• Family Fun,  I've Got Mad Skillz,  My Kid Has Mad Skillz

    We’re Exactly Like The Incredibles, But Different

    When he was a teenager, I used to give Dylan a really hard time because he hardly ever wore sunglasses. I’d sit in the passenger seat of the car as he drove us around and say, “Don’t you want your sunglasses? It’s so bright out today!” He always replied with some B.S. to the effect of, “Sunglasses? I don’t need sunglasses. My eyes have a sun-resistant coating.” Commence eyeroll. I have not let him live this down a decade later, making comments about his sun-resistant eyes whenever I find myself near him on a sunny day. That’s why I have to laugh at myself on these chilly winter evenings when…

  • Family Fun,  My Dad Has Mad Skillz,  Travels

    A Scene on the Road

    Like so many other families, we’re on the road today. Jim and I are headed north with my parents and sister, in the same car. Usually we take two cars when we’re all together, so this is new. My dad and sister are in the two middle seats and my mom is in the back. It’s been a relatively quiet trip so far, but after our last pit stop things amped up a little bit. And by “things”, I mean my dad. My sister is trying to read her book, mom is crocheting, and I was playing a game on my phone. (Jim, driving.) Dad suddenly got bored so he started…

  • Childhood Memories,  Family Fun,  Fun in Chicago

    Oakbrook Center is the Place to be…Right Now!

    This post is sponsored by Oakbrook Center. Full disclosure: I have loved Oakbrook Center (on the corner of Route 83 and Cermak Road just off of Interstates 88 and 294) for all the days I’ve lived in the western suburbs (that’s more than twenty-one years). I love it for many reasons: the shops, the restaurants, the environment, the outdoorsy element of it all, and especially because it reminds me of Park Forest Plaza, the shopping center of my childhood. These shopping centers that aren’t enclosed were the mothers of modern malls, and I think they’re totally fun. While you might think that the best time to visit Oakbrook Center is…

  • Blessings,  Family Fun,  Food,  Friends,  I've Got Mad Skillz

    10 Things That Made Me Happy This Holiday Weekend

    It’s not even Sunday yet and this long holiday weekend has been packed enough for a whole week. It’s been great, too. In fact, I’m wishing it wasn’t ending tomorrow. Anyway, we arrived home after this evening’s festivities a little late and I need to get to bed soon so I made the executive decision to write up a listicle so I can check “Write today’s blog post” off of my to-do list. Ten things that made me happy this holiday weekend? Let’s count ’em down. 1. Jim and Jason came home for the holiday, so all four of us were under the same roof, yay! 2. Thanksgiving was gloriously…

  • Family Fun

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    I am doing my best to live in the moment today while Jim and I are enjoying a quiet Thanksgiving at home with the boys. Turkey’s in the oven and we’re hanging out in the family room watching TV together in comfy clothes. It’s heavenly. I hope wherever you are and whomever you’re with, you’re enjoying today too! Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Amazing People,  Family Fun,  Favorite Things,  My Kid Has Mad Skillz

    Okay, I Stand Corrected.

    Something good that has come out of this election is the seemingly unending stream of thoughtful political conversation I’ve been enjoying with my twenty-four-year-old. It’s really something special to be able to have intelligent discourse about world affairs with your own grown kid and as much as this election and the post-election developments have had me tied up in knots, it’s been a bright spot. That said, I have a much more entertaining conversation to share here. The scene: my kitchen. I’m lighting my Clean Cotton-scented Yankee Candle. Dylan: “It’s too bad they don’t make a candle that smells like lighting a match.” Me: “YES. That would be amazing.” Dylan:…

  • Confessions,  Family Fun,  Tough Questions

    The Mystery of the Denim Shorts

    Alternate title: Designer Label Averse, Apparently. The scene: my bedroom. Jim, home for the first time since August, has handed me a pair of Calvin Klein denim shorts and questions to whom they belong. “You, I thought…” I replied. “They aren’t yours?” “No,” he said. “They aren’t my size and anyway, I don’t wear Calvin Klein anything.” “Oh, maybe they belong to Dylan,” I said. Sidenote: Dylan, who currently lives here full time, is so well-known for his love of wearing denim shorts that his college/fraternity nickname was “Jorts”. Jim strolled into Dylan’s room and put the shorts on his bed. About an hour later, I was back in my…

  • Family Fun,  Fun in Chicago

    TGIF!

    TGIF, you guys. I don’t have much today, but it’s Friday and I’m feeling some relief even before the day is over. My life lately has looked like this: stress exhaustion stress worry exhaustion stress stress overthinking exhaustion OMG TIRED Cubs Cubs Cubs Cubs CUBS CUBS! CUBS!! CUBS!!! stress exhaustion Cubs stress worry exhaustion overthinking CUBS!!! TIREDDDDDD stress stress OMG IT’S FRIDAY! TGIF! I’ve already written about the Cubs twice this week so I won’t say another word about them…except to say that today is Cubs Day in Chicago and I sobbed like a baby watching the festivities on TV. Dylan took the train downtown to watch the parade and…

  • Family Fun,  Fun in Chicago

    #MemorialDaySuperSale at Gurnee Mills: Don’t Miss It!

    Jim and I moved back to the Chicagoland area from Norfolk, Virginia in the summer of 1991, just a couple of months before an amazing new mall opened for business. Gurnee Mills was its name, and we were so excited about it. The two shopping centers closest to our house were sorely lacking in many areas and the possibilities this new thing had in store were thrilling to think about. Our home in Kenosha, Wisconsin was only about twenty minutes away from Gurnee so we made frequent visits to the mall. When D was a toddler, we went to Gurnee Mills on Halloween for trick-or-treating. There were always things going…