April 10, 2016 – April 17, 2016

It was a busy week! Here are a few things to remember:

  • a sleeping puppy is like a sleeping baby, so cute – but don’t wake them.
  • Zooey grew a beard
  • Me and Him
  • On my way to Washington DC
  • Sites around DC
  • Ethan not feeling so great
  • Zooey dance photos
  • Silly kids at dinner
  • Daddy’s girl
  • Ethan dressed up as Johnny Appleseed
  • Owen’s poetry reading and award!
  • Blues Traveler at the Hard Rock
  • Owen’s first flag football game of the season
  • Zooey’s first soccer game of the season
  • Circus fun
  • Evening fire & fireside girls
  • Mimi the trouble maker
  • Boys in squid hats
  • Sunday funday
Posted in All about Owen, All About Zooey, Around Town, Dimitri, everyday life, Family, Far Away, Friends, From my phone, Michelle, My Kids, Oh Brother, Pictures, Spring, Together Forever, Us, Videos | Leave a comment

April 4, 2016 – April 10, 2016

Things to remember:

  • Monday mornings
  • Mimi to the vet
  • Tip night at Pizza Ranch and the boys working tables and vacuuming
  • Zooey proud of her braid that Miss Chris did after her hair cut
  • Lunch with Dimitri
  • General craziness in out house and Mimi right in the mix of it all
  • Me – but blonder!
  • bathroom under construction
  • Owen started flag football practice
  • Attending Mercy Women’s Night Out with friends
  • Sunshine donuts at work!
  • Dimitri is cool
  • Work outings
  • Random Luke Skywalker placement in the house
  • A big dumpster in the driveway – because a new roof went on this weekend!
  • Date night out to Rockestra!
  • Zooey giving me a makeover
  • general silliness because we can
  • Funny boys at the dinner table.
Posted in All about Owen, All About Zooey, All Three of Them, Around the House, Dimitri, Friends, From my phone, Michelle, My Kids, Oh Brother, Spring, Together Forever, Us, Videos | Leave a comment

March 27, 2016 – April 3, 2016

Oh You Tube – you are killing me with where you decide to freeze frame the video! The last two videos I have been making the most horrible faces!

Here are things to remember from this week to go along with the photos and video:

  • Zooey have you been eating chocolate???
  • loving Mimi
  • After dinner bike ride/dog walking with melting snow!
  • Morning shenanigans
  • The first day back to school after spring break was exhausting to the boys. They were showered and ready for bed at 6 pm!
  • Wrist braces at Book Club???!!! It had to do with basketball, ISU, a strip club, someone falling off the stage, best book of all time and a taco truck. Maybe it’s better not to ask.
  • I have a serious hoodie obsession. Especially after a long day on the road. I compared it to Mr. Rogers and his cardigans.
  • Zooey doing tricks in the living room.
  • Mimi and I hiding from the kids
  • Zooey had kindergarten roundup this week!
  • And then we stopped at the dance studio to get her signed up to fall dance classes, where her and a friend read up on dance techniques.
  • Date night! We had dinner out and then saw the movie 10 Cloverfield Lane
  • Owen and I being silly in the kitchen
  • Other latest obsession – baseball hat and big hoop earrings
  • Pool noodle battle in the front yard
  • Always Mimi videos
  • Dinner out with the family…Chinese food!
  • Zooey and her night-night (blankie)
  • Zooey and her American girl doll
  • On our way to Church
  • They surprised me with a cake at church!
  • Cruising in the car with the windows down and Mimi in the back.
  • A visit to the dog park and playground
  • blue sky and 80 degrees!
  • Happy hour on the patio and burgers on the grill!

Happy Sunday!

Posted in All about Owen, All About Zooey, All Three of Them, Around Town, church, Dimitri, Ethan, everyday life, Family, Friends, From my phone, Michelle, My Kids, Oh Brother, Pets, Pictures, Spring, Together Forever, Us, Videos | Leave a comment

3.21.16 – 3.27.16

  • Parent’s night at Zooey’s dance class
  • catching video of silly kids
  • 5th Grade music program…Ethan was having some anxiety about it all week – but he got up there and did great!
  • National puppy day!
  • hail, thunder, lightning.
  • snow…lots and lots and lots and lots of snow
  • Silly boys!
  • Seeing good friends and meeting baby Emma!
  • Feeling sad ISU lost!
  • Making it through another crazy week (ready for it to get easier)
  • Easter party and indoor egg hunt
  • coloring easter eggs
  • Ethan’s magic trick
  • Easter celebration number one (Orthodox Easter coming soon)
  • Happy Hour with friends
  • Love me some blue nails :)

Happy Sunday!

