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Summer of Twenty 14 – Part 1

August 3rd and the summer is nearly over.

2 days in the 90′s so far, lots of days in the 80′s (lows in the high 50′s) days of fog and lots of rain

The garden is growing. Lots of zucchini, some cucumbers, green tomatoes (hopefully they’ll turn red soon), and some green onions.

The pea pods were a failure.  I planted them too close to each other and they grabbed onto each other and pulled each other back to the ground.

I might try a second planting.  Maybe

This week we head to MI with some friends.  Can’t wait!  It should be so much fun.  The kids are super excited.

We met a new family this week.  Did I say I love this neighborhood?  Sure there are some things I could go without (mainly drama between moms who want to be at the top of the perceived social circles – LAME).  But otherwise this place is great.  This family has a bunch of kids, some of them right around the ages of mine and the kids already get along so well.  That’s SO awesome!

We’ve got two loose teeth right now.  One went from just a little wiggly last night to i’m-probably-going-to-fall-out-now-and-the-tooth-fairy-better-be-ready status!  Hopefully the tooth fairy isn’t too busy and is ready to go!

This past Friday we had a very last minute random get-together with some friends.  There’s a festival this weekend just a couple blocks from the house and the band hairbangers ball was playing.  So much fun!

So I msg’d just about everyone I knew (hopefully I didn’t miss anyone) and about 30 adults and kids came over.  It was a lot of fun!  As usual with my get-togethers there was a chance of rain.  And not just rain this past Friday.  Torrential sporadic downpours lasting just a few minutes but dumping inches of rain.  It happened throughout the day but fortunately stayed away for the evening.  I was prepared though.  I set up a tent and plus we have the porch and the house so we were all good.

The kids could have just run up and down the block all day long but eventually we made it over to the fest.  They were in and out of the house.  In the backyard.  All over up and down the street!  But eventually we went to the fest and it was fun too.  GS was there with Baby J, plus some other family and friends.  E was dead set on going on this boat ride.  Not a kiddie ride.  The boat swings half way up one side and then swings to the other.  Somehow I was talked into the ride with our friends kids.  Yikes!  I asked E if she would go on again and her response was far from an immediate yet.  We stayed til the end of the fest, closed it down just like Mommy did so many nights in the city ;)  C slept until nearly 10:30 the next morning (it’s 8:50 sunday morning and the kids are still asleep, btw)

This summer the kids went to zoo camp at brookfield.  It seemed like they had fun.  They were able to go behind the scenes for things like the dolphin exhibit.  I’m not sure they’ll do it again but it was a good experience.  Then E went to a week (well just 3 days) at Park JrHS.  The class was about american girl doll; learning about their stories.  She wasn’t feeling well on day 4 so we skipped that class

Otherwise the summer has been relatively low key and has flown by.

I’d live to live somewhere warm, somewhere that’s not freezing half the year.  Maybe we’re just jaded after this past winter.  Maybe this next one will be okay.

The weather lately is crazy though.  We’re having an unusually wet summer.  Other areas of the country are in severe droughts.  Who knows what all this means.  I’m just hoping that it doesn’t mean very difficult challenges for the kids and future generations!

A couple weeks ago I took C and one of his friends and his dad to a cubs game.  It was his friends 1st cubs game.  It was such a good night.  Lots of cute pictures and the kids took a bunch of their own selfies.  We lasted until about the 6th inning / 9p and then headed back.  Their mom watched E … awesome family … again, loving this area!

Just hoping we can get in as much as we can in the next 3 weeks!!!!

Parenting Ain’t Easy

Insurance sucks too!

$500 co-pay at the ER … need to skip that place whenever possible (unfortunately today wasn’t one of those days)

$250 bill for cleanings at the dentist (i have insurance and that didn’t even involve x-ray’s) … ain’t going there again!

And I’m just going to insert some tech talk here for a second.  Because I’ve had a shitty day and I’ve recently taken over development for some shitty programmers.  Whoever decides to use Entity Framework for a project is just a BAD programmer … BAD!  BAD!  BAD!  AGHHHHH!!!

Okay … phew.  Maybe I just need a drink.

Today was just not a fun day.

I had actually planned on writing something here earlier in the evening yesterday.

