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Fake Eyelashes and Baby Food

Hairstyles For Gymnastics

My 4 year old loves her gymnastics. She’s at the gym several times a week, and as a result, I am sick of boring old ponytails! Lana and I started to branch out a few month ago, and I’m quite proud of the result! In fact, I’ve decided to make some YouTube videos of our hairstyles. I can’t be the only Mom who’s sick of the boring ponytail. Here are some pics of a few of our dos! Tell me which one you’d like to see as a how to video!! Leave it in the comments below.




We’ve done some Viking braids, a crown braid, knotted hair, so many! Might as well share some tips for other Moms of little gymnasts and ballerinas!

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2014 + 1 = A Fresh Start!

I absolutely love a fresh beginning — a reboot. There’s no better time to get your mind straight, to set new goals, re-evaluate relationships, and make changes. 2015 may be an odd number, but it’s a new beginning, and a great chance to get the life you want.

There are no limitations on your dreams. I often find myself “dreaming big”, but putting weird caveats on my dreams. I try to think realistically about my goals, but I’ve realized that by putting stipulations on my deepest wishes, I’m just limiting my possibilities. Why can’t I have EXACTLY what I want? Why must the best, biggest goal have a down side?

A new study found that only 32% of people who make resolutions actually stick with them for a month or more. That doesn’t have to be you! I’m a firm believer in having HUGE dreams, but making smaller more reachable goals that will help you reach the top. It’s the little things, the daily grind that gets you where you want to be. Simply making a goal doesn’t mean that you’ll achieve it. You have to put in the work. It’s the blood, sweat and tears that take you where you want to go — but first, you have to set your personal GPS on the destination.

Think about your life goals like a set of directions. You have to know where you want to be in the end, but it’s the small turns that get you there. Sometimes you have to veer off the main road. Sometimes you have to make a pit stop. If you make the wrong turn — your GPS simply recalculates, and so can you.

Here are a few things to remember in 2015 from the philosophical to the mundane —

1) Happiness is a choice. You can choose to be happy in any situation, at any time.
2) YOU are the only one responsible for your happiness. If you rely on someone or something else to make you happy, you will be disappointed.
3) Your health is everything. Feeling good and looking good are worth the sweat at the gym.
4) Don’t put things in your body that are banned in a majority of the world. Many foods in the US are not good enough for tons of other nations. Do the research, and don’t take risks with your future.
5) Patience truly is a virtue. When you lose your it, you will regret it.
6) Don’t settle. You can have what you want if you’re willing to put in the work.
7) Learn from history — yours and from successful people through time. Times may change, technology may change, but the qualities that make people successful do NOT.
8) If you have children, remember to that your spouse is still important, and that making them feel valued and loved should be a top priority.
9) Try not to judge people too harshly. You never know what they’re going through, or where they’ve been.
10) No dream is too BIG. Go for it!




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Family pictures

We had a family photo shoot last month, and the results were precious! Here’s a sample of just a few of our pics by the incomparable Beth Fletcher.

Backstory — Lana and Leo were in a happy mood, but Miss Willow wasn’t having it in the beginning. A few skittles later…she was in it to win it!

In case you’re wondering…Lana is 4 and a half, and Leo and Willow are 2 and a half.









Clean up, clean up!!

It literally took ALL day, but we finally got the kids’ toys cleaned, sorted and organized. Good God was it a job!!! We’re giving away SO many toys. Goodwill will be getting a huge donation of stuff for babies.

All of our toys had gotten scattered. Sofia was hanging with Jake, and Mickey was playing in the Octopod. Now that everything is back where it belongs, the kids are SO excited about their toys. Everything old is new again.

Now Lance and I feel better about getting new, age appropriate toys for Christmas. SO glad we cleaned it out before adding more stuff to the pile.

The kids were excited to give some toys away to kiddos who need them. It made them feel good. They’ve got new rules though! Now, we clean up our toys before we leave the area. I’m embarrassed to say that we didn’t do it before, but it’s never too late to start!!




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It’s cold…Oh well!

As a meteorologist, I take the heat for bad weather. I get nasty looks in the store, constant questions about when it’s gonna warm up, etc. It comes with the territory, and I’m cool with that.

Recently, we’ve had stories about parents who are really worried about outdoor recess in cold weather. I get it. I worry about my kids, just like every other mother. That being said, I also highly value the importance of getting outside — the benefits of vitamin D from the sun, fresh air, and exercise.

We take our kids outside in all kinds of weather, but we make sure they’re dressed appropriately!




My pediatrician shares a similar theory on the importance of kids getting outside, and ‘blowing the stink off’. He says that it’s ok for kids to play outside, in all kinds of weather. The exceptions — way too cold, way too hot and whenever there is thunder and lightning.

So what’s too cold?? It depends on what YOU. What makes you nervous, but, don’t forget to weigh the benefits of being outdoors into the equation! Here’s a guide from the National Weather Service on the temperature/wind chill times that you can be outside before frostbite could be an issue.


