Essence of Now: Spring Break and Easter

One of the more discouraging parts of Spring Break was that I brought my point and shoot camera that is a little ancient. I was frustrated that the memory card wasn’t big enough so I thought I would just run to Target and get a new one. Well, since it is ancient, they no longer sell the memory cards that my camera takes and I bought the wrong one. Huge bummer that I only had the camera from my phone. Nico, being the typical boy teen hates when I take his picture and it showed all over our Easter pics. Probably an overload of pictures but I wanted to get them both in.

Spring Break:

 

This was the happiest I could get them. Landing in Miami, getting ready for the drive to Boca Raton.

An airport shot where everyone is happy to be off the plane and in Miami.

 

 

Tell me again why we live in the Midwest?

Tell me again why we live in the Midwest?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is all Nico wanted to do, not that I blame him.

This is all Nico wanted to do, not that I blame him.

 

Leo and my first date night. Legal Sea Food and Barnes and Noble. My happy place. Nico is thrilled to be in the picture.

Leo and my first date night. Legal Sea Food and Barnes and Noble. My happy place. Nico

is thrilled to be in the picture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And this would be our second date night. Can you tell she is happy to be on it?

 

What? Did you want pictures of the plane ride home where Gia screamed for 45 minutes and strangers felt compelled to stop and ask me if I tried certain things to get her to stop? Because I love that they think I haven’t thought of giving her candy or letting her play with my phone. Did you want a picture of Nico asking me in frustration, “What does she want?” Um, my dear son, if I knew, don’t you think I’d give it to her?!

 

Easter:

Three people and a reluctant dad awake and ready to go find eggs.

Three people and a reluctant dad awake and ready to go find eggs.

 

And one not so much.

And one not so much.

This little one came in first.

This little one came in first.

 

 

 

 

 

This one came in second and we're not sure why in the world, Leo is making that face. Because every Easter morning needs a troll face?

This one came in second and we’re not sure why in the world,

Leo is making that face. Because every Easter morning needs a troll face?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This one was third, though there was some mix-up with Gia taking one of his eggs so he couldn't find it.

This one was third, though there was some mix-up with Gia taking one of his eggs so he couldn’t find it.

 

This one doesn't care that he was last.

This one doesn’t care that he was last.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Candy for breakfast! Should be great while we are sitting in church and the sugar crash comes.

Candy for breakfast! Should be great while we are sitting in church and the sugar crash comes.

 

Tune in tomorrow when I show you what happens when I try to get a family picture. I promise, you’ll get a good laugh. Jody, are you reading this? Come see and then please help. Until then, here are a few that did turn out:

Someone LOVES to be dressed up. Yay!

Someone LOVES to be dressed up. Yay!

 

 

 

 

 

My mom and the girls. How cute is my mom?

My mom and the girls. How cute is my mom?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Yep. That’s as good as it got. I’m telling you. Tune in tomorrow.

How was your Easter and are your kids better at taking pictures than mine are? Some of these are like the 5th takes.

Linking up with My Time as Mom and Mama Track:

 

Essence of Now
 

 

 

 

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Essence of Now: Weekend Update

After the week I had with Nico being sick and then Tommy and Belle’s appointment being such a fiasco, I was really hoping for a nice, quiet weekend and for the most part, it was. The weekends just aren’t relaxing anymore.

 

Friday:

Tommy had a game in Elmhurst that I didn’t go to. I had planned on going but the weather wasn’t that great and I didn’t want to bring Gia because when she goes, I don’t get to see the game anyway. I have to make more of an effort, get a babysitter or suck it up and bring her and see what I can. Now that Nico’s season is over and there is some time before his next phase of basketball, hopefully this won’t even be an issue. Belle went over to a friend’s house so Nico, Gia and I ordered Chinese food and I got to see Gia loving Nico because no one else was around. Normally, he aggravates her until she screams and then asks, “Why doesn’t she love me?”

Teaching her how to blow bubbles with a straw.

Teaching her how to blow bubbles with a straw.

