Friday, June 29, 2012

Sum, sum, summertime!

It's four weeks into summer already. Which, btw, how the hell did THAT happen? Someone must have  dropped a roofie in my lemonade the first week of June because I can't for the life of me believe that a MONTH without school has gone by so darn fast. I mean, sure, we've been busy....but still, a month?

I'm not even tired of the kids yet.


My day will come, oh yes, it will come.

I purposely slammed our schedule with events during the month of June so that in July we can all CHILL THE HELL OUT. Which is still highly unlikely.

The first week of our summer began with the Chicago Womens Funny Festival, which also meant that so many great friends came into town to see it!

We had memorable dinner parties at home

and frolicked in the big city

The Terrace at Trump Tower
and enjoyed the type of conversation that can only come from college friends. Friends who have known Eugene and I before we were Eugene and I. Friends that have moved away but still remain a presence in our lives. Friends that you can genuinely let loose and laugh with--those are the best, huh?! Spending time with them brought me right back to my twenties--and what a great place that was.

One of those aforementioned friends is Ed, who stayed with us the week after the show. 

Which meant there was even more laughter that filled our home--and if you know Ed, you'd know his signature laugh a mile away.

Don't believe me, watch this:

My kids adore him. As we waved goodbye to Ed,

we found ourselves shortly thereafter singing Happy Father's Day to Eugene.

Which brings us to the third week of June, which was marked with play dates and swimming. 

Lots of swimming.

I'm shocked that all three are not only looking at the camera but actually smiling. 

 Last Friday, as I was waiting for Eugene to arrive home so that we could grab our trunki's and head out of town for a friends wedding, I got a call that his flight was cancelled and that there was no way he'd make it home in time for the wedding. Three kids at a wedding by myself? Uuggh. Doesn't it just make you want to twitch?

Their suitcases were already packed and ready to go. 

 We promised the kids hotel swimming and my kids LOVE claiming their new hotel "homes," I couldn't strip them of that. So I packed the kids up and since Peoria was on the way to the wedding, I picked up a friend that was planning on attending the wedding anyway.

They spent the next morning tasting EVERYTHING that was offered at the continental breakfast (classy) and wreaked of chlorine from hours spent swimming in the indoor pool.

And by the time I finally got all three kids asleep for naptime, I had to wake them up 30 minutes later to get them all dressed for the wedding.

Taking care of three kids at a wedding was exactly as I thought it would be. I couldn't tell you how many times Mia inadvertently lifted my dress flashing my spanx to everyone. 

But thankfully I had friends in every direction willing to help out.

My kids ate Skittles all night long (dude, I was outnumbered) and took their sugar high 
to the dance floor. 

It turned out to be a great night, actually. 

Congratulations to Alison and Derrick!

We are all headed to Vegas next week to visit my new nephew and I can't wait to see our California and Vegas family again. But mostly? I can't wait to smother that little baby with our love, which I will most definitely do the MOMENT I see him. I'm coming for you Morgan!!! 

Oh and I plan to gamble. 


Ding, ding, ding!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Palos Ink'd

Last September our family volunteered a "temporary tattoo booth" at the S.O.S. Children's Villages annual Balloonfest.

The girls had such a memorable time putting tattoos on other kids that they've been asking to do it again and since "volunteering" was on our summer to-do list, I organized a little tattoo booth at our local Concert-in-the-Park last week.

What a great night it was!

The preparation began days before, when we had fun creating the banner. I say fun, when really they argued over who gets to draw on what space, who draws the pink flower, who draws the girl and how the banner MUST show directions to Pixie Hollow (WTH?) and a WHOLE LOTTA whining. 

So we let Chance in on the action to act as the great mediator. It worked.

When we arrived, cruise director Bella got us all set up. I've never before seen anyone so excited to tape up a banner.

They browsed the selections and picked out a tattoo for Chance so they could "refresh" their spraying, rubbing, and peeling skills.

Yep! Still got it! They were ready for their first customer. 

Bella began chanting (over and over again LOUDLY) 

"Free tattoos. Come and get your free tattoos" 

and Mia would chime in two beats behind Bella and repeat it, just a tidge-bit quieter, though. 

And sure enough, the kids came.

Some were new faces and some were our neighborhood friends. Like sweet little Piper here, who adorably called out the name of every tattoo, finally deciding on the dinosaur.

And then Bella went into her schpeel, "now don't be afraid if the water is cold, it'll just be a second" assuring every customer that they're in safe hands. 
It was precious actually, she's such a born leader.

And when they'd peel it off everyone was excited! 

The girls took turns taking breaks from our booth to get their face painted.

and to get some popcorn refills.

Chance realized quickly that patience wasn't his thing and decided to spray 
everything and everyone in sight. 

Even Mia was applying the tattoos, ALL BY HERSELF! She kept telling me that she could do it without my help and sure enough, she could.  Here she is proudly pointing at her work (btw-I love watching her independent self grow these days.)

