Tuesday, August 7, 2012

North Carolinaaaaahhhh!

We hardly left our compound, save for a few outstanding meals inland and a fishing trip that netted us 20-some makeral and blue fin but no shark. Not that we tried, for that would be borderline illegal.

Our schedule:

wake up

And no cell phones for our kids but plenty of this:

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Has anyone seen my baby,
with soft blond hair and eyes of blue?

My baby laughs and giggles all day,
and her toothless grin will coo?

Well, something happened when I blinked,
something terribly wrong, I dread...

Someone took my beautiful baby
and left me a teenager instead!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Sweet (Michael's) Home, Chicago

Hammered out a couple of firsts already this month when I piled all the kids in the car and drove them to Chicago to visit my brother, Michael.

Michael, childless and single, lives a fabulous life next door to Derek Rose (okay, next door in that he is one building over and about 70 stories down from him; still, they would technically be invited to the same block party if people in Chicago did that sort of thing). He graciously opened his apartment up to us for three very fun nights.

We hit Navy Pier where we rode the ferris wheel and watched fireworks. We played our way through Millennium Park, hitting the Bean and the double fountain with the faces that spit out water on our way to the Field Museum.

We arrived next at the Willis Tower (formerly Sears) to explore life far above the big city.

Just as we were about to hop in line for the ride to the Skydeck, Michael claimed he needed to move his car he had parked remotely (he gave us his parking spot in his building) and would not be able to join us at the top.

Possibly true, but we still gave him a hard time for chickening out of the 103-story lookout.

I considered ditching the kids and going with him, as I am terrified of heights, but the kids would not have it.

Here is what a 40-year-old acrophobic looks like when hovering over Wacker 103 stories in the air:

Here is a great idea for Birkenstock's next ad campaign: Get high with Birks! (still fine-tuning the wording on that one)...

We had a blast looking out over the city but grew concerned when we witnessed a spider attacking the Hancock Building across downtown:

Luckily we escaped unharmed.

We also hit Wrigley, a second round at Navy Pier, Giordano's, and the new Katy Perry movie (go see it, trust me!) before ending our trip with a cocktail at the top of the Hancock.

Thanks, Mick!

Friday, June 29, 2012


After years of pleading with me, my husband finally got through my thick (but adorable) skull and convinced me to get an iPhone.

I should have recognized, from his obsessive staring at his own over all this time, that I was about to purchase what is essentially an electronic form of crack.

iNeed an iIntervention!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Motherfreakinghood: The Musical

My BFF and life partner in all things creative, Sara, and I have been working for a year and a half on a muscial about motherhood.

With kids spanning ages one to 15 between us since we first began this project, we are deep in the trenches of child-rearing. While I can't go into too much detail, I can tell you the show covers pregnancy through high school graduation in less than 90 minutes, hitting on such topics as moving to the suburbs, dealing with the class bully and teaching your teenager to drive.

We are so very near the end of writing and look forward to seeing this baby we share take flight, likely next spring in Lawrence, possibly sooner in Chicago.

So please forgive the sporatic postings... I'm nesting!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Iron (wo)Man

In this year of trying new things, I stood at the finish line of the Kansas Half Ironman today.

Yes, it was hot and windy, and all I wanted was a cool drink of water as I heard the emcee announce the names of those crossing the finish line before me.

The atmosphere, though, carried such a sense of accomplishment. There is nothing quite like spending time with competitors who stand alone in a sea of athletes, digging in deep to reach the final 70.1.

Maybe next time I will actually participate. But probably not.

Congratulations, Kristin!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

My bff, Wheels, and her husband ran the Soldier Field 10-mile in Chicago this weekend and sent us a darling photo of the two of them post-race.

We did not run. But we did offer them congratulations on their accomplishment.

Happy Memorial Day with immeasurable gratitude to the soldier who have served and paid the ultimate price for our freedom to do such silly things as this.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


I can double-space on the computer.

Like this.

Not so much on the iPad, apparently.

Caroline, the 9-year-old tree climber!

Caroline had one request for her birthday:

"I just want to climb trees!"

In our newly-established suburban neighborhood, tree-climbing is just not possible. So we took the birthday girl to a park downtown (after ice cream, of course) and let her climb away. She is one archery class away from being Katniss.

Happy Birthday, Caroline! You are the best surprise we have ever been given!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

It's Alright to Cry

My tagline is "smile more" because I firmly believe we are all more likeable when we smile. But sometimes smiling is hard to do. Sometimes there is pain so unbearable the only thing we can do is pray our hearts can someday heal and forgive them for only feeling the heaviness of ache. Dear friends of ours lost their son this past week. He was a bright-eyed, beautiful 9-year-old boy with the purest and freest spirit. He went to bed with a mild case of the stomach flu Monday night. His father checked on him in the night, jumping back when his son shot up in bed and announced, "You scared the poop out of me!" But just a few hours later, his father found him unresponsive and not breathing. Paramedics tried everything to revive him, but it was too late. He had crossed over. Our friends spent the day before Mother's Day burying their son. Their family now five after being a six-pack for what they thought would be forever. So sometimes smiling is too hard to do. Hug your kids, love each moment and honor the value of time in laughter together.

