A Quick Trip To Chicago

Because I can’t seem to get enough of Elsa and the gang from Frozen, I sweet talked Dan into carting us and the girls down to Chicago on Friday for Disney’s Frozen On Ice for a Saturday morning show.  And how ironic is it that we had to get out of that town early because it appears that “the Queen has cursed this land!”  (Lame Frozen joke).  But seriously, it was either be stranded in Chicago until the weather calmed down or risk being stranded on an interstate with two toddlers.  I’ll take neither, thanks.  Luckily we were able to see the show and get back to the hotel to pack up before the storm rolled in.

wpid-photogrid_1422826644781.jpgAnd yes…yes I did pay $30 for light up snow flake wands…not just one, two.  As you can see it was far from our worst investment as parents, although I wouldn’t say it was our favorite.  All in all, it was a great show.  I was right there belting out each song with Tessa and Kendal because all three of us have every word of Frozen embedded in our brains.  Sure the entire row of kids behind us dumped their $12 snow cones all over the floor under our seats, saturating our bags and coats; but we were so close to the action that we could actually see the sweat rolling down Kristoff’s cheek.  The smiles beaming from these two were priceless and the sheer joy that erupted from them when Olaf came skating out was well worth the snow flake wands, matching outfits, tickets and three and a half drive to downtown Chicago just in time for rush hour.

We cruised a few blocks around Michigan Ave. on Friday night and grabbed some serious Chicago Style pizza, finished with the greatest chocolate chip cookie and ice cream dessert I have ever had.  We went swimming in the hotel pool, then curled up to the sound of the noisy streets below.  It was perfect.  No work, no plans.  Just the sight of sleepy travel buddies snuggled in next to us.

*Two full beers that somehow made their way far away from mom and dad...

*Two full beers that somehow made their way far away from mom and dad…

When we had to end our time in Chicago early, we surrendered our plans to go to Shedd Aquarium and the Chicago Children’s Museum. We (and by we, I mean Dan) spotted a Cabela’s about an hour outside of Chicago, so we pulled in to let the girls run around for a while.


Miss Sassy decided to show up once we said we were moving away from the fresh fish aquarium.  And I am not going to lie, it was pretty hilarious.  I mean it was a full on back turn, arms crossed, head down, pout.  Maybe Dad didn’t think so, but I sure did!

Needless to say, we were all a little tired when we got home last night.  But I hope that many more little trips are in the future. Because we have memories for days from this weekend.  What I loved most is seeing the girls outside of their normal; pulling them from structure and seeing how they respond.  While it may not always be what we as parents had hoped for, there are times like this weekend when it was.  More importantly, I love setting aside time to treat them to something fun and unexpected.


Dear Tessa: Moments

Dear Tessa,


Look at this.  Seriously. Over-sized snow pants, mismatching everything, a snowman without eyes and two happy girls.  Cuteness overload.  When it is 40 degrees in the middle of January in Wisconsin, we have to take advantage of it because that is just as good as spring break.

wpid-photogrid_1422474695477.jpgThis was the first time you had been out to play in the snow in two years.  It was also Kendal’s first time ever playing in it.  And even though neither of you could move easily or run whatsoever, we giggled at the sight of one another covered in snow after several tumbles–mom included.  It was the best.


I knew getting you both inside would not be easy considering how much fun we were having, and I was definitely right.  Sweet belly laughs were followed by immediate tears and disappointment when I mentioned the word “inside.”  Nothing a little hot chocolate and marshmallow bribery couldn’t take care of.

I remember waiting for these days and wondering if they would ever be.  Disciplining myself to have patience through hardship taught me to savor the unwritten moments that often take us by surprise. Moments like this…wpid-photogrid_1422477835956.jpgJust recently you attempted to write your name, unprompted and unassisted, while taking a bath.  And you nailed it.  Or times like this…

wpid-photogrid_1422477811664.jpgWhen you and Kendal dutifully “fold” (and I mean that very loosely) the laundry.

Sometimes I catch a glimpse of you, and I can see in the mystery behind your big eyes.  Other times you are more transparent, allowing me to see and feel just how big your heart is.  “Mommy, you okay?  Need hug?”  Because I am definitely guilty of being emotional around you.  There, I said it.

Moments where you seek our praise and approval.  “Mommy, wook!  I did it!”  “Dad, ah-mere (come here), I make puzzle!”  Or when you struggle to find the best possible place on your potty chart for your Dora stickers after going to the bathroom, “This one okay?”  And we are happy to dish it out.

Kendal, eat supper.  I love you.

Case dog (Casin…yes, sometimes she calls him Case dog)!  Downstairs please!  Now!”  

These odd and hilarious conversations and commands that keep you and your siblings as close as ever.

It is in these moments where parenting you is most rewarding. Because I see the goodness you possess and how it blossoms more and more.  Some of it you’ve had on your own, and some of which you’ve learned from your surroundings.

wpid-photogrid_1421093980703.jpg Please keep these moments coming.

Love, Mom.