The kids at 5 & 7 are a handful on a daily basis.  We have lots of good moments but they seriously don’t listen, or choose only when they want to.  I’m trying to lay down the law with them but it AIN’T easy.

I give them a lot of freedom but they’re always trying to see how far they can get.  It drives me nuts.  I see all the kids around us doing it so we’re not the only ones but man could I go without that stress.

So the evening yesterday started kind of crappy but then it did get a little better (for a bit)

Lately I’ve been taking them on bike rides wherever we need to go (it’s my attempt at getting in a workout).  Last night I packed them in and we headed to Davanti in Western Springs.

I’ve been to the one on Taylor street.  It’s really good.  However, it’s not exactly the most kid-friendly restaurant and Western Springs tends to be a little more up-scale, let’s say … I love the area btw, it’s not a dig.

So I took a chance, biked the nearly 2 miles there with 100 lbs in tow behind me (my legs were burning on the way back).

The kids did really good.  Didn’t complain on the way (I probably would have dropped them off on the corner if they did — it was that kind of day).

And they did well in the restaurant.  Ate off a salami and cheese plate (not normal salami & cheese) and ate pizza and he had some of my steak (he pretty much had a bite of everything – I love that in him)

So all was good until we got back to the bike.

He got in and started complaining about a belly ache.  I figured just the food or he had to poop.  No biggie.

I took them to Oberweis (they weren’t fans and honestly I would take Tate’s any day over Oberweis).  Nevertheless we all ate and I rode them back home.

I was really proud of our successful dinner and bike ride and their ability to stay relatively well behaved the majority of the time.

That’s what I planned on writing about.

But then we got home and he kept complaining.  And he wouldn’t let me touch the area that was painful.

So I’m concerned at this point … enough to keep me rolling in bed and eventually spending the night with him … what’s wrong? was it the food he ate? did he hurt himself? why is he in pain?  is he going to be okay?

Then this morning he wakes up at 6 am.  Still complaining.  So I make a Dr. appointment.  Now I’m more stressed.

When he finally gets up around 9 he can barely stand and he’s in tears trying to get him into the car.

So I just call the dr and as I figured I would do, we went straight to the hospital.

6 hours and $500 later (yes that’s my deductible off this bull shit blue cross blue shield top end OBAMACARE plan – RIDICULOUS) we were released without any diagnosis.  why are there all these resident doctors at pretty much any hospital we go to that barely know anything – where are the real doctors???  i have little trust in them.

So we’re leaving, I carry him to the car, he’s in tears (of pain) and we head home.

I’m sure I lost at least another year of my life (or a couple months) stressing out about what could be wrong … is something torn, is it going to require surgery … and then they just say go home and take some Tylenol and rest???

As of about 8pm tonight he finally sat up.  I don’t know if that’s the meds or some improvement.  Now he’s asleep

Hopefully the night and morning are better.

This stuff just AIN’T easy.  Too bad there’s no real “day off” from parenting.  I could use it.


Since I’m writing I might as well mention some other stuff …

He recently earned two of his first few trophies (T-Ball & Soccer). YAY!

The block we live on is so much fun for the kids.  When I was a kid I had someone down the block, a couple kids on the block behind me, but otherwise we were spread all over the place.  In this neighborhood we have 20+ kids on our one block.  And almost all of them play together.  4 of them showed up at our door tonight looking for both the kids.  This happens every day nearly all day long.  It’s pretty awesome!

We met some new friends recently.  A fam with kids the same ages as mine.  We have plenty of these families around us but this family and I connected pretty quickly.  It’s been nice.

Summer’s almost half over (maybe it is already half over) and that really stinks.  These couple months just fly by.

Soon they’ll both be in school full day.  They’re just growing up really fast!

Is that it???  Hmm… Today was a lot more stressful than I needed it to be.  Hoping for some less stressful ones to come


It’s really just unbelievable.

The kids are 5 & 7 now.

5 years have passed. :(

I don’t even have to keep track of the years, I just have to ask myself how old my son is.

He was only 4 months old, strapped to her chest, when this all happened.

Just today a neighbor brought up the topic.

He didn’t know that it happens 5 years ago tomorrow (well today now)

He’s a firefighter so unfortunately he sees this kind of thing in his job.