Monday, May 7, 2012



Derby Days

I had never been to the Kentucky Derby before. In fact, I think I have only cut through the very westernmost corner of Kentucky on a college spring break road trip and have never been to the state. 

My husband is a huge Ashley Judd fan, though. And I do like Neil Diamond's "Kentucy Woman." 

But, truthfully, it was the prospect of getting to wear a big, fancy hat (just like Kate and Will's wedding guests!) that excited me when my husband and I received an invitation to our very first Kentucky Derby party.

 I researched and shopped for weeks leading up to the event, bookmarking photo after photo of derby attire and visiting every department store within a 50 mile radius of my home from Nordie's to WalMart.

Choosing a dress (hanging already in my closet) was no problem. The hat was a whole different story. They were either too big, too small, too cheap, too expensive, too black, too white, too prude, or too whore-ish. (I will note here that my husband asked twice what to wear. Twice I offered to buy him a searsucker suit. Twice he asked what searsucker was. Twice I pointed to the stretch marks on my abdomen and said, "Kind of like these." Twice he rolled his eyes and walked away. He wore khakis and a button-up shirt to the party.)

 After a month of searching for the perfect hat, this little indecisive Libra made her way to both Hobby Lobby and Michael's where she purchased over $100 worth of silk flowers, spools of ribbons and one colorful bird, $89 of which was promptly returned. Armed with a glue gun and a bottle of wine, I created what I knew in my gut was nothing close to masterpiece.

One hour before the party I bought a different straw hat, ripped apart the first one and reassembled something just in time to waltz into the party, accent and betting cash in tow.

 The fact that my horse came in fourth is not nearly as discouraging as the single running commentary I received about my work of head art, the question asked more often that afternoon than "place or show?" "Did you make it yourself?" Why yes. Yes, I did...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Not diggin Blogger's new format. How do I create space between paragraphs? How do I edit without losing everything? When will my First World problems ever end?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Something New

Eleanor Roosevelt encouraged us to try something each day that terrifies us. Lately that something has been looking in the mirror. Where will the next half-inch mystery hair appear? Why do pillow marks take so long to disappear? In the spirit of the late first lady, I have taken on the challenge of trying something new (not necessariky terrifying) eavh month this year. January brought zip-lining. February, my virgin voyage performing music and stand-up. March took me from diva to dessert as a piece of (eye) candy in Willy Wonka with two of my daughters. For April I pulled back the reins a bit and tried a new spot for lunch, the famed Billy Goat Tavern in Chicago last weekend. Fresh off a night of collaborating with my writing partner and bestie, Sara, we corralled our siblings and marched off to the famed burger joint for what would become the best freaking cheeseburger and Pepsi (no Coke!) a girl could ask for at 2:00 in the afternoon. While Belushi was mot there in the flesh, his spirit, and that of the famed goat, greeted - er - assaulted us at the door with their menu recommendations (cheeseborger!), ignoring questions about the presentation (condiments are all on the side, this is no Burger King). Stories of betrayal and curses plastered the walls and the beer was served ice cold. Still hungry, my brother returned for another burger after the rest of us left. Still a bargain at $4.50, round two did not hold up to the short-lived memories of round one. The Billy Goat borger is best when served, apparently, to the very hungry.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Candy Man

It was Caroline's idea, really. She asked about auditioning for "Willy Wonka" at the Lawrence Arts Center. I decided to join her, as it certainly beat playing "Words with Friends" during her hours of rehearsal. Ellie decided to join too, as she is exactly like her mother and loves to perform.

Caroline was cast as an Oompa-Loompa, Ellie as a reporter, and I was cast as a peppermint patty. We rocked...

Easter Bunny!

I do not understand how we are able to get children to believe in the Easter Bunny. Santa, I get. The Tooth Fairy, makes perfect sense. But a bunny, possibly real or maybe just a human in a creepy costume, breaks into the homes of Christian children all across the country, hiding eggs... or Peeps... or XBoxes (because nothing says "He is risen!" like Call of Duty) in celebration of the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy that marked the beginning of Christianity? It just doesn't make sense. But as long as the bunny hides a secret stash of Reese's peanut butter eggs in the freezer every year, I have no complaints!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Day After

66 teams came to play in last night's game but ended up watching from home. KU was not one of them. Rock Chalk!

Monday, March 26, 2012

And then there were Four

And one was a Jayhawk.

