and enjoy a Mike's Hard Lemonade and settle in for a quiet, fall weekend. It's just been one of those weeks and tonight is one of those nights.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Little One of Mine.

Sometimes I wonder what really goes through his little mind.

I bet he's got questions up the wazoo.

How come daddy goes to work a lot?
How in the world do those voices get inside the phone?
Why T and M sometimes disappear for a few days at a time?
Why can't I go on that big yellow bus? I promise I'll behave.

He is curious and busy and doesn't stop moving until he's asleep.
Since school started he's been more active. Or maybe he's not more active.
Maybe it's that I notice it more now.
Now that the other two are in school ALL day, and now that I'm working two days.
Maybe it just seems that he doesn't have people to chase as much. And in the days I'm home now I'm trying to get more accomplished.

I wish I wasn't. Accomplish less, sit on the floor more is what I wish my motto was.
He's started having some seperation anxiety. Crying and screaming, the moment that Babysitter Girl arrives.
He knows that her coming over symbolizes me leaving.
I hate that. But I know it's normal.
A quick goodbye and departure is usually in order.
But that feeling I get when I walk in the door after school is priceless.
His smile is full from ear to ear. His high pitched squeel of excitement.
The arms wrapped tight around my neck and the head on my shoulder hug.
I think it's those moments that make me realize why I love having a job, or commitments outside of this house.
It's those moments I understand what's going on in his little mind perfectly.
It's realizing that I am loved, missed and important.
Things I know anyway but sometimes just need to feel.
It's hearing his heart say, I missed you mom and I'm glad you're home.
Will you play with me?
Something I know anyway but just need to feel.


I'm working at school today.

It's 9:47a.m.

I just ate my lunch.

Tuna fish sandwich cut in triangles, chocolate chip granola bar and dish of watermelon.

This is a sign that it's going to be a LONG day.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

First Haircut

H got his first haircut this last Saturday at Snip-It's. (Which I strongly believe is an ADD inducing experience.)

While I would have been ok waiting a little longer, I was getting tired of people asking if we were trying to grow a mullet.

He went from baby to little man instantly.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Me, Being a Nag.

Sometimes I get tired of saying the same things over and over.

Things like, "Did you brush your teeth?", "Please put your clothes away.", "Are you ready for school?", "Make your bed."

The list goes on and I'm sure you get the gist of where I'm going with it.

Don't get me wrong, we've got great kids. But the key word is they are kids. So they don't necessarily always do exactly what they are supposed to do.

It gets old requesting the same things. And I get tired of reminding certain youngsters in my house to do things that they should just know to do now.

When these youngsters are called on the carpet about not doing what they are supposed to be doing, many times the response is the same.

"Ugh. I forgot. I'm sorry."

More frustrating words have never been said.

So this last Sunday, when I had finally. had. IT. I came up with a plan.

See there are a lot of requests put on me as well.

Such as, Can you get me a drink?, Can you sign my assignment book?, Can you make sure this shirt is clean so I can wear it to school this week?

My list goes on and on too.

I decided that as long as my requests got ignored, so did theirs.

Oh I know it sounds harsh, but these are not detrimental issues. So before anyone goes out calling child protection know that if anything, I was hoping a lesson would emerge.

So it started after church where we went for our weekly McDonalds fix.

"I'd like a cheeseburger with no onions or mustard, french fries and Coke." T rattled off.

So when J returned to our table with a cheeseburger with both onions and mustard on it, T was miffed. (Just as a side note, let me tell you that would have been the day I would have special ordered a cheeseburger at McDonalds growing up. Oy!)

I handed him his soda, his very precious 'pop of the week' and when he saw it was clear inside, he said, "Umm, I said I wanted Coca Cola." He said with that very annoying 'duh' tone.

I know you know that tone.

I can not stand that tone.

"Ugh. I must have forgot. I'm sorry." J replied.

T shrugged his shoulders and moved along.

Sunday night while we got ready for the upcoming week, M was in the process of laying out her outfits.

"I really want to wear this brown skirt tomorrow." She tells me, and I see it's the same brown skirt she'd been wearing fresh with ketchup on it.

I thought to myself, I am so not washing that skirt for tomorrow.

When morning came and there was no brown skirt, not a word was said.

As M sat down to eat her breakfast, she asked me to get her a glass of milk. I continued doing what I was doing as if I did not hear her.

In her sing song voice she asked again.

And again.

And again.

And finally, again.

"Ugh. I'm sorry. I forgot." I responded when after five requests it seemed that she really might be getting thirsty.

"It's ok. You forget a lot." She said without even looking up.


Number one, Idonotforgetalot.

Number two, why do they not care??!!???

This is attention seeking behavior meant to teach a lesson.

Apparently, it's not working out so well.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Accomplishing Goals.

Way back in January I sat down one evening and made a list. It was not a list of resolutions or crazy far out wishes and dreams.