Posted in All about Owen, All About Zooey, All Three of Them, Canon 60D, canon60D, Dimitri, Ethan, everyday life, Family, Friends, From my phone, Grandparents, Holidays, Michelle, My Kids, Oh Brother, Pets, Spring, Together Forever, Us | Leave a comment

3.13.16 – 3.20.16 | Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Things to note:

  • Sign of a good weekend – Owen asleep in the backseat on the way home from KC
  • Silly dancing in the kitchen
  • Loving my adult coloring book!
  • My tiny dancer – every week!
  • Ally the turtle out for a walk
  • Daylight savings means after dinner walks with Mimi Dog
  • Kids who sound like turkeys
  • Actual turkeys
  • My lucky charms!
  • Out for St. Patricks Day and celebrating!
  • Dimitri’s guy weekend at a cabin
  • crazy Mimi Dog
  • Exhausted me.
  • Dimitri found a cat that looked like Emma, but didn’t come home with him.
  • March Madness
  • Zootopia!
  • Legos
  • living room forts
  • Brothers on a Saturday night
  • Sleeping Beauty
  • Silly laughs
  • Puppy Love
  • Scary Owen laugh

The kids are ready to start their spring break and it’s snowing!

Happy Wednesday!

Posted in All about Owen, All About Zooey, Around Town, Dimitri, Ethan, everyday life, Family, From my phone, My Kids, Oh Brother, Pictures, Spring, Together Forever, Videos | Leave a comment

3.13.16 | Busy Being Happy

Always busy around here… tis the season of our life right now.  But this week I think we did a good job with the happy too.  Here is a look at what we were up to.

Things to remember:

  • Sunday dinner with friends
  • New blue sandals for Miss Z and her wanting to wear them to dance class and for me to take a photo of them in the parking lot.
  • I need a Starbucks intervention
  • Week night dinners with the family including a spontaneous family selfie
  • My Greek Husband in his St. Patrick’s day shirt!
  • Me, exhausted after a day of traveling, hiding in my hoodie
  • Owen watching his tablet in his bed (probably you tube videos)
  • Ethan lost 2 teeth this week!
  • Stealing moments in the kitchen when we are supposed to be doing dishes
  • Yia Yia bringing Mimi bones with Miss Z bouncing on the couch in the background
  • A family road trip adventure to Kansas City
  • Funny kids in the backseat
  • Hanging out with family including CJ the dog
  • Going to the Crown Center and lunch at the Crayola Cafe with one of my best friends (+ family) who happened to be in town as well.
  • Finally getting my hands on the cutest baby!
  • Going to Sea Life and Lego Land in one day!

Happy Sunday! I hope you have a great week!

Posted in All about Owen, All About Zooey, All Three of Them, Dimitri, Ethan, everyday life, Friends, From my phone, Grandparents, Michelle, My Kids, Spring, Together Forever, Us, Videos | Leave a comment

3.6.16| Around Here

A little video of what we’ve been up to the last couple of weeks! This might be my go-to way of documenting for 2016.

Things to remember:

    • Dimitri taking the kids to see box turtles at the nature center
    • Celebrating my Dad’s Birthday
    • Mimi in the bed – she won’t get out!
    • Finished reading:  Choose Joy and A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
    • On the road for work a lot these days
    • Silly kids, always
    • Zooey heartbroken when her brother wouldn’t share his clay with her.
    • A fun little journal that Dimitri and I are doing together
    • Fuller House! We watched all the episodes starting Friday night and finished Saturday morning.
    • The days are getting longer and warmer and the sunsets are amazing. So ready for spring!
    • Mimi loves Dimitri
    • Finding funny things around the house by Miss Z. Including her play puppy Go-Go dressed up into something I can’t even explain.
    • Wearing my shamrock shirt more times than I can count. It makes me happy.
    • Watching the big snow pile in front of our house melt each day.
    • Game night (for adults)! Exploding Kittens was a big hit. And always Cards Against Humanity. Dimitri walked away as the big winner for the night.
    • Lazy Sundays are the best
    • Zooey practicing spelling her last name in noodles during dinner
    • LEAP DAY ice cream
    • Zooey all dance all the time.
    • Iowa State basketball…let the March Madness begin.
    • Haircuts for the boys
    • Working on Us
    • Giving the turtle a bath
    • Dog on the kitchen table!! WHAT??!!!!
    • Food, wine and friends – always a good way to spend a Friday
    • Kids at the park!  “I’m the Queen of the World!!”
    • A night out with the parents which included margaritas and camo hats.
    • Two movies watched… The Intern and Brooklyn.  Both of them get 2 thumbs up from me.
    • The Irish-Greek princess out on her bike and playing with Mimi in the yard

Have a great week!

