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Christmas Eve 2018

Another year of christmas decorations, lists, holiday shopping and present wrapping in the books :/

Things seemed more stressful than in years past

Probably a result of a variety of things

Some self inflicted, others not so much

The lights on our house, however, looked pretty solid this year if I do say so myself


There were years where I felt like spoiling the kids was a good idea

Then there are times when I feel like maybe that wasn’t well planned out

Now (@1:13am) instead of winding down after a full day I’m wide awake

When they were younger this day was (seemed) easier

I was challenged this year

I recently decided to part ways with a client whom I should probably never have started up with in the first place (over 4 years ago)

The money was stable though and most of the time things were good

But the regularity of less-than-positive dialogs simply became too much

The kids were actually disappointed when I told them I no longer work there.  Timing maybe wasn’t well planned as they enjoyed going to their Christmas party.  Plus the owners daughter was about the same age as mine and they played well together whenever they saw each other.  But I submitted my letter before any invite for that event came my way (assuming I was going to be invited anyways).

It probably didn’t help that the most recent of those negative meetings coincided with 12/14

Honestly that probably had a little bit to do with my decision but I’m better off

However, only if/when I receive payment for my most recent invoices will I be able to completely relax about all that

Speaking of 12/14…we invited a few friends and immediate relatives over last minute to celebrate her 40th birthday.

Side note, if you felt like you should have been invited but weren’t … please grow up and get over it!  

That said, it really was a nice day for the kids & I and family & friends too I think

The kids seem much more aware (I think that’s the word I’m looking for)

One of them had the idea to release balloons so I picked some up and after singing happy birthday most of us wrote notes, tied the notes to a balloon and the kids and some adults released them up into the sky.  Perhaps hoping that our notes reach her???

I was able to take a picture of the kids notes … a very raw moment

And a number of people posted or commented online or sent messages throughout the day.

No time of the year is ever super easy.  The holidays, december in particular, just compound the issue.

Even though today may have been more challenging than most I think these kids are grateful and will appreciate all the effort

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Candy Cigarettes???

Who puts candy cigarettes in a pinata? Serious, WTF?  Maybe I’m just going overboard but come on?  Now I have this kid who thinks it’s cool to hold a candy cigarette and pretend he’s smoking.  Sure we had those things when we were kids.  But people also smoked on planes.  And bars were filled with smoke.  It was different then for sure. But I absolutely hate seeing him holding this fake cigarette likes it’s a real one.  Now we have to talk even more about why those things are bad for you why people get addicted and all that shit.  Thanks to whomever decided that was a great idea.  Actually, FU

Our POTUS … god he sucks.  NOT MY PRESIDENT is what I just say over and over to my self.  “Mr. [President], what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.” Thank you Billy Madison!  In just a few short days we’ll be touring the white house.  I can’t even imagine running into the dude.  What possibly could I say to him other than WORST PRESIDENT EVER or WOULD YOU PLEASE JUST QUIT or SCIENCE IS REAL or POLLUTION IS BAD …

Oh, and why in the world does my 6th grade daughter need permission to take a cough drop at school?  Is she going to overdose on them?  Seriously?  You don’t need to call me to ask if it’s okay if my daughter has a cough drop because she’s coughing.

I really just wanted to write about that damn candy cigarette but decided to throw in a couple other things … I’ll get over it but if he starts smoking one day … 🙁



This was originally written in May 2018 but I didn’t post this until September …

I suppose that’s why I haven’t written in nearly 5 months

But plenty has been happening …

I took the kids on a 6 hour drive to the UP around NYE.  She skied and he snowboarded for 3 days.  They really did amazing.  And I hope we can and will do it again for years to come.  They even handled the drive really well, making it 3 hours before having to use the bathroom and then made it another 3+ until we finally arrived.  And for someone, that being myself, who doesn’t really like long drives I didn’t mind the trip and would totally do it again.

We went with friends, which was so necessary.  Being just the 3 of us and the chairs lifts only having 2 seats meant I went with one of the kids and someone had to go with the other.

Did I mention that this may have also been the coldest few days ever?

When I was packing up the car at 6 in the morning it was -8 degrees.  1 hour into our trip it went down to -15.  On the ski hill our balaclavas would freeze on the way down and thaw on the way back up (thankfully the chair lifts were with the wind, not against it).  We had an outdoor hot tub too and the resort (which was still stuck in the 80’s) also had a pool.

Such a fun trip!

For MLK weekend we took off for the lake house.  He tried skiing there and she tried snowboarding.  He seemed to enjoy skiing though so next time we take a long trip he may end up choosing ski’s over a board.  It also snowed while we were there and were able to sled on our property.

Both of them participated in the school’s variety show.  He was in Sumo’s vs Senior’s and she did a dance to Party in the USA

She skipped out on Orchestra but is still taking lessons on the Viola which she is getting pretty good at.  He’s learning the guitar and can play parts of a few songs now.

Our Spring Break vacation was in the Riviera Maya again.  This time at Hotel Xcaret.  GC came along for the trip too.  The resort, which was really amazing, also included passes to a bunch of the local eco parks.  Xel-ha and Xplor …. Xenses, Tulum, Xcaret … everything was awesome.  He and I zip lined.  Road a 4×4.  Swam through a 2 mile underground river.  She and I did a bike zip line.  We crossed a floating bridge.  Saw tons of Macaws.  He and I paddle boarded.  The 3 of us kayaked.  He met a friend who lives in PA, shawn.  He talks about him every now and then hoping to meet up again some time.  We shall see … I could stay in that weather forever.  It was hard to leave 83 degree s and return to where it was 38.