Congratulations Coach Self and team on KU's 14th Final Four appearance!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Not ready for Capitol Hill

Granted, I probably should not have followed up an uber-fun trip to Dave & Buster's (where we won our family a waffle maker with my savant-like ability to repeatedly score 1000 tickets on the Wheel of Fortune game) with something educational, but I really wanted my kids to see the Kansas state capitol building in nearby Topeka. 

The building is roughly 150 years old and excruciatingly beautiful inside and out with its four stately wings and large copper dome standing slightly taller than our nation's capitol building in Washington, DC. Most of the original art and architecture remains, including the shiny copper warming pipes in the senate chamber from pre-central heating and cooling days and the infamous portrayal of John Brown just outside the governor's office.

I took all four kids plus two tag-a-longs for the experience, the pinnacle of which being the impending tour of the dome.

Unfortunately the dome was closed for repairs. Moose out front did not tell us.

Still we toured the majestic building, learning all sorts of things about our state, our government, our history, our natural resources, art and architecture. The kids seemed enthralled with the docent's stories and attention to detail. And I still love the way the building smells.

We piled into the car and I turned excitedly to the kids. "What did you think?" I asked, "Wasn't it beaut--"

"BORING!!!!!" the six-pack said in unison.

Clearly not ready for government work.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Spring Break!!!

We have already plowed through the donuts I bought and cannot seem to get Ellie to get out of bed. Once again, we would have made terrible pioneers.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Dear Missouri

I would feel bad for you. I really would. I enjoyed watching your team play, probably even more than you did. But even with a top-notch Missouri team making school history this season, you were still fixated on Kansas. I saw more Facebook posts from Tigers delighting in Kansas losses than I saw from Tigers reveling in a Missouri win. MU wins the Big XII tournament, but somehow every Tiger turned their own win into nothing more than Kansas's loss.

This is like divorcing, getting remarried and then spending all of your energy hating your ex more than loving your new spouse. I loved our border rivalry with all of my soul, but you must understand that every moment you spent bagging another school is a moment you did not spend supporting your own. Your balance always seemed to tip towards hating us more than loving yourselves.

I feel bad for the seniors on your team, just like I do the seniors on the 67 other teams who do not win the championship every year.

But I do not feel bad for you.

Maybe your defection to the SEC will cure you of your Kansas envy blues and you can focus on your own team in the future.

Farewell, formidable foes. I've got to go. KU is playing soon.

Rock Chalk!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Why do I care so much?

I will NOT engage in political discussions with strangers on Facebook. I will NOT engage in political discussions with strangers on Facebook. I will NOT engage in political discussions with strangers on Facebook. I will NOT engage in political discussions with strangers on Facebook. I will NOT engage in political discussions with strangers on Facebook. I will NOT engage in political discussions with strangers on Facebook...

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Four years ago today, just hours after the turn of Leap Day, my sister called me from my parents' bathroom. She was nine minths pregnant, and her husband, hesitant to leave her alone for any period of time, had dropped her at my parents' house while running his daughter to the airport.

"My water just broke," she said through tears over the phone.

Grabbing my keys I excitedly replied, "Call for Mom, I'm on my way."

"Mom's not here," she warbled back, "just Dad."

Now, Dad is not without experience in this sort of situation. Mom has given birth three times to four babies (she is efficient), and Dad has seen his share of amniotic fluid. Still, Kari was hesitant to let Dad in on the less glamorous and highly intimate details of imprending grandparenthood.

But her track record for quick births left her no time to wallow on the toilet, lest she give birth in it.

"Suck it up," I firmly advised, "and call for Dad."

I met Kari, Mom, Dad, and eventually Chris and his daughter at the hospital just in time to wait eight hours for Charlie to enter the world.

And the excitement he has provided our family has not stopped since.

Happy birthday, Charlie!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Day Confessions

Rather than cheating by posting a few back-dated stories to appear as though I am not actually just getting around to blogging after a 75-day hiatus, I am, in the spirit of Catholic Lenten guilt (which is even worse than Catholic Ordinary Time guilt), confessing my absence.

I would like to add, though, that I am kicking butt in my newest addiction, Words With Friends. And I am fully caught up on American Idol, should I decide to participate in a betting pool which, I have been told, is illegal and unadvised.

Also fodder for the confessional, since I last wrote:

I went to Mexico...

Where I hung out with this guy for a whole week sans children but with friends...

And we swam with Crush...

And repelled down a 7-story tower...

And, as if that wasn't scary enough, I performed in front of a real living, breathing audience after we got back from Mexico. Two original songs, "Has Anyone Seen my Baby?"...

And "The Facebook Song"...

And no February would be complete without a win over Missouri. This one, however, marks the 105th and final time Kansas and Missouri will ever meet at Allen Fieldhouse, a rivalry that dates back to pre-Civil War days. And here was our parting gift to them (in overtime, because Jayhawks and Tigers love drama):