Don’t push it, but let your kids enjoy the outdoors. There’s really no reason to hibernate all winter, as long as you dress for the weather.





Your kids have built in weather detectors (thanks evolution!). If it’s too hot, or too cold, chances are, they won’t want to stay out for long anyway! Sometimes, even a few minutes of fresh air can make a world of difference in attitude, health, and behavior.


October Favorites

I’m just getting around to my October favorites list. I’ve got some great stuff to share with you. My faves this month span the gambit from podcasts to mascara to the thing that put my mind at ease on my recent flight to Europe. Without further ado — the things I’ve been loving this past month.

1) No Mascara Mascara
I have tried so many mascaras, I’ve lost count. I’ve tried everything from the super cheap drugstore mascaras to uber expensive ones. My current fave is Perricone’s ‘No Mascara Mascara’. If I’m honest, the mascara looks great, but it doesn’t look that different from many other more expensive brands that I’ve tried. The applicator is a little weird, BUT — this stuff has an eyelash treatment in it, and that stuff works!! My lashes are noticeably longer, thicker and fuller. Even our makeup artist sees the change. It’s good stuff! It isn’t cheap though. No Mascara Mascara runs about 30 bucks.


2) Hozier

Hozier’s ‘Take Me to Church’ is my new jam. It’s not a workout song, but it is such a good one. My kids love it, and even sing along — Willow especially — watch this cute video of her singing!

3) Jo Malone
I LOVE Jo Malone. I’ve got her Orange Blossom perfume, and my new fave, Wood Sage and Sea Salt. I absolutely love perfumes, and Jo Malone’s fragrances are amazing. The range includes lots of different scent “feelings”, so there’s something for everyone. They also make candles and home stuff too. Next on my list is their Incense and Embers candle. Sounds like it’s right up my alley. They’re also really into packaging, so all their items come in pretty little boxes with bows. So great for Christmas gifts!!

4) Clorox Bleach Healthcare Germicidal Wipes
Lance and I just got back from our trip to Belgium. It was SO great, but I was a little stressed about the flight from Belgium, back to the States. Normally, I could care less about germs, I just don’t stress about it. Unfortunately, the whole Ebola fear was ramping out of control right before we left. I also found out that Brussels was the only European city still accepting direct flights from West Africa, AND that there was a flight transfer from the Liberian flight, right on to my United flight home to O’Hare. Not gonna lie, I was just a tad concerned, and I didn’t use the airplane bathroom all the way home. Stupid? Maybe, but I don’t care. I also bought some serious wipes — healthcare grade — known to kill almost all viruses and bacteria within a couple of minutes. These are strong, really bleachy smelling wipes. They do the job. Did you know that most Clorox wipes that you buy in the stores don’t actually contain bleach? These do! They aren’t cheap, but they did give me some (likely misguided) peace of mind.

5) Medieval Archives Podcast
LOVE me some history, specifically the Middle Ages, and this podcast is AMAZING! The topics are super interensting, and they are usually the perfect length for my drive home from work. Whether or not you like history, or the Dark Ages, these are interesting stories about human nature, and our collective human history. I LOVE them. I also follow Medieval Archives on Twitter…of course.

medieval archive

And there you have it! My favorite things from the past month. Let me know in the comments if you’ve tried these products, or it you plan to try them. I’d love to hear from you guys!

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Halloweenie and an Emmy

Rain, snow, sleet, 60mph wind gusts and a temp around 36. Welcome to Halloween in Chicago. My poor kids.


We dressed up, and powered through, but it was miserable!!


Willow went as Aurora, or Sleeping Beauty, for those of you not in the know. Leo was owning it as Superman. Lana followed through with her Mount Vesuvius idea. She was SO excited about her volcano costume, and she was definitely the only one we saw!



We were out for about 15 minutes of hell. The kids were miserable, but we powered through long enough to get them some candy.

This is a brief snapshot …

And in other news, our show won an Emmy for our tornado coverage! So proud of our morning team. Now I get one of these babies of my own!!



When In Brugge…

Lance and I initiated a “mommy/daddy time” plan last year. We took a vacation, just the two of us. We reconnected, we had meals where we didn’t cut anyone’s food, we missed our kids, we explored, and we gave ourselves a little break in a beautiful place. Last year, we went to Ireland, and had a blast (pics are in a blog post from October ’13).

This year we went to Belgium. We drank beer, explored old churches and castles, and generally had a great time. We spent two nights in Brugge, two nights in Rochefort, and two nights in Brussels. I would highly recommend it!! I feel like Belgium is often overlooked in favor of France, or Germany or The Netherlands. It shouldn’t be! It’s a gorgeous country with wonderful food, nice people, great beer and a long and storied past. Two thumbs up from us. Now — enjoy a few pictures!

