All last week, I had told HJ we would decorate for Christmas on Friday.  He was so excited, and woke up everyday saying, “How MANY MORE DAYS??”.  It ended up being even more perfect, because it snowed ALL day Friday.  While the winter storm snowed us in, we Christmas-ified the house while dancing around to Christmas music.


HJ loved putting decorations on the tree…although the majority of them are all in the same vicinity.  Every year, my grandparent’s have given us ornaments with our name and the year on them.  HJ loved finding all of his and making sure to put them all together.  It was sad to think that my grandpa wouldn’t be getting us our annual ornament this year.


HJ also put together our nativity scene and declared the “Fairy goes on top”.  I then had to explain that it was an angel…not a fairy (thanks, Disney!).



The next morning we woke up to a foot of snow and the house all ready for the holiday!  Only 33 more days!


On October 30th, we had an eventful night at our house.  HJ had been wiggling a tooth for a while and it was loose.  Like could turn sideways loose.  My neighbor and I reminded him how we pulled out her son’s tooth a few years before.  I had tied a string to it, and slammed a door.  The tooth popped right out!

HJ kind of liked the idea, but would panic once the string was tied to his tooth.  Once we brought up the idea of a cat pulling it out, he was all on board.  So my neighbor, HJ, me and some string walked next door.  We tied once end of the string to HJ’s tooth, and the other to the cat collar.  My neighbor stepped away and shook the cat’s treat bag.  The cat lunged forward, HJ screamed like he had been shot and fell to the ground.  Then, he started laughing and squealing with excitement.


The tooth was out!  And yes, he was wearing his Pikachu costume and the cat was wearing a Halloween sweater…of course.  HJ was so excited to put the tooth under his pillow, and even more excited to find $2 in quarters the next day.



Ever since HJ turned 3, I have interviewed him with the same questions and put it in his 21 Questions Birthday Book.  Here is his interview from last year.

What is your favorite color? Blue and also yellow and red

What is your favorite toy? Pokémon cards

What is your favorite book? Pokemon and Biscuit

What is your favorite fruit? Blueberries

What is your favorite TV show or movie? Pokémon and Star Wars

What is your favorite game? Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel

What is your favorite outfit?  My pikachu shirt

What is your favorite snack? macaroni and hot dogs

What is your favorite animal? Cat and dog and giraffe

What is your favorite song? How much is that doggie in the window

Who is your best friend? At school, Colin and Lane.  Also, Carsten

What are you scared of? ghosts

What do you love about yourself? That I get on purple (behavior chart at school)

What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Paw patrol blanket and my animals (there are about 10 animals always lined up in his bed)

What is your favorite holiday? Christmas and Halloween

What is your favorite thing to do outside? Play and ride my bike

What is your favorite drink? chocolate milk and Shirley temple

Where is your favorite place to go? Buffalo Wild Wings and Bowling

If you could go anywhere, where would it be? Disney World

What do you want for your birthday? a real live pikachu

What do you want to be when you grow up? Pokémon trainer

Do any of you have birthday interviews?  I love this fun tradition!

bdayashSomehow, my sweet baby turned into a handsome young man.  On November 4th, Harrison James turned 6.

His doorway was filled with streamers and balloons, and we took his annual “going to bed a __ year old and waking up a ___ year old”. (and somehow I deleted them from my phone…and cried)

We left the house extra early in the morning to stop by Dunkin Donuts for a chocolate sprinkled donut (and a coffee).

IMG_0030 I met him for lunch with a chicken mcnugget happy meal, and even got to play at recess (girls chased him the whole time).  After school, his nana took him to a park until I got home from work.


Then we went to his favorite restaurant, Buffalo Wild Wings.  He even picked it over Chuck E. Cheese’s.  Then it was time to go home for cake and presents.

IMG_0013 IMG_0020 IMG_0023He enjoyed getting gifts from his nana and papa, great-grandma and me.  After all the gifts were open, and the cake was eaten, we played until bed time.  He proclaimed it the best birthday ever!

“Grandpas bring a little more wisdom, happiness, warmth and love to every life they touch”

The past few weeks have been difficult for my family.  My grandpa went into hospice on October 13th.  The doctors said there was nothing left they could do.  That his body was shutting down.

For the next week and a half, my family spent as much time by his side as possible.  HJ became use to eating meals at Hospice, and knew his way around the building.  I let him come, because I wanted him to have time with his great-grandpa.  And I wanted his great-grandpa to have a few more moments with him.

After a few visits, I noticed that HJ never once complained when I said we were going to Hospice.  I told him if he didn’t want to come, he didn’t need to.  But he said he wanted to go.

One night, a nurse came in to move my grandpa.  HJ pulled a chair up next to his bed.  I let him know we could leave while the nurse was in there, and he said, “But I love him”.

It was in Hospice that HJ went running into the room to tell his gramps that he was going to be in a parade.  He was so excited to share the news, and even more excited to show off his panther costume the day of the parade.  The last night I brought HJ in to see gramps, we told him we loved him.  At that point, he was doing so poorly, I decided I would go the next day over lunch instead of after work, that way HJ and I could actually spend time at home.