Posted in All about Owen, All About Zooey, All Three of Them, Around Town, Dimitri, Ethan, Family, From my phone, Grandparents, me and my sister, Michelle, My Kids, Oh Brother, Pets, Pictures, Spring, Together Forever, Us, Videos | Leave a comment

2.28.16 | The time I crashed and burned

Today is about cleaning up the house. Putting away winter decorations, opening a few Windows for fresh air and putting on my new shamrock shirt. I am ready for spring!
The original intent of this blog has always been to capture the memories of my crazy family.  I admit that over the past 9 years of my blogging (yes, its been 9 years!), I’ve often wandered away from just noting the adventures of my family… sometimes I share my latest obsessions, things I like, things I want, shopping, photography, scrapbooking, etc. The truth is, this season of our life is really busy and really full, and now that the kids aren’t babies it seems harder and harder to find the time to blog! Our family is evolving and changing. There are less naps (OK no naps are happening – sad!) nor early bed times.  We always seem to be on the go! Hello, kids activities… 3 kids with school activities, sports, friends, birthday parties, homework, etc.  – it’s time-consuming.  AND my job ( my real 8-5 office job – not photography, which is another topic for another day) has me very busy with lots of traveling and night meetings.  Dimitri and I also do our best to keep up with our friends and time with each other, which to us, is very important and not the easiest to schedule.  While I am not complaining, these days the calendar is booked! When we do have a free moment to breathe,  I find myself wanting to curl up on the couch with Netflix or a good book instead of the behind the computer screen.  Thus the lack of blogging over the last several months.

While I haven’t spent a lot of time pouring words out here on the blog,  memory keeping hasn’t gone away for me. I am still scrapbooking! I’ve gone the route of digital Project Life through the Project Life app.  Unlike in the past, I am not keeping up with that on a weekly basis anymore (see reasons above) but instead using a few scrapbooking weekends a year to work on it… I am about 1/2 way through scrapbooking 2015 right now.  I do however, still take at least one photo everyday. These days my iPhone is my go-to camera.  Basically, I’ve taken everything down a few 100 notches.

You might be thinking….So she isn’t superwomen? She can’t do it all?  

Turns out,  I can’t. 

Yes, yes – it’s true. I crashed and I burned.  I once was THAT annoying gal that kept a full time job, balanced three young children, a husband, a house, a side photography business, volunteered, had a social life, blogged every day, and kept an up-to-date scrapbook.  And then I got really tired, and really stressed and decided that I just couldn’t keep up with it all. And so I didn’t.

The last year or so has been one of self discovery, and not the easiest one.  No longer are we this young family with young kids at home…we are evolving.  This might seem strange, but I note the end of the an era when our pets Emma, Sugar and Lucy all passed away.  I know strange, but follow me here.  Dimitri adopted Emma the cat when we first started dating,  Lucy the cat came not long after our engagement, and Sugar was adopted right when we got married.  Soon after we were married, we had Ethan…22 months later, there was Owen and 4 years later was our Zooey.  Our existence for many years was bottles, diapers and going to work on 3 to 4 hours of sleep.   I can remember times when everyone was sick, the house was a mess and we were going on little sleep, it seemed so hard! I often referred to us on survival mode during this time.   As long as everyone was clean, dressed and fed nothing else mattered – those were the big goals of the day. We finally mastered the whole baby/toddler thing and time kept moving by, the kids got older and our pets got older.  Last month, we said our good-bye to Lucy the cat. And while just a cat, her passing was significant because it represented the end to that era, one that had been gradually winding down for the past year or so, whether I was ready or not.