Chateau Veves just outside of Celles

Chateau Veves just outside of Celles

13th century castles -- when taking the stairs could kill you

13th century castles — when taking the stairs could kill you

Trappist abbey that brews Rochefort beer (Lance loved it)

Trappist abbey that brews Rochefort beer (Lance loved it)

Belgium Namur

Belgium Leffe

Belgium Ghent2

Belgium Ghent1

Gorgeous Ghent

Gorgeous Ghent

Belgium flag





The small, but gorgeous town of Celles

The small, but gorgeous town of Celles

Belgium Brussels3

Belgium Brussels2



Belgium Brugge2



Belgium Brugge Hall

The meeting hall in Brugge

The meeting hall in Brugge

Looking out on the market square from the Belfry high above Brugge

Looking out on the market square from the Belfry high above Brugge


To Everything There Is A Season

From the beginning of organized social behavior, humans have celebrated, worshipped, bemoaned, and been mystified by the passing of seasons, the spin of the earth, and the effects on our bodies and souls. From Loughcrew to Stonehenge, the Mayans to the Egyptians, and astronomers to astrologers — it is human nature to wants answers, reasons, explanations.

In this day and age, we know what causes the seasons. The words equinox and solstice are not new, and for most, they do little more than mark the passage of time. In our busy, social media enhanced lives, the autumnal equinox is a cue to google ‘best place to get pumpkins’, or to take your 1st day of Fall selfie. It can mean so much more.

As a meteorologist, the seasons impact me more than most. I deal with floods and severe storms in the Spring, heat waves in the Summer, a secondary tornado season and snow in Fall, and blizzards and bitter cold in the Winter. I mark the passage of seasons as part of my job — a time to shift my energies from one natural hazard to the next. A few years ago, I decided to embrace the change of seasons like my Viking ancestors. I have reclaimed the mystery, the soul of the seasons’ spin.

This year, we celebrated the Autumnal Equinox with pumpkins, a bonfire, and a dinner that was mostly harvested from our garden. We put our phones down, we turned the television off, and we spent time together, outside in nature. We partied like it was 700 AD. The kids picked flowers and tried to find colorful leaves. They climbed on a wood pile, and ate late season strawberries right off our plants. Lance and I watched them enjoy nature, watched them explore the changes that fall brings to the Earth.

Humans have forgotten the importance of the seasons because we no longer depend on them for harvest, hunting and shelter. Now we’ve got AC, heat, running water, cars, and grocery stores. That doesn’t mean that we have to let go of our past.

Autumn is a time to reconnect with yourself after the busy summer full of parties and sunshine, pools, and no school. Now it is time to get back into your routines, to focus inwards on what you want, and to buckle down and make it happen. It’s time to revel in sunshine with a cool Autumn breeze, and to revel in what little time we have left before winter moves in with it’s icy fingers.

What do you want? What changes do you want to make. How can you reconnect with the human need, the human desire to understand and celebrate what the Earth has to offer? Prioritize. Remember what’s important to you, and why. Teach your children that even though we live in a modern age, our ancient ancestors were proof that happiness can be found in the simple things.




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Stories To Watch This Week

It’s a big world out there, and there’s a lot of news to sift through. If I’m honest, it doesn’t all interest me. I’m guessing that you feel the same way. Some stories speak to you, and some don’t. This is what I’m following this week.

Scottish Referendum
The Scots have fought for their independence since the dawn of time — usually from England. 700 years ago, Robert the Bruce won the Battle of Bannockburn, beating superior English forces, and grabbing control of Scotland. Back then, they used the sword to determine the victor. In this day and age, it’s a vote for Scottish independence. The Scots will hit the polls on Sept 18. I’m not an economist, or a political strategist, but this could obviously have far reaching global implications.

scotting flag

Hurricane Odile
Hurricane Odile tied for the strongest hurricane to hit Baja California Sur in the satellite era. It made landfall as a Cat 3. In 1967, Hurricane Olivia also hit that area as a major hurricane. Odile has created a swath of damage across the tourist area of Cabo San Lucas, and will now bring heavy rains and flooding to the Southwest. The moisture from Odile may even end up in the Midwest by the weekend!


Booster Bumping
A new study by Safe Kids Worldwide was released this morning, saying that 90% of parents move their kids from booster seats to seat belts too soon. Your children should be buckled in car seats or boosters until 57″ tall and between 80-100 lbs. I know there’s always a desire to move your kids to the next phase, whether it’s car seats or baby food, but RELAX. Take your time, and make sure your kid is ready for the next step.


NFL Abuse
I won’t get into the details on this wide-reaching story. You’re either following it, or you’re not. I will say, however, that this is shining a light on domestic abuse and child abuse, and that can’t be a bad thing. It’s a problem that often stays in the dark. People either try to hide it, or their just afraid to have the discussion. It’s a problem for every segment of the population across the whole world, and it’s now in the spotlight.

Deepika Padukone’s Cleavage
If you live in the US, you probably don’t even know who Deepika Padukone is — she’s a Bollywood star, and she’s awesome. The Times of India tweeted a pic of her this weekend, with the caption – “OMG: Deepika Padukone’s cleavage show”. Deepika didn’t like it, and she tweeted a series of messages to The Times saying, essentially, “yeah, I’ve got boobs, and if you’re gonna talk about women’s empowerment, try to respect women first”. Amen Deepika.


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