She’s doing awesome in school with all A’s at this point.  Neither of them hardly ask at all for help with homework too.  So far so good!  It’s only just over 3 weeks until school is out for the summer.

In 2 days I’m hosting my 2nd garage sale … I’m not looking forward to it but emptying the house of so much clutter has felt good.

And then in just over a week we host our 9th Cookout for Cari BBQ.  9 is crazy to think about.  It’s mostly the idea that she’s not here and wondering how life would be different.  We definitely would have went down a slightly different road together … would probably live in a different area, with different friends, and slightly different careers.  The kid situation, would it be different?  Probably more siblings.  I don’t know, it’s just unbelievable that we’re in this situation that we’re in …

that’s it for now :/

His secret

I am forever at fault for not posting here more often.

I always tell myself to sit down and write but something always comes up.

But something happened tonight that I just couldn’t go without posting.

Plus, I had a monster energy drink and client work to amp me up so here it is at 1:33am and I’m still wide awake.

Tonight he came to me and said he had something to tell me

He had a secret

And he made me promise first not to tell anyone

(so I’m not sharing the secret here)

But what was so cool is that he came to me and wanted to tell me and trusted in me not to tell anyone

I so hope I never forget those few minutes

If only I could have captured that time and froze it forever

Not too often does something like this happen so I’m going to hold onto it for as long as I can

Christmas 2017

9 Christmas’ of doing this on my own…

It’s exhausting…

I see that my last published post is a little over 7 months ago.

Quite a lot has happened since then.

Tonight though I’m ramped up on caffeine and the adrenaline resulting from last minute present wrapping.

So this one I will post regardless of how far I get with it.

I’m not even sure where to start.

The purpose of this blog was my attempt at leaving some written memories of our lives.  One day when I’m not around they will have something else to go back to.  Something more than their own memories or the stories people might tell.

There’s also maybe a little venting here and there as well …

Our summer was really beyond amazing and I cannot wait for it to be here again.

We spent numerous days on the lake with friends and family.

Experiences I always wanted and finally have.

I feel so fortunate that these two kids get to experience it as well.

And that we get to share those experiences with our closest friends and family.

While the summers in Chicago are definitely not long enough we packed in as much as we could before the weather started to cool (or more specifically before the lake was infected with some sort of toxic algae bloom … that sucked).

Nearly every weekend and in some cases weeks we were on the lake.

The two hour drive, nearly door to door, and we are able to break away from reality.

Into our own new reality.

Far from the lights and noise of the city.

Wild animals all around us.


A lake.  A pool.  Hiking.  Boating … a life so different from what we were doing even just 1 year ago

Yet summer came to an end and we were back into the grind.

School is 5th & 3rd grade.

She likes her teacher.  A man.  From what I can tell a really good teacher.   And he doesn’t seem to put up with girl drama, a definitely plus.

His teacher is strict but that’s good too.  He also likes her.  I don’t think he’s challenged enough in math yet and that needs to change.

He’s playing the guitar and she’s playing the viola.  And they both play piano.

Practicing those instruments though, that’s another story.

Just the other day she asked to stop taking viola lessons but by the end of practice she decided to keep on it for a while longer.  Hopefully a lot longer.

He likes guitar but practice really doesn’t happen.

And he’s really good at the piano he’s being taught.

Unfortunately our piano teacher of the past 4 years or so will soon be moving to Ireland.  She’ll certainly be missed.  I’m not sure what we’ll do though once she leaves.

He played baseball and soccer.  I coached both (as head coach).  I think though that my days as head coach or over.  I like teaching and working with the kids but the drama involved with some of the parents just isn’t for me.

She does dance now and really loves it.  Lyrical & Jazz.  And she’s also in Gymnastics.

He played basketball as well and will likely play floor hockey again.

She’s in volleyball but this year is skipping the club v-ball and playing with her school (which I’m helping coach)

School overall is good for both of them.  She seems to experience more drama than him.  And I’m sure that’s only the beginning as she continues to grow and mature.  Some girls honestly just suck but unfortunately that’s just going to be a part of life and I need to help her grow & learn from it.

What else …

We have an annual halloween party which normally consists of 100’s of people but this year I trimmed it down to a couple dozen.  Way more manageable.  Plus the weather didn’t cooperate so it was a good thing I reduced the number.

I know there’s a ton more but I really just wanted to quickly get some of this down.  Plus I’m fading fast

Oh yeah, but then there was tonight.

Like a last hour cram session before a big exam or the hours before a paper is due and I’m trying to get everything done.  Why I waited until the last minute is beyond me.  Not next year.  But I’m done now and things look and feel good.

Santa was given a full glass of milk plus 4 cookies this year.   Hope he enjoyed them 😉

Santa by the way seems to be a conflicting subject this year / at this age.  One believes.   The other seems either on the fence or off the fence and just won’t say it.  While I want this innocence to last FOREVER, I so do not want them to lose it, I know they will and that’s a sad thought.

Nevertheless I jammed hours of wrapping into minutes (or more accurately, many minutes) and knocked it out.  The stresses of the last month trying to get everything together is so worth it in the end.  In the morning they will be beyond excited to rush downstairs and see what they got.

She asked me my favorite holiday.  I told her a toss between Christmas & Halloween … I’ll actually go with Christmas 🙂