Ironically his mom was working on that particular day for the police dept and on the seen of our accident.

I think he brought it up in part because I recently sent out invites for our Memorial Day party.

A party I’ve held ever since.

I do it for two main reasons; to get our friends together and to keep her spirit alive. (I just checked, 167 people responded to the evite so far!)

The kids know what it’s for.  They don’t really understand what tomorrow’s date means, however.

I don’t plan on bringing it up with them until they ask.  They don’t need to worry about it all day.  Actually, I’ll probably talk to them about it tomorrow at dinner.

Anyways, he asked a bunch of questions.  We’ve never talked about it in any detail before.

It’s not something I usually bring up in conversation.

It was tough to hold back tears; for both of us (there were just a few)

I told him about the phone call.  A phone call no one should ever get.

And the 60 minute drive, or however long it took, to get from lake forest to LaGrange.  Someone should have driven me.  I can’t imagine how fast I was going and I’m certain I wasn’t paying attention to anything on the road.  I got that call.  A call from the police department saying you need to come to the police station now, no wait, come to the hospital…

You don’t even want to ever experience what that was like.  Horrific!

I left the house that morning and less than 4 hours later my whole world was turned upside down.  I still remember her face that morning.

The next 7 days were a blur.  Hospital for her.  Hospital for him (because he was hurt too).  Funeral arrangements.  The Wake (HORRIBLE)!

So we talked a little about that, and raising these kids, how they’re doing … it was a good conversation.

He was worried it would bother me but I’ve been living it for 5 years now so the conversation isn’t anything new.  Never easy, but nothing new.

Oh, he was in our house for a few minutes while he was over and noticed all the pictures we have of her in the house.

She does occupy quite a few picture frames.  I like keeping her there for the kids, especially.  She’s not going anywhere again any time soon!

Well we’ve made it 5 years.

We are fortunate to have a lot of amazing people around us.  Family & Friends.

We get to talk about her often.  She left a lasting impression on nearly everyone she touched.

That’s pretty awesome!

It’s really too bad we lost such an amazing person way too early in her life.

I’m sure I’m doing a great job with these kiddos and that she’d be proud.

I just wish she was here doing this with me.

We were a pretty awesome pair!


On a separate but related note …

Do you know the woman never apologized?

I unfortunately had to run into her for the first time just a few weeks ago.

You could slice the tension in the air.

I never wanted to meet her.  Never cared to meet her.  Hoped I would never meet her.

She did try to talk to me.  She wanted to explain how she picked up my son after the accident.

I have absolutely no interest in any specific details. She could have simply said I’m sorry.

Maybe she thought those details would help but in fact probably made things worse.

I don’t doubt this is difficult for her.  But I don’t believe her, don’t believe the accounts of the accident, and unless she’s going to admit she wasn’t paying attention, that she took her eyes off the road or was doing something like swerving around to pass the van that was in front of her, hitting Cari because of her actions, I don’t want to hear anything else.

I am absolutely convinced she did something more than she’s willing to admit.  There’s no way given all the evidence that she wasn’t doing something.

Just admit it, just say for real what was going on, don’t hide the truth and apologize to everyone you hurt.


Sometimes I forget that I wanted this to be more of a record for the kids than a place to vent.  I suppose in part my reluctance to write is because I spend most of the day working on the computer and the last thing I want to do is spend even more time on it …

So much has happened since the last time I wrote … Sept, 30th … YIKES!

They recently turned 5 & 7.  Growing up WAY to fast!

I really slacked on the party planning this year.  Some of it was because she kept changing her mind about what she wanted to do.  In the end we had 6 girls over.  It was fun.  Pizza, cake, ice cream, nail polish, face painting, lots of pictures, just a little drama.  For his I did a mid-week midday party which actually turned out to be a success.  Most of his friends are in school half day so almost everyone was able to go.  We also went to the disney ice show for hers and then rushed home just in time to beat her friends.

Tonight, like many Monday’s of late, we made our way to Francesca’s for dinner and our favorite magician.  The same guy that we’ve had over to the house twice entertains every Monday at the restaurant.  Needless-to-say hardly a Monday goes by without some serious begging to go see him.  Despite the $55 it usually costs me (which does include a glass of wine or two), the kids do have a nice time and they normally eat a full meal.  Tonight the kids decided that he would come over for our memorial day party.  I didn’t really have a chance to say no.