 

Saturday:

It was Nico’s last two games of his freshmen year. Both were so exciting. One was to a team that played dirty and got called on some of their elbowing and grabbing. I love when that happens. Their fans were a bunch of “alpha males” yelling things the entire game so when we won, it was especially sweet. The second game was to a team that previously beat us badly and beating them meant we would win the whole tournament and we did! It was a great way to end the season.

Taken with my phone so not the best.

Taken with my phone so not the best.

 

The phone camera is not good at action shots but still a cool picture.

The phone camera is not good at action shots but still a cool picture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After that we went to my sister’s for my nephew’s birthday. I would have loved to have gotten a picture of Tommy and Gino but the minute we get there, those two go off and aren’t seen or heard from until it’s time to go home. I did, however get a picture of Gia and her other bff, my nephew, Frankie.

They are only 3 months apart. Gia is a little shorty, like me.

They are only 3 months apart. Gia is a little shorty, like me.

 

And Frankie’s dad, my brother-in-law, Santo and Leo:

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Sunday:

We finally had a day where we had no sports obligations. Isabella and I went to church and then Leo and I went on our weekly date to Target. It’s the one day I let myself have a hot chocolate and other than talking about our finances in the home improvement aisle, I really enjoy it. Target, hot chocolate and Leo, three of my favorite things. While there, Leo has a habit of wandering off and spending an insane amount of time contemplating whether he should buy something. It’s been a running joke that if left alone, he would spend a half hour picking out buns or hot sauce or even ketchup. Honestly, the extra 50 cents that I would spend just buying the name brand would be worth it for the time wasted deciding. This Sunday, we needed to buy a new garbage can for our kitchen. Seriously, that is 45 minutes that I’ll never get back and I know more about the different kinds than I ever wanted to. I had to make sure that we didn’t even pass the electronics department because he has been known to get lost looking at TVs and we aren’t anywhere near needing a new one.

Leo, so focused on what was on sale in the men’s department that he didn’t even know I was taking the picture:

Hmmm...do I need this shirt? Is it a good deal? Do I already have it?

Hmmm…do I need this shirt? Is it a good deal? Do I already have it?

 

Picking out the perfect garbage can:

This is all very confusing. Swing top or pivot top? Black or white? Maybe step on? It could be disastrous if we screw this up since we will have this for the next ten years.

This is all very confusing. Swing top or pivot top? Black or white? Maybe step on? It could be disastrous if we screw this up since we will have this for the next ten years.

 

Up this week: Volleyball game, volleyball practice, basketball practices, baseball practices, dance classes and a teen that will be home every day at 2:30 ready to eat dinner.

What about you? How was your weekend? Any big plans this week?

Linking up with My Time as Mom and Mama Track for:

 

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Gia’s Birthday Party and Family Fun

The birthday girl dressed in pink.

The birthday girl dressed in pink.

 

 

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Someone is very excited about getting presents.

Someone is very excited about getting presents.

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She loves to "read" each card.

She loves to “read” each card.

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Family Fun:

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Oh, how I've missed you!

Oh, how I’ve missed you!

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Since I’ve been a little crabby lately (could you tell?), I thought it best that this week be a week of link-ups. Today, I am linking up with My Time as Mom and Mama Track for

 

Essence of Now
 
And since some of these were on my phone, I am also linking up with Boca Frau:

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Essence of Now: Ballet, Flu, Decorations

Living in the moment. Capturing them as they happen. I want to be better at this.

Gia had her ballet recital:

Usually I’m on the other end of the camera but there was no hiding the joy on this day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The flu kept everyone at home this week.

The first one down.

After a day on the Tamiflu and before it hit the others. Tacos on Sunday are almost unheard of but delicious all the same.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Decorating:

This little angel likes to take off all the ornaments and then put them back on. Sometimes they don’t make it back on. It’s every single day…all day long.

