Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Our trip to the Windy City

Monday began at 4:25am when my alarm went off . In order to be on time for my 7am flight we needed to be out the door by five. The kids did great getting up and ready and I was waving a tearful goodbye from the curb at the Lindbergh terminal by 5:35. Unfortunately Airtran doesn't fly out of that terminal anymore. What a way to start a trip! I quickly called Brian who was able to take the loop around and pick us up and drive over to the Humphrey terminal where, according to Sam, "Let's try this again." Air travel makes me nervous enough, but to be traveling with a baby, all her gear, and get the news that I'm in the wrong terminal...Let's just say, I didn't stop sweating for hours. They were already boarding as I hustled to the gate so I had very little time to get situated. No extra seats meant that I had to nurse Julia wedged between two men. Thankfully she fell asleep as soon as the aircraft began it's march down the runway.
The flight was on time and we arrived as scheduled at 8:30. I called Sarah, my college roommate, who came to pick us up after the morning rush hour had subsided a bit. It was nice to have an hour to roam the airport and catch my breath. I couldn't keep Julia cooped up forever so I found an area of the airport that I hoped didn't receive as much traffic and let her crawl around before giving her hands a thorough scrubbing.

Before long it was time to start the trek out to South Barrington where the studio was located. The time went so fast as we talked our way through the various Chicago 'burbs. I experienced a slight panic when the directions led us to a ritzy neighborhood rather than a commercial zone. We only had 20 minutes to find the studio and no idea where we'd gone wrong. I called the studio and got voice mail for the first time ever. Have I mentioned that I was a sweaty mess most of the day? I hung up, called again and was told "Oh, yes it is in a residential neighborhood." Well that's good, cuz that's exactly where we were - sitting in front of a multi-million dollar home. (Maybe ya shoulda mentioned that on the phone???) We unloaded the gear and headed in to see what this modeling business is all about. I was so thankful to have Sarah there with me. We haven't seen each other in three years, but we always pick up where we left off. I am so blessed to call her my friend.
After they buzzed us in we walked into a room full of babies, children, and parents. It was pretty chaotic. It didn't take long for them to give us paperwork to fill out and get Julia into the makeup chair. Yes, the makeup chair. They used this miracle powder to hide the little bumps that had popped up under her nose. It actually was pretty comical. She thought it tickled.
An hour later the crowd had thinned out to where there were only two other families left in the studio.
This is Julia during the hour we waited for something to do. It's hard work being so cute. :)
They had us rotate from the dressing room to the makeup chair to the place where George took the pictures. Deb, the manager, kept things moving right along and had the baby wranglers hopping to do what she asked. She and I were always on the same page as far as what Julia should wear, what her hair needed, and what to do to help her get her to be happy in front of the camera. But.....over the phone she had assured me that they took the time to get to know the kids before they were put in front of the camera. This was not the case though. Julia was taken from my arms after only two seconds of "getting to know you time." Then a different person (Deb) took a stuffed kitty on a stick and shoved it in her direction in order to get her to look and smile at the camera. As you can imagine, this did not work. They let me be the one to arrange her clothes and stay just out of the shots and Charlie (who eventually developed a rapport with Julia) did the kitty stick poking. Another girl was banished from the kitty stick job after she kept jabbing my daughter with the kitty. Come on people! Nobody is going to smile for the camera when someone is trying to make a kitty kabob out of them!

This is what we saw when we went into the dressing room. The baby wranglers lay everything out before we go in there. Not all those clothes are Julia's. We borrowed some from friends and another little girl's clothes made it in my picture. What's funny about this is that for all the clothes we had along, she spent the majority of the day in her pjs.
Three more outfit changes (and hours) later and we were ready to call it a day. By the end Julia had more makeup on than me. (She kept rubbing off the powder that kept her cheeks from getting too rosy.)
So what did I think of the whole experience? It's hard to describe. On one hand I want to believe what they said about her having the right look, but it's their job to make people think their children have what it takes. If they don't, the parents don't buy more prints to send to agents and they don't get to live in a multi-million dollar home. (I wish I would have taken a picture of the house.)
It's hard to trust someone who has their own agenda. Who knows, maybe she'll get picked up by an agent and she'll have the opportunity to get some money in a college fund. As soon as I start thinking she might have a chance at modeling, a little voice in my head starts whispering, "Sucker!" I guess we wait and see what the agents think.