So here we are,  a new puppy, no babies, no toddlers, but instead school aged kids. We have changed and grown professionally, and we are approaching the big 4.0 soon.  And suddenly I find myself in a time and place without a baby on my hip.  (Which does not mean I want another one!)  But, it’s odd –  I’ve reached another side of life and I’m looking around and thinking, now what?  Am I having a mid-life crisis and is that possible at age 38? The stresses we faced as a young couple with young kids are gone, but now there are all these really big grown-up stresses happening.  We now have to worry who might be a bad influence on our kids at school, and what internet sites they visit, and how is it possible that one is going into middle school and we haven’t even discussed the big things like the birds and the bees and not to do drugs?!?!  We worry about our parents, watching them get older and worrying about their health.  We worry about our careers as we take on more and more responsibility and how to keep growing professionally while still trying to balance it all.  And it’s hard.  Suddenly daily blogging, scrapbooking and sharing my latest Amazon wish list, doesn’t seem so crucial anymore.

So where does that leave all of this?  I don’t really know. I just know that when things get complicated sometimes the best thing to do is to step back. For me that is going back to the basics and back to figuring it all out.  I am going to be pulling back the layers and figuring out what works and what doesn’t work.  I am going to be kind and gentle with myself.  I am going to move forward with grace and intention.  I am going to stop rushing and stop trying to do it all. I am going to ask for forgiveness when I mess up. I am going to ask for help when I needed it. I am going to surround myself with people that are good for me and nurture important relationships. I am going to rest and read inspiring books.  I am going to stop, think, and breath.

As I’ve mentioned before, this blog has been a very important creative outlet for me for the past nine years.  I am not ready to say good-bye.  I plan on posting here – but maybe not everyday.  I want to go back to the basics…back to the original intent, which was to share my family’s adventures and to count my blessings.   And on occasion share a really cute pair of shoes that I found because I can’t help myself.

Tomorrow is Leap Day, an extra day out of the year – a bonus day! Which seems like a perfect day for new beginnings, fresh starts, living with intent and most definitely ice cream. Who’s with me?

Posted in Michelle | 1 Comment

2.24.16 | Ten Things

Old building love . #smalltowniowa #countycourthouse

  1.  Best tights ever:  SPANX Women’s Luxe Leg Tights.  It’s always this time of year that I am searching for new tights as mine are all sorry-looking.  I picked up these spanx tights on Amazon and I love them.  I might not ever buy another brand.
  2. I laughed really hard at this.  What is it with cats that make me laugh?
  3. How true is this Facebook post about today’s world vs the past?
  4.  Reading: Choose Joy: Finding Hope and Purpose When Life Hurts.  Interesting not only due to the Iowa connection, but the passages are speaking to me as I am navigating through some of life’s bumps right now.  Lots of re-reading of sections and soaking it in.  What a great message: Choose Joy.  You should go get this book.
  5. Confession: one of our local grocery stores started a grocery delivery service. Dimitri and I have been utilizing it for a few months now and it is awesome! We put our order in online and the next day – groceries brought to our front door! As a working mom with 3 kids – this is the most wonderful service ever.
  6. Have you heard about the 1 Second Everyday app? I love this idea and totally trying it! I started recording my 1 second clips this week.
  7. Hosting an adult game night this weekend. Cards Against Humanity is always a good one but I as looking at this game, Exploding Kittens: NSFW Edition . Anyone every played it?
  8. I am looking forward to the new album by The Lumineers to come out in April!
  9. My Pinterest pins these days:  outfits, funnies,  and quotes
  10. Did you read this awesome post my hubby wrote?  Not sure what I did to deserve him, but he is a keeper!

Happy Wednesday!

Photo is the county courthouse in Monona County, Iowa.  I took it on my last visit there – because old buildings, especially in small towns, are awesome.

Posted in An official list | 1 Comment

My Best Friend

It’s not very often that I blog here.  Michelle and I started it some years ago with the intention of us throwing out random thoughts and historical documentation of our lives together.   I, most of the time don’t feel I have much to offer because she writes so well and notices the details of our lives that I sometimes glaze over.  Not that I dont think they are important, but because I get swept up in my day to days.    My goal for this year is to notice more, to stop and smell the roses as they say.   So I think that I’ll start here.  My best friend.
Some of you may know the story but for those who don’t, here goes.