I love my houses. I love to look at them and think back to when Christmas meant magic and living without so many worries. It used to be a tradition that the day after Christmas, Leo and I would go and pick out the new one for the next year but Target stopped selling them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’d show you a picture of our patio and how it is half-way done but some people have said they think the person that called on us is someone who is a hater of the blog since I wrote about it here. Some have said it could be from the carolers that were walking the neighborhood the night before the inspector showed up. I think that is giving the blog too much credit and I am going to choose to believe that a person trying to spread Christmas joy isn’t going to turn around and be a jerk. In either case, it makes me feel a whole lot of ick. I hope he/she goes to sleep feeling pretty good about sucking the Christmas spirit right out of the season.

This little one is succeeding in putting the spirit back:

What’s going on in your world? 

Linking up with My Time as Mom and Mama Track:

 

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Essence of Now: Memories in the Making

This week hasn’t all been hard. A lot of memories were made and traditions born.

There was putting up the tree:

I really want to talk about how long this took but I will not be negative in this post.

Failing at tough love means a cute picture:

Why am I the only one awake?

We started the tradition of making and eating warm honey cornbread while putting up the decorations:

The way to a teen’s heart is through cornbread. Who knew? Really, it is through any food in this house.

An evening of family time = three goofballs:

Not sure why Tommy has a disgusted look on his face since that was one of 3 sandwiches he had.

Belle had her chorus program (thank you, thank you, thank you, Lisa Cunningham for making it possible for her to do chorus this year):

With Leo and Nico at the basketball games and Tommy and Belle at friends’, Gia and I put up all the ornaments:

The excitement over every ornament: the real magic of Christmas.

 

The other happenings of the weekend that didn’t get photographed: Nico and Tommy’s basketball games, The Drury Lane Christmas Tea and time spent with extended family.

At the tea on Saturday, the speaker talked about peace and asked us where we felt at peace. I made a joke and said whenever I am without kids or at Barnes and Noble (this one still holds true) but I was wrong. Last night when I had all my kids with me and I didn’t have to worry about when I was picking everyone up, or asking for sleepovers or worrying if everyone was staying out of trouble, that is when I felt at peace and it was WONDERFUL. For the first time in a few weeks, I did. I felt at peace.

 

What about you? How was your week? When do you feel at peace?

Linking up with My Time as a Mom and Mama Track:

 

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Essence of Now: Halloween

I am the Halloween Grinch. Once upon a time, I loved Halloween. I’d put up a lot of decorations. Have candy in candy bowls throughout the house. I’d make a lot of Halloween treats and have costumes picked out and ready to go a month ahead of time. We’d go trick or treating as a family or go to my sister’s and go trick or treating in her neighborhood (that was my favorite). That is no longer the case. The only one home was Gia.

This Halloween, Nico decided he needed a costume the night before, Belle still needed to buy things for her already expensive costume that I am not even sure constitutes a costume and Tommy called me to tell me he forgot his pon poms. Tommy had a rough Halloween all the way around which did not help in my dislike of the holiday. Leo decided that ten minutes before trick or treating he was going to put out every single outdoor decoration we have. To add to the annoyances, I had a toddler who has no restraint when it comes to candy so I got either a sugar-highed tot or a whopper of a tantrum at hearing the word, “No.” My sister and her family and my mom and dad came over for dinner so there was a bright spot.

The cheerleader, the lion and the neon girl

You can’t tell by this picture but he was a Bulls Super Fan. Or someone who looked like the Bulls threw up on him. He started out with Bulls everything. Hat, jersey, pants and ended up with just hat and jersey with a pair of booty shorts that one of the girls gave him. It was a proud Mom moment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The whole neon costume.

 

 

 

 

Trick or treating with Uncle Ricky and Vinnie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I couldn’t get another picture of Tommy. He wasn’t a big fan of dressing like a girl.

Leo got in on the fun after he took Gia trick or treating.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Halloween is over…bring on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

How was your Halloween?

 

 

 

 

Essence of Now
 

 

 

 

 

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Essence of Now: Time Spent with Family

We had one of those weekends that was non-stop. Just a flurry of activity. Good activity. Fulfilling activity.

Saturday started with a cheerleading showcase. I was extremely bummed that I was missing Nico’s football game. He played my old high school and to see him playing on the same field I once cheered on would have been cool. He won and from what I heard had a pretty decent game. I was bummed until I saw Belle cheer. She just shines. She is fun to watch and I am so glad I got to see her doing something she loves to do.