Before heading to the airport we stopped at Sarah's condo for a quick tour and a walk around her neighborhood.

She has a wonderful life in the city. It was a real treat to see everything - including the sites of downtown.

Sarah dropped us off at the airport at 5:30 so we had time to get through security before our 7pm flight that turned into a 9:45 flight. ugh. Julia stayed awake the entire time we waited at the gate. We played catch with an orange we found on the floor, she practiced walking, and made many friends with other passengers sitting nearby. One passenger she did not go near was the man in shackles. At first I thought the bounty hunters (picture a watered down version of Dog the Bounty Hunter - pony tail, muscle shirt, badge around the neck....), were waiting to apprehend someone coming off of the plane we were waiting to arrive, but no such luck. They were transporting someone on our flight - eight rows behind me. Yeah for empty seats!!!!!

Poor Brian and Sam waited for over three hours for us because the delay in my flight wasn't announced until well after they'd left the house. I think we are all still recovering from being up past midnight that night.

Thanks Sarah for all the driving you did, for helping with Julia at the studio, and for the tour of Chicago. It was sooo good to see you!

Furry Friends

We may not celebrate Halloween or go trick-or-treating, but I'm a sucker for a cute costume.

Sweeter than (Halloween) Candy

Sorry to keep everyone in suspense about our Chicago trip. I do plan to write about it soon. It takes weeks to see the pictures from the 4 hours we were at the studio and who knows when/if an agent will want to represent her.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Jet Lag

I know it's not technically jet lag because I never crossed a time zone, but after traveling with a 12 month old for 19 hours today I feel like I crossed an ocean. It doesn't help that our plane left Chicago 2 hours late or the fact that I was in the row in front of the exit row where the seats don't recline.
I'll save my report on the photo shoot for the morning (or at least the part of the morning that comes after I get 6 hours of sleep). It's good to be home.

p.s. The airport play set I picked up for Sam at the airport is tucked safely under his arm as I type this. Having a box in your side can't be comfortable, but it was that or open it and let him play with it at 11:30 at night. I opted to let him snuggle with the box.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Leaving on a jet plane

If you have a minute, would you please say a prayer for Julia and I that we'll have safe travels in the air and on the roads of Illinois? We leave our house at 5am tomorrow in order to catch a plane for Chicago. We'll be back late tomorrow evening - hopefully with good news about the future of Julia's modeling career.


p.s. This is the farthest away from Sam that I've ever been. I'm leaving him in very capable hands which helps ease some of my anxiety. Thanks Mom, Sharon, Rena, and Gene for staying with my Sammy Sam.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Can he build it?


Sam would give Bob the Builder a run for his money with his tower building skills. He uses all 48 blocks at once to make towers taller than he is. I swear he had no help from us unless you count keeping Julia busy so she doesn't "help" him.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The number of the day