She lost her 2nd tooth the other day.  On her Uncle’s birthday, ironically.  The same Uncle who unfortunately passed away nearly a year ago.  What’s even more ironic is that she lost her first tooth on her Aunt’s (his wife’s) birthday.  Can’t just be a coincidence.  It hung on for weeks and finally came out that day.  The actual act of the tooth coming out is a bit of a story.  That same day was the day of her variety show.  Where a group of about 10 1st grade girls practiced for months and got up on stage for what’s similar to a talent show.  They danced to the song “what makes you beautiful” by One Direction.  They were super cute!  Anyways, so I go to get her at intermission and the tears are flowing.  The tooth had come out but apparently it received a little assistance from one of her friends mom.  The tooth was sitting on her lip (we almost lost it) and one of the moms picked it off with a kleenex.  She thought she had pulled it out and wasn’t quite ready to lose it … hence the tears.

His birthday culminated with a case of the flu.  I swear someone gave him that instead of a present.  He was puking by midnight (and all through the night).  It took a couple days and just about everyone he encountered picked it up, including me.  It was one of the roughest period of days I’ve had.  He was sick, she was sick, I was sick, both grandmas were sick and no one was about to come help us out and chance getting sick as well.

By the way, the flu shot DOES. NOT. WORK!

Fortunately and unfortunately school was cancelled that Monday & Tuesday.  So we had time to recuperate.  We would have missed school anyways but it gave us a chance to clear it out of our system.

Those were the 3rd & 4th days of cancelled school so far this winter.  That sucks.  4 days lost this summer.

I can’t remember a winter this cold with this much snow.  There’s probably 18 inches of snow outside right now.  I don’t know the total but I think it’s close to the  most ever.  Plus the wind chill has been brutal.  We tried sledding once but it was a failure.  We are going to try and go skiing though.  We’ve got a weekend away booked in a couple weeks.  We’ll see how it goes …

The other day was the 100th day of 1st grade.  She’s not excited for it to be over.  She said she wishes it was the first day of school again.  Why?  Because I will miss Mrs. Howley.  Awe!  And to think she wasn’t all that excited about the new teacher before school started.  No she’s already going to miss her.

It never gets easier …

On this past Saturday, her b-day, we were running some errands in the morning.  We went to Costco and in the last aisle or so we passed by a lady serving samples.  She noticed the flowers in the cart (flowers we just happen to buy for mommy every time we are there) and asked, “are those flowers for your mommy”.  He quickly responded, “our mommy died”. She didn’t just stop there and apologize.  She continued, “are you going to bring those to her grave” … from us, no response, ignore and move on.  However, in what might have been an act of desperation on her part she left her station and ran to catch up with us, quickly changing the topic and attempting some sort of reprieve.  It didn’t work.  I’m sure the expression on my face was less than desireable.  It’s a little like the neighbor of a friend the other day who after hours passed watching the game decided to ask where my better half was.  He really wanted to take that question back.

Sometimes I wish I could just wear a sign or simply just start out the conversation telling them the situation just to avoid the awkward questions

I’ll try to write more soon

Three months later

Three months have passed since I last wrote

I’m pretty certain it’s because I would write, people would respond and it demotivated me. Considering I’m doing this for the kids I shouldn’t have let that happen but it did. I don’t mind people reading, otherwise I wouldn’t put this stuff in such a visible place, I’m just not looking for feedback.

That said …

There’s been a lot of firsts

- 1st day of 1st grade

- And then another 1st day of school

- first lost tooth (we have a pretty amazing tooth fairy)

- first time one whistled and then the other really tried

- first time snapping their fingers

- first time I had to get up and make lunch and then again and again every day

- first time I finally made a lunch where everything was eaten

- first vacation to michigan; first time picking raspberries (while in mi) … they want to go back again

- first bears game party at the house (with a magician for the kids)<

We’re writing a lot, even making up our own music (crazy) … she wrote down their jump rope song and then had me type it up and print it

All right, that’s all the motivation I have for now … i’ll come back and write more soon!

Oh, I might have a new client soon.  That’s exciting.  I need something new (long story)