As a family, Eugene and I are always trying to teach our kids the importance of "giving back." One way is by volunteering our time and our effort into something, like this simple tattoo booth, which was ridiculously easy to put together, fyi. It just took a little forethought and a phone call. The best part is that they had fun. I mean, they REALLY enjoyed it, making our effort feel that much more special.

And we're hoping that a lot of these little things will add up to something great later on.

"Everyone can be great because everyone can serve"   - Martin Luther King Jr.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

To Jill With Love

"Friendship is born at the moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one." -- C.S. Lewis

My palms were sweaty. My leg was twitching up and down and I nervously refluffed my turtleneck collar over and over again as I watched another performer at the front of the room. I laughed when everyone else laughed, not because I knew the punchline but because I was frantically going over my speech in my head and pretending to be a good listener. I fooled no one.

I looked to my right and locked eyes with this adorable blonde haired, blue-eyed girl also sporting the familiar leg twitch. She smiled. I immediately took that huge smile as an invitation to disclose just how nervous I was, that this was my first speech tournament and I just might puke when I get up there.  And then I asked her name and what school she was from, "Jill from Oak Lawn" she replied, "This is my first tournament too."

When it was my turn to perform, for some reason I wasn't nervous anymore. That huge smile of hers not only comforted me---but encouraged me. And while yes, we were in fact competing against each other, never once did it feel like competition. It was something more.

And that's how our friendship started, circa 1991.

Hmmm, how to describe her? Well, think of the funniest person you know. Got it? Okay, well she would blow that person out of the water and leave them flipping over in the sand gasping for air. 


Jill was two years younger than me, so after I spent two years on the Bradley University Speech Team I encouraged her to bring her talents there. And she did. And our friendsip grew even more.

Our Planet Hollywood Basement at the Bourland house

I learned that behind the funny face was a loyal friend, a supportive friend, an honest friend.

Being college roomies, we've shared SO many laughs over the years. Too much to mention in fact.

But shiiiiit, we've had our share of late night drunken bathroom stall talks and were there for eachother when our hearts were broken. Several times. Obnoxiously singing at the top of our lungs, 
laughing so hard we have to cross our legs to avoid piddling, 
dancing when no music was playing---this is how I remember us.

God only knows what we're doing. And wth was a wheelchair doing in our house?

I stood up for her when she married her true love.

Once again having another late-night bathroom talk, of sorts.

I kid, this was totally staged. But wouldn't it make a great Elegant Bride cover?!

When it was my turn to marry, Jill and her Mom (whom I adore) 
traveled to Italy to share in our happiness.

And although we have such different lives, when we see eachother, it's as if no time has passed. 

The key to a great friendship, I think. 

Since I worship the comedic ground she shimmies on, I had no choice but to oblige her
when I recieved the following text 

Just like that she brought me back in.

And once again my palms were sweaty and my leg twitched up and down as I nervously tugged on my blazer. I half-heartedly listened to the other performers from backstage as I ran over bits in my head. When it was my turn to perform, for some reason I wasn't nervous anymore. Just like that high school day 20 years ago, I looked to my right and that adorable blonde-haired,  blue-eyed girl smiled back at me with encouragement, making me feel like I could do it.

And so I did.

Thank you Jill, for everything.  

If you'd like to see the performance, here ya go...

Sunday, June 17, 2012

End-of-Year Q&A

This year for our end-of-year teacher gifts we decided that a blend of homemade gifts as well as some gift certificates would be appropriate. I'm new to the school scene, so I wasn't quite sure what to do. I keep telling my kids that some of the best gifts we could give someone are our own that's what we did. For Bella's Kindergarten teacher we made a fancy-schmancy clipboard, complete with an "End-of-Year Q&A" with Bella.

My favorite answer from the Q&A was when I asked Bella what she thought her teachers favorite ice cream was and she responded, tropical fruit gelato! WTH?? That is so random and so hilarious! To make this, we bought an ordinary clipboard and made it fancy with decorative paper, stickers, tape, ribbons and a whole lotta' ModgePodge.

Here's the back:

I let Bella write whatever she wanted and I smiled at the result.

This year has been so special for her. And Eugene and I LOVED her teacher so much--we wish Bella could have her every year!

For Mia's teacher gifts, she chose to decorate a birdhouse for one of her teachers.
And of course, I modge-podged a Q&A on the back of it too! 
I'm lethal with that modge-podge--watch out!

She spent days painting it and adding "sparkly jewels."

For her two other teachers, she decorated a personalized bag for them and I ironed on a Q&A on the other side with those iron on-printable transfers.
In Mia's Q&A every teacher was described as either "gorgeous, beautiful or fancy."

What a great year this has been for my daughters. They've had such amazing experiences at both schools and dare I say it---they're looking forward to next year.

What about you? What do you like to give your children's teachers as an end-of-year thank you? Please share any ideas that you have, I'm always looking for new ones!

Here comes summer!


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