So I thought making a game out of figuring out how many times I put the kids in and then took them back out of the van today, but I'm too tired from the eighteen times I performed this task to be creative. For some reason I get paralyzed by the not knowing of Brian's job search and ignore my to-do list. Normally I get a thrill from taking a pen and slashing a line through a completed chore/project/phone call etc... Lately I've been frozen and unable to accomplish much besides playing with the kids, photographing them, and doing my best to maintain a sense of normalcy in our not-so-normal lives.
Even though Brian didn't get the city job he interviewed for, I still feel better now that we at least have an answer. Today is proof of that. We were up before 6am in order to take Brian to work. The kids were happy and sociable despite being woken up much before they normally do. We all marveled at the glowing moon as it made it's decent towards the horizon during our commute. The kids and I had to wait for the rest of the world to wake up before starting our marathon errand day so unfortunately, that meant an extra in/out of the van.
We left the house again at 9am (If you're double checking my math - we're at 3 in/out of van with kids) ordered prints at Walgreens, went to our church to make photocopies, dropped some daycare paperwork off in the social service mailbox (Thankfully this errand only required that I park at the curb, lock the car, and run really fast up to the mail slot and back.), mailed two packages at the post office, picked up pictures at Walgreens, stopped at Target for the ingredients for the appetizer we're taking to a party tomorrow night.......where does that leave me? (besides ready for a nap) 13- counting getting the kids out at home before nap time. That was just this morning. After naps we hopped back in the car to go to park near where Brian works in order to be closer when he called for a ride. Fifteen minutes after we started playing he called. Back in the car (16), pick up Daddy, get dinner at Sam's Club, and finally call it a day. Yep, that's 18.
Except for needing a way to take Sam to school tomorrow, I don't mind one bit that Brian is driving himself to work in the morning.

Thanks Sharon for staying with Julia so I can use your car to take Sammy to school!!!

My husband would beg to differ

70%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Free Texas Dating

Kim, saw this on yours and had to test it out for myself. I did it a second time and got 78% - probably a more accurate number.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Hot off the presses

The Nov/Dec issue of Mothering Magazine is finally here.

On page 29 you'll see what we've been waiting for....

Monday, October 22, 2007


I may have found my new favorite color to dress Julia in.

Check out those eyes!

A new playm*te

I had the chance to meet Sam and Julia's newest playm*te over the weekend. I can't put into words how absolutely perfect Maisie is so I'll let this picture do it for me.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Pumpkin Picking

Thanks to Daddy we might have found our new favorite spot to pick pumpkins.


"I'll take this one"

I love kids with pumpkin pictures. Don't you?

Happy 3rd Birthday Sam!

For fear that I'll get even more behind I'm going to publish these photos of how we spent the morning of Sam's birthday on October 13th and hopefully post the party pictures soon. Getting healthy and celebrating the birth of Maisie are keeping us busy this weekend. You'll be able to tell from the photos that Sam had a fantastic day. Our Sammy Sam has brought so much joy, humor, silliness, wonder, and love into our lives. We love you Sam!

Riding in the back of a squad car - without seat belts or car seats!

Isn't that a rifle next to Julia's face?

Happy Birthday big bro!

Can you see the kids and I at the front of the new ladder truck?

Put out that fire Sam!!!

Sam kept asking why they were bashing the car (see ax in middle photo).

Sam's expression was pretty much frozen like this the entire morning.
(We had just taken a spin around the block in that fire truck.)

Friday, October 19, 2007

My ah-HA Moment

It's probably time to stop watching Oprah while I breastfeed Julia at bedtime when she stops nursing to sit up and clap along with the audience members.

(I think you had to be there)

Sam: Knock-knock
Me: who's there?
Sam: poooooooop.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I was wondering....

...if someone says they are coming for an appointment between 11:30 and 1 is naive of me to think that they'll be here and gone in that time slot? (I told the Realtor we'd be available either between 11:30 and 1 OR after 3. Ya'd think they'd have half a brain and realize that means she can't be in the house after 1.) The kids are tired, I'm tired, and we're all sick to some degree so come on appraisal lady!!!! Hurry up and get here so I can put my kids down for their naps!!!!!

I was wondering....

...if someone says they are coming for an appointment between 11:30 and 1 is naive of me to think that they'll be here and gone in that time slot? (I told the Realtor we'd be available either between 11:30 and 1 OR after 3. Ya'd think they'd have half a brain and realize that means she can't be in the house after 1.) The kids are tired, I'm tired, and we're all sick to some degree so come on appraisal lady!!!! Hurry up and get here so I can put my kids down for their naps!!!!!