In spring of 1999, I needed a change of scenery.  I could have gone back to Sioux City and worked or even stayed in Ames to do the same.   But fond summer memories of Camp Foster as a kid, flooded my head and I decided to take a stab at becoming counselor for the summer.  I was terrified, I had never been responsible for that many kids at one time.  I lacked confidence but gave it a whirl anyway.   I went through staff training getting to know almost everyone, those who would become my summer family.  One however, stood out to me.  We had skits that we would perform for camper and staff that would always get a chuckle out of everyone.  One day post lunch, it was skit time.  Out came this beautiful girl on roller skates, with crazy hair and acting silly, confident, and carefree.    Its cliche, I know, but my heart skipped a beat. I was in love.  Over the course of that summer, we dated, fell in love, and spent every chance we could get together.  Here I was, unsure of myself, couldn’t figure out why this wonderful woman wanted to be with me.  I was confident that as the summer came to and end, she would move on and this would have been just one of those camp romances that dies when the doors close at seasons end.  But it didn’t.

Michelle had started grad school at Iowa and I was at Iowa State.  We would go and see each other every weekend over the course of the next couple years.  We would go out with friends to the bars as college kids do, but some of my favorite moments were just laying around our apartments, with food delivery and watching old episodes of Frasier, Rosanne, etc.  Being next to her always felt right to me, no matter what we were doing.  We came to know and love each others families well.  We started making plans for our future, voicing dreams, and just being silly on the phone till the late hours.

She graduated at the end of the program and accepted a position as a planner in Janesville, WI.   This was a huge step in our relationship.  This is the moment where we became an us.   I bought Michelle a ring and my mother gifted me a diamond which she had treasured for decades.   I had all of the plans to make a huge proposal, fancy, romantic, all that.   Michelle and I were in Sioux City and at her folks’ house for the night.  My stomach was in knots.  I was so excited to propose, I couldn’t wait any longer.  I asked her dad earlier in the evening for his blessing.  (Old school)   Michelle was half asleep on the couch and I had the ring in my pocket.  I kept looking at her.  This beautiful, kind, loving woman.  I couldn’t imagine my life without her.  I woke her up, I kneeled in front of her and proposed.  I will never forget the look on her face. She had half asleep eyes with tears in them and she muttered out “shut up, shut up” in disbelief of what I was asking.  It wasn’t the most romantic moment, but I wanted her hand so badly, I wanted to spend every moment of my life with her.

We moved to Janesville and started our lives together as an engaged couple.  We were married in August 2002.  One of the greatest moments of my life.  I will never forget how beautiful she looked as she came down the aisle.  It is etched into my memory for eternity.  I could see the life that I had always wanted in her eyes and smile as she looked at me at the alter.

Shortly after we were settled in a new house in Wisconsin, we decided to start a family.  We had some struggles at first, which brought heart ache, tears, doubt, frustration and all of the things you can imagine.  But we got through it together, we didn’t give up and kept trying.  Then, came Ethan and in 2004 he emerged into this world.  The glow on Michelles face holding our baby boy was another one of the great moments I will never forget.  The child we had struggled to have was now here, healthy and beautiful.  Joy had filled our hearts.

After some time, we decided that we wanted to move back to Sioux City to be closer to family.  Both sets of grandparents were in town so it just made sense.

Not long after, Owen came around.  In 2006 he was born, another beautiful boy.  Again more, joy came into our lives.  Owen was born colicky which quickly became difficult.  Many sleepless nights.  He was so uncomfortable, we felt terrible and helpless as he cried throughout the day and night.  We were drained and frustrated, at our wits end and then we managed to find a miracle in a formula designed for colic.  Soon he was happy and content as were we.

A few years went by.  Michelle started to feel like she wanted to try for the 3rd child, with high hopes it was a girl.  I was less inclined, unsure if I could handle three children.  But I came to my senses and we tried for the 3rd.  In 2010 , Zooey was born.  and…..with colic.  However, this time, we were smarter and more prepared.  She has all of Michelle’s silliness, her blue eyes and wild hair.  I love it.  Our family finally felt complete.

It’s now 2016.  Michelle is at book club and I am watching the Good Dinosaur with the kids.  Looking over them, all bundled up in blankets in our bed, I realized how much I appreciated my life so far with Michelle.  It hasn’t been perfect.  We have had our disagreements over stupid things, big things, silly things.  We have been through rough patches with trying to conceive and not being able to.  We have had pets and lost pets.  We have had our house fall apart on us all at once and struggled to find how to pay for it.    While the road isn’t always smooth, the only person I would ever want to travel it with is Michelle.  She has been there for me through all of the tough times, moments where I was unsure of myself and has brought me happiness and clarity when I needed it most.  She is my best friend, my rock.  I probably dont say it enough.  I appreciate all of the years we have had so far and can’t wait to discover the mysteries ahead of us, together.

Posted in Dimitri | 5 Comments