Thursday, September 27, 2012

Dive into Fall Reading with an Adorable Printable Bookmark

Papercoterie, a go-to site for all things paperie, has some adorable, printable bookmarks on their blog.

I am looking so forward to catching up on reading these upcoming fall and winter months! What's on your to-read list?

Monday, September 24, 2012

#makesmesmilemonday Happy birthday, Chiara!

Today my little girl turns three! On Saturday, we celebrated!

Bright, happy, beautiful Chiara
When I asked Chiara what kind of birthday party she'd like to have (a dolly party, a sporty party, a princess party, a bug party...) she came up with the idea of having a "crafty" party. My girl loves all things "crafty" - from painting to coloring to play-dough-ing - she is one creative gal. So our family gathered to celebrate Chiara by doing what she loves best: spending time with family, painting woodland creature figurines, sculpting playdough, and making foam cut puppies and kittens. And my little fashionista started the evening out wearing her fave Tom and Jerry t-shirt, later changing into a double tutu ensemble of her creation.

Chiara adores doing "crafties", especially with her older cousin, Ashley. 
Even the boy cousins and big bro got into the whole crafty thing. Evidently,
you are never too old or too cool to paint woodland creatures. 
Holding on to my kids with hugs and love, for dear life, forever!  

3 candles on the cupcakes!

She's smart, spunky and sweet - and she's now three!

Happy birthday to my dear daughter! 

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Monday, September 17, 2012

#makesmesmilemondays The British History Podcast

I had the pleasure of soaking up everything British when I lived in London for two years, over ten years ago. My son was born in London: I remember looking out my maternity ward window at the University College Hospital and thinking that I just might spot Sherlock Holmes passing by, smoking his pipe, under a lamplight, on that typically foggy night. I am fascinated by British history, and spent many hours wandering the streets of London either pregnant or with my newborn son in tow. So I was absolutely delighted to wander upon the British History Podcast: This chronological series tells the story of Britain in bright, funny, and down-to-earth capsules. I just recently caught up on the Feasting Series, and yesterday I listened with all ears to the What Not to Wear: The Dark Ages episode.

Strolling through Hyde Park with baby Daniel
Whether you're a casual or serious history buff, you won't want to miss The British History Podcast, hosted by Jamie Jeffers. 

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Conversations with my two (soon to be 3) year old

Love my girl!
Chiara: When I grow up I want to be a Doctor.
Me: What kind of a doctor?
Chiara: Mamma's doctor.
Me: Well, you could be a doctor for mommies. That would be an obstetric doctor.
Chiara: (very serious) You have a baby in your boobie.
Me: I don't have a baby in my boobie! Babies grow in tummies and mamma doesn't have a baby in my tummy either.
Chiara. Well, I have a baby in my tummy! (sticks out big toddler belly)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

On strike!

I skipped my usual #makesmesmilemondays post because I was *not* smiling when I woke up on Monday morning. I am a writer, a blogger, a mom, and....a Chicago Public Schools teacher. And yes, we are on strike

I can tell you that no teacher hoped that it would come down to this. I had a wonderful first week with my students, I am so psyched about teaching an AP class this year, and then I had to unplug everything and hit the streets picketing. I would much rather be in the classroom teaching, where I belong. 

That said, when you have to stand up for your rights and beliefs, you've got to stand up and make your voice heard loud and clear. That's what we're doing, and the protests have been peaceful and there has been tons of support in the form of wearing red in solidarity and beeping horns and even students and parents joining us on the front lines. This morning, my 2-year-old asked me, "Are you going picketing today, mama?" and I realized she's one of the few toddlers that might have an inkling as to what that means exactly. Tomorrow my kids will be picketing alongside me. 

All of our fingers are crossed for a quick and fair resolution. 
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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Back to School!

What a mad dash this morning was! It's the first day of school for my son...and me! I can always count on the first day of school being pure craziness, confirmed this year by my son's never appearing bus, the oddball helicopter hovering overhead our street corner as we waiting, and the insane traffic on Milwaukee. 

The good news: we all made it to school.

 Let's make it a great 2012/13 school year!

Back to school 2012/13
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Goodbye, Summer 2012...

Summer 2012...

We kayaked 10 miles down a river.

Daniel learned how to ride and care for a horse.

Daniel milked a cow and Chiara gave a calf a baby bottle.

We went camping. Three times! I will always cherish the memory of Chiara waking up and just quietly staring at the trees from her little tent window, her excitement jumping on a kayak for the first time, and the all-out enthusiasm she expressed about camping (i.e. waking me up about 100 times this summer telling me she was ready to go camping! - even if we weren't going camping that day!). And it was such a gift to see my son bonding with his pals over campfires, jumping off the floating pier 100's of times each day, learning the ropes of fire-building and camp set-up.

Daniel trained as a lifeguard on North Avenue Beach while Chiara honed her sandcastle building skills.

We flew on a tiny plane to Mackinac Island, where we donned our dressy duds and lived it up at the Grand Hotel.

We biked around the entire Mackinac Island.

We helped welcome a baby.

We spent a lot of time with cherished good friends and family.

We played at the park, at the pool, and took many bicycle rides.

Daniel went tubing, Chiara rode her first rollercoaster.

So many firsts for the kids, especially Chiara, I can't even count them all.

I'm thankful, as always, for the chance to watch my kids grow, learn and soak up summertime.
Eating ice cream in a yellow-polka-dot bikini = the good life
Chiara, Labor Day 2012

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