 

Time spent at any of my sister’s houses is a good time. My sister, Gina is hilarious. Just really the funniest person I know and when I am with her, my stomach hurts from all the laughing (I tried to get a picture with her but she wouldn’t…must be a family trait). Good food, board games, late night food runs and trips to Walgreens are the norm.

Some of my favorite people. My mom, my sister, LeeAnna in the background, Marco (1), Belle and Gia.

 

 

 

Three of the four brother-in-laws…where was Santo?

 

Uncle Leo with two of his five nephews. Vinnie (2) and Frankie (3) (For some reason it is really blurry but looked fine on my camera. It was too cute not to include.)

 

My mom being a good sport and playing the game Hedbanz.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a family favorite and one we play with everyone (even Grace and Gab get in on it). Highly recommend it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It started with Tommy’s football game (they won) and ended with Sunday dinner even though we were all together on Saturday. My mom can’t help herself and the twins begged to go because “no one helps them study like Papa.”

Photo by Beth Sparks, our team photographer. Tommy is the one with the ball

Gia and one of her best buds, Vinnie (Chrissy’s son).

 

 

I love this picture. My dad is helping the twins study for a test. It reminds me of when my Papa would help me with my homework.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All of these…memories in the making.

Linking up with My Time as Mom and Mama Track for:

 

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Essence of Now: Homecoming 2012

It’s 4pm on Sunday and we all survived. Nico said it was so fun and that he had a blast. I was the annoying mom taking 100 pictures and I really don’t care. I captured the moment. Someday, he’ll thank me.

First the football game (they won against West Aurora 43-0):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He plays free safety, holds the ball for the kicker (is there a name for that?) and sometimes is on punt return.

 

Friends since playing little league and 2nd grade basketball:

Father and son:

Two of my favorite guys.

Finally pictures with his date:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My heart burst with pride at what a gentleman he was:

He helped his date fix her flowers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And finally one with the whole group:

 

Thanks goes out to the Graham family for letting us take pictures at their house and Jen Webber for carting Nico and his date around all night.

Glad he had fun but soooo glad it is over.

And how was your weekend?

Linking up with My Time as Mom and Mama Track for :

 

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Essence of Now: Tommy

Tommy is my comedy relief. He is the “do anything for a laugh” kid. He adores Gia but in a way that makes her go “Tasmanian Devil” on him. They build Lego towers together and she loves him until he pokes at her one time too many. He thinks he’s being brotherly and funny but she needs a little more space than he’s willing to give. He is also the serious kid on the field. He means business and loves football with all that he is. It’s hard to believe he is the same kid. These pictures capture me enjoying Tommy in his essence of now…in who he is at this very moment. The goofball…

 

The playful brother…

And the football player…

Picture by our team photographer, Beth Sparks

 

What about you? Do you have a kid that has completely opposite sides to his/her personality? Are you like that?

 

Linking up with My Time As Mom and Mama Track for:

 

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Essence of Now: Gia and Time Well Spent

Now that school is in session, Gia and I spend A LOT of time together.

Gia and Vinnie. Where is Frankie? They are all six months apart and together are trouble, trouble and more trouble. :)

 

Cousins make the best friends (we missed Frankie).

 

We went to the zoo (Phillip’s Zoo in Aurora).

 

 

She started her “Mini Ballet” class.

We build A LOT of Lego towers. She insisted on doing her hair herself and insisted on no pants and just a pull-up.

 

We go to Barnes and Noble. Love the crossed feet.

I cannot get enough of this little girl. She is a ray of sunshine.

I would have more pictures of Nico, Tommy and Belle if I could get them to stay still long enough to take pictures. I’ve made it a personal goal to make that happen for the next picture post. They don’t know it but they are each going to take a turn. :)

These pictures happened because Gia asked me to “stop being on the ‘puter.” It’s what happens when time is well spent…when you experience the now. It felt good.

What about you? Did you live in the moment this week? Do you find yourself needing a break from what keeps you from living in the now?

Linking up with Life As Mom and Mama Track for:

 

Essence of Now

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