Over lunch, I was able to get Gramps awake to talk a bit.  Before I left, I said, “I’ll see ya tomorrow.”

He said, “I sure hope so”.

“Love you Gramps!”

“Love you too, thanks for coming.”

Those were the last words he was able to say to me.

I cried my way back to work that day because of how he looked.  That afternoon, they started a morphine drip to ease his pain.  He fell into a deep sleep.  While he help on for a few days, he never woke up again.

The next days were hard.  I would go and sit by his bed with my family.  By this point, I had decided to leave HJ at home.  I didn’t want him to remember the man he was named after like that.

My grandma.  She was there, at his bed all the time.  She didn’t want to leave her husband of 67 years.

I visited Friday at lunch, and he looked so much more relaxed than the other days.  I was grateful for that, because it had been getting so hard to go.  Saturday morning, October 24th, he passed away.  My grandma was by his side.

The next week, we had his visitation and funeral.  HJ asked a few hard questions, and I couldn’t help but think how hard this was for him to understand.

I am so glad that HJ was able to get to know his great-grandpa.  I hope he always remembers how much love his “gramps” had for him.


Do you ever feel that parenting is a bunch of threats that you know you won’t follow through with?

“If you don’t pick up your toys, we aren’t going on our trip”

Bullshit.  You already paid for that trip.  Hotels are non-refundable.

Last night, I did the, “if you don’t apologize to your friend for hitting him over the head with a snake, he won’t want to some to your birthday party.” *not a real snake…stuffed snake*

HJ’s response was, “Good!  I don’t want him to come anymore!”

Crud, not the reaction I wanted.  I needed to go bigger. “You won’t be able to have a party AT ALL”.

Even though I already paid for the location, delivered invites, ordered a cake and purchased some favors.  Uh-huh.

Luckily, he apologized.

But what do you do if the kid doesn’t comply?  Do you follow through with those big threats?  Compromise somehow?  I feel like HJ is starting to figure out a lot of my threats are just crap.  Therefore they have turned more into, “Go to your room” as opposed to “we are no longer going to wherever cool it is that I pre-planned”.

But what do you do if the kid WANTS to go to their room?  When I would get in trouble growing up, I would willingly go to my room, I didn’t want to be anywhere near my parents who angered me so.  And HJ has proven to be much like me time and time again.  Sometimes I am saying “Get to your room!” and notice he is already doing that.

I want something so that my child truly knows what happened, and know I am trying to make him into a good person.

And while asking for advise, at what age do you tell a child, “hurry, get in the car so I am not late for work!” and they actually hurry?  I feel like kids have no sense of urgency.  HJ must think, “ok mom, after I change my socks, hug the dog, notice the tag on my shirt is too awful to wear, complain about needing a drink and then start crying when my mom urges me on more”.

What’s better then doing a little shopping for yourself right before your birthday?


Doing a little shopping on ShopBop for 25% off!

I am loving the bootie craze, and these would pretty much go with every outfit.  However, I also love these cute, fringed ones!


I’m also loving the tailored look of these MOTHER jeans, perfect for Friday’s at the office.


And what birthday girl doesn’t need a little jewelry?  I love the look of layered necklaces, and this one won’t break the bank.  This one might break the bank, but it looks so delicate and perfect.


I also love the look of this bracelet.  And I might as well add in this jewelry box to hold it all :).

So do a little early Christmas shopping and save 25% off your order with the code “INTHEFAM25”.  On top of that, Shopbop always has free shipping!

Every now and then, you need a weekend away to visit one of your favorite families.  HJ and I loaded up the car to head to Kansas City for a wild and fun filled weekend.

My friend Courtney and I have boys that are 6 weeks apart, and they loved every second of their time together.  They giggled and ran around, colored and watched movies.  And HJ even got chased around the house a few times with Alex’s little sister trying to give him kisses.


We spent Saturday at the Apple Cider Festival.  The parents had hot cider, while the 3 hooligans got cider slushies.  We also got a dozen cider donuts, that melted in your mouth.  The kids got to see how cider was made, all while slurping on their slushies.


We then went to the pumpkin patch portion.  The kids had fun making bracelets, and going for a tractor ride.  There was a giant slide to go down, and of course pumpkins to hunt down.


When we got back to the house, Courtney put up a bounce house, while the moms sat by with a glass of wine.  Once the kids were in bed, we may have had a few more glasses while entertaining ourselves with dubsmash and being goofy.


Numerous times we said how fun it would be for our boys to grow up together…now I just need them to  move the whole family to Cedar Falls!

*Names in this story have been changed to protect the not-so innocent*

A few weeks ago, a few friends and I were chatting at a restaurant while waiting for our food.  The kids were all being goofy, nothing unusual there.  The girl was teasing the two boys by poking and tickling them.  Her hands must have got to close to private areas, and the mom said, “Ellie, careful!  No poking people’s privates!”.

Ellie looks right at her mom and says, “Why?  You do it to daddy!”

Ellie’s mom stood silent, with a “oh crap” expression on her face.  The other mom and I just laughed and laughed and laughed.