Monday, October 15, 2007


This is why I haven't been blogging about Sam's birthday celebrations over the weekend.

Julia woke up Sunday morning making a wheezing sound. We watched her closely and were definitely concerned, but when you don't have insurance you don't just take them to the ER on a whim. It once took us 6 months to pay off an ER visit that would have been avoided if I'd only taken a couple Tylenol first. Don't get me wrong - we want what's best for the kids, but I know the signs of respiratory distress because of Sam's breathing trouble as a baby/toddler. We monitored her closely at home until 6:45pm when things started going downhill. After sitting in a steamy bathroom with the shower running her breathing became very labored. I knew this was something that needed treatment right away. A quick call to the pediatrician confirmed this and off to the ER we went (right at bedtime). From the time we walked into the ER, to the time she was receiving treatment was only a matter of minutes. The nurses and doctors were wonderful and our sweet baby girl was showing signs of improving within 2 hours of the first dose of medicine. She tolerated a chest X-ray like a champ. I would have freaked out if someone made me straddle something, dangle my feet, put my arms over my head, let a stranger envelop me in hard plastic and make me sit there for a bit. I'll never forget seeing her tiny little X-rays up on the light board next to full size shots of adult chests, feet, and legs.
Poor Julia is suffering from the croup. A nasty childhood illness that is going around these parts. Her breathing was still labored enough that they wanted her to stay for a second dose of meds before letting us go home. By this time it's 9:30 and we've been entertaining ourselves on the same tiny triage bed for 2 hours with only a pacifier, a washcloth, and whatever gizmo this is they use to light up her big toe like ET's finger.

There was still stridor at 9 so we needed to stay for a second round of meds. At 9:30 my exhausted baby finally conked out and didn't wake up until I took her out in the cold night air.
It was after midnight before she was able to curl up in her own bed. She slept until 6 when she woke up to nurse. At 6:30 we had to wake her in order to drive Brian to work (his ride wasn't available today of all days). We had a busy day filled with grocery store runs, Sam's school, a showing, a trip to the chiropractor, and finally home for a much needed nap....until the woodpecker woke her and Sam up. We're praying this clears up soon and doesn't require anymore expensive trips to the doctor. She appears comfortable and shows no sign of struggling to breathe. So far we've been able to avoid the steroids at home and used homeopathic remedies. For anyone who's interested in those details:

Croup Remedy (Taken from the book called Nutritional Healing):
children 6-12 months:
Vit C (with bioflavinoids): 60mg 4 times daily
zinc: 5mg once daily for 3 days
cod liver oil: 1 tbsp. twice daily, in juice
children 1-3 years:
Vit C : 100mg 4 times daily
zinc: 5mg twice daily for 3 days
cod liver oil: 1 tbsp. twice daily, in juice

Thursday, October 11, 2007

3 years ago today....

...was Sam's due date.
but he was two days late.

He was definitely worth the wait.

Turning 21(months)


She's a sweetheart.

She's on the go (a lot).

She's funny.

She's beautiful.

She's a joy to have in our home.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Costumed Creations

Each year I take upon myself the task of deciding on and making our Halloween costumes. We don't trick or treat in the neighborhood (we've taken Sam to the mall once or twice) but our friends throw a party complete with bonfire and hayride. Here's the host in all her glory last year.

We focus on having fun, getting together with friends, and being creative (read: cheap) with our costumes.

One year Brian, his sister, and I were a row of foose ball men, another year I was "Smarty Pants" (I sewed the Smarty candies all over a pair of black pants), last year we were Park Rangers with our bear cubs....
This year Brian informed me that he was going to make his own costume. No more family themed costumes for us. :( I'll still probably try to link the kids and I together somehow. Over the weekend he informed me that he needed a box about 4 feet high for his costume. "Why?" I asked. "Not telling" hmmmmmm.

School Spirit Beanie Crochet Pattern

Beat those winter blues and cold winds with this a FLEECE lined brimmed hat! It seems like everyone is wearing a beanie these days - me in...