The list was things I was going to do. I wanted to write them here so that I was held accountable to taking action and doing something about them.

Some of them were simple like being more intentional with relationships.

Some would require more planning.

In May, J and I accomplished going on our vacation together for no other purpose besides vacation. And it was wonderful.

My Chicago visits this year have now totalled three. March, August and August/September.

I've read tons this year. More than I probably read in the two years prior. It is all about being intentional and getting books to read. And though I've been a book club slacker, it's been good motivation as well.

The biggest thing I accomplished was one week ago today. Last Sunday. The day after Abbie's wedding.
My dear friend Sarah was on the committee to plan a 5K in Orland Park, IL. I'd known about it for along time but kind of kept it in the back of my mind.

The birthday muppet twins.

When I mentioned that I wanted to run, I really did but as life got busy I pushed it aside.

In the beginning of July, when I heard about another friend beginning to train for a 5K I knew that if I didn't set out and finish the goal I'd set, I'd be disappointed.

So H and I got back out training. We ran almost daily. I took only two runs without H in the jogger, so that is why it was with little hesitation that I decided that when I ran the 5K on Sunday. H would be right there with me.
Even if that meant he slept the whole time.

So early that morning, we left our hotel and drove out to Centennial Park for the Erin's AAIM for Change 5K.

And I did it.

It was long, it was hard but it was so worth it.

I am proof that if I can do it, anyone can.

Team Minnesota!

Friday, September 7, 2007


In Alicen's quest to capture the perfect family picture last weekend at the wedding, she snapped several and one especially caught my eye.

This one.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

The Wedding.

Seven years ago I was just getting to know this girl.

Third floor.

Next door neighbors.

One of the first things I remember about Abbie was that she made me a "Good Luck" card for a tennis tournament I went to.

Abbie's family in Rolling Meadows, IL became my family away from home. I even lived in their home for awhile one year. I learned real quick what it's like to have four brothers!

Our second year of school we were roommates and we had a blast living together. (Even though she tells me I gave her a fair share of heart attacks and worries over that year. It was well worth it, I think.)

When I moved back to Minnesota, it was Abbie who encouraged me and told me to do what was best for me and though our friendship moved 300 miles apart, we still remained close friends.

Talking, e-mailing, visiting. To this day, Abbie will even attest to that fact that we talk almost daily.
I know that Abbie has provided so much to me in our friendship. A mind to bounce ideas off of, a shoulder to cry on and a friend to laugh with.

She stood up at my wedding just a few years ago.
J, S, Abbie and Chris. 04.17.04
Chris, Abbie, S and J. 09.01.07

So it was only natural that I would do the same for her.

Congratulations Abbilou and Chris.

Miss M. and I. No she wasn't a flower girl. She wore her dress from the father/daughter dance last winter and got her hair done. Probably the best $20 spent over the weekend.
The wedding party (plus M, the psuedo wedding party member) taking a trolley to the dinner reception.

M and I with Julie. So thankful to have spent some time with her. Love the relationship her and I share though we never were in Chicago at the same time.
College friends. Sarah, Julie, Abbie, me, Alicen and Jen.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

My Kind of Town.

Anyone who knows me, knows just how special Chicago is to me.

It's a place where I hold many dear memories.

I can recall many funny moments and multiple adventures.

And the people and friendships that have started, bloomed and blossomed, only add to the fun of the city.

I have so many thoughts about how different my life is now. Perhaps there will be a time where my thoughts are clear and I can tell you the thoughts and feelings I have about that city because I have many, especially when I have time to reflect.

I love getting to share my special city with my family and I love that over the years they too are learning to love it as well.

While we were especially in town for Abbie's wedding, we also made sure to have plenty of time to enjoy the city.

Here are some highlights of our days besides the wedding and the race:
On Friday morning along with Abbie we headed to American Girl Place with Miss. M, who would rather buy the stuffed dogs and animals instead of the dolls. But loves it all the same. Riding the el downtown on Sunday. Though both T and M have been on it before every time is still fun and exciting for them. And it was officially H's first time! It made Miss. M's day that our stop was called "Madison"Visiting Millenium Park was probably close to the best part of our day on Sunday. The kids had a blast.
Looking into the "bean" as we call it.

And of course, the fountains.

Navy Pier was our last stop of the day. The kids found a fun house maze that we went through before we headed back to the el and to the hotel. Exhausted.

And a couple things I don't have pictures for but want to mention anyway....

Wishing Sarah and family farewell as they embark on new life in Oregon.

Welcoming the closest thing to a brother I've ever had, back to Chicago and introducing him to M and H. Chatting over dinner like no time has passed. We grew up together, went to college together and have gone our seperate ways but every once in awhile we come full circle.

This is my kind of town, Chicago is my kind of town,
Chicago is my kind of people too. People who, smile at you
And each time I roam, Chicago is calling me home,
Chicago is One town that won't let you down.
It's my kind of town
-From Chicago, My Kind of Town by Cahn/van Heusen