We’re limping to the end of the school year and the soccer season.  Honestly, how is it that the school year is still going? It feels like Nico has been in fourth grade for 65469898 months.

Since he has been old enough to entertain himself (more or less), I stopped stressing about summers and days off.  When Nico was little, it could be stressful trying to figure out what to do with him when he was out of school and I still had to work.  Particularly during those times when I switched jobs and didn’t have any PTO or that one spring break when the guy I was working for was a real son of a bitch and didn’t “get” childcare issues.  I said what I said.

For about the last 2 years though, I crave summer.  During the school year, we have to get Nico up for school between 615-630.  It was 6am when we lived in North Park.  Then it went to 615 when we moved to Rogers Park.  Back in March, we chopped the routine down further, so that we can get him up at 630 and still *mostly* make it to school on time (which starts at 730).

But because I don’t want Nico to be a surly bastard at school, it means we have to get him in bed by 930.  I mean, I would prefer that he is in bed at 900.  But sometimes a lot of times, we will settle in on the couch to watch a Cubs game and he’ll fall asleep there. Even so… right now we have three sports going on: judo on Mondays, soccer on Tuesdays and Thursdays, baseball on Wednesdays and Fridays, Me playing soccer on Wednesday night, Dave playing soccer on Friday night.  Not to mention the myriad of baseball and soccer games that happen on the weekend.  Most nights that we have some type of practice, we’re getting home at 8pm.  Which means that we are whipping through the night, getting dinner, showers, homework done, etc.

But that is only because we have to have a dropdead time of 9-930 for bed.  When Nico doesn’t have school the next day, nights are luxurious.  We take our time with dinner… I don’t have to crack the whip at Nico and Dave.  We can listen to music and read and go to bed when we are ready.  Sometimes, if Dave is still working and Nico isn’t ready to sleep… I’ll go to bed when I am tired. Or early if I want to catch the gym in the morning.

In my opinion, we don’t talk enough about how much of a beat down the school year is for parents.

In any case, this is the first year that we haven’t signed Nico up for park district summer camp.  The first two years, he was really into it.  But he’s nine now.  And has a play station, ipad, ipod touch.  And wifi.  And a dad that works from home.  So, we have had progressively more resistance to going to summer camp… which I don’t really blame him for.  I would be the same, particularly since some of most relaxing times involve laying on the couch reading stuff on my phone.

We have some plans though… Nico would like to do a lot more crafting this summer.  Which is absolutely fine with me.  We need to overhaul his room and I want to get a crafting nook/work space in his room that I can just stock with stuff from my craft closet.  And stuff he wants to learn to do.  Also, despite the fact that I seem like I am on him all the time to stop being a dickhead about stuff, he is actually fairly mature.  I would be proud to pop into any pottery studio or any place that is doing craft stuff with him and I think he’d be all in.

Some of the things we’d like to do this summer:

  1. Do some of the crafts on 5 minute crafts (Nico and Jessi).
  2. Learn to paint with water colors (Nico and Jessi).
  3. Practice french (Nico).
  4. Piano or guitar lessons (Nico).
  5. Get a planner set up for next year with quotes, pics, etc (Nico).
  6. Learn to use a camping stove (Jessi).
  7. Lake Michigan Circle Tour (Jessi, Dave, and Nico).
  8. Craft nook for Nico’s room (Nico and Jessi).
  9. Purge craft closet (Jessi).
  10. Lego robotics lessons (Jessi and Nico).

I think this has the makings of a fun summer!

Memorial Day Tournament in Naperville

Nico had the Wolf Tournament (Judo) this weekend.  And a soccer tournament.  So, we did judo on Saturday and joined the team for soccer on Sunday.  They ended up winning the soccer tournament.  It was brutally hot.

I like that he is into the social part of being on a team.  Maybe that means he won’t be a total A-hole when he grows up.

He played really well.  I love that he has taken to being a keeper.  I think it suits him.

The End of Summer

The summer was disorienting, because it went by, both really fast and really slow.  Slow in the sense that childcare for Nico once summer camp was over was kind of a beat down.  And our house is so small… it was tricky with Dave trying to work from the house.  And if I worked from home to help out, it just felt like we were all on top of each other.

Nico had a riot with sports though.  Swimming really clicked for him over the summer.  And he ended up *really* liking baseball.  I think we just need to accept the fact that he is going to have to be a two-sport athlete all the time now.  It looks like the fall is for soccer and judo, the winter is for either basketball or hockey and judo.  The spring is for soccer and judo again (or baseball?).  And the summer is for baseball and judo.  I guess.  I don’t know.  I used to think I needed a personal assistant to manage my life.  Turns out, I need a personal assistant to keep up with Nico’s sport schedules.


Overall a good summer.  They managed to get down to Louisville to see Mike and Gay and Tony and Kathy.  They did a little birthday party down there.  We decided to wait on Nico’s birthday party in Chicago because there were so many of his friends out of town, traveling and such.  So, we are going to have a little birthday party at the lake this weekend.  I think he is going to have fun.


*Interestingly* we are in a fantasy football league.  I say *interestingly* because, if you know how I feel about the NFL, you would say it’s odd.  But the league is run by a guy I went to grad school with.  He and his wife and his best friends are really fun people and I really just wanted a chance to hang out with them more.  A by-product of this though, is that Nico is all about it.  He is really into it.  He loves helping me set the roster and thinking and talking about trades.  It is really adorable.


So far the transition to 2nd grade has been very easy.  Nico has been a jem- he seems to be growing like a weed in front of my eyes.  He lost several teeth this summer.  And seems to be maturing a bit.  Still a sass-mouth, smartypants.




Boy of Summer

How about if I don’t do the thing I normally do, which is shamefully acknowledge how I have neglected the blog. How awful I am as a mother.  Yada yada yada.  I been busy, y’all.  The thing is, that I was looking forward to the summer being a slow down from the spring.  It hasn’t really been much of a slow down.  Work started pretty hectic, but it has “slowed” down a bit.  I say “slowed” and I mean just the “required” stuff at work.  I have so much that I am working on aside from the things I have to do.
I am trying to learn R (a computer language and statistical package).  Plus I have several projects I am trying to wrap up.  I have a presentation later this month and next month (in Paris) that need attention.  And the sociology department asked me to teach a class in the Fall- maybe two.  I am trying not to be overwhelmed about everything, which is doable, as long as I don’t think too long about all the things I am not doing well.
We started Nico in Cubs Care baseball this year.  He really likes it.  He is the oldest kid in the class- he is almost 7 and the rest of the kids are either 5 or just turned 6.  So, he is head and shoulders above the class in terms of listening, coach ability, and athletic skills.  His coach seems to really like him- and has set him up with other baseball opportunities.





He is so tan and so blonde right now.  At camp, he spends hours on hours on hours outside- playing sport, swimming, hanging out.  It is quite remarkable.  Most days at camp, he swims for at least an hour.  Plus, we have him in swimming lessons on Thursdays.  Speaking of which, he is finally turning into a fish.  He has always been a bit apprehensive in the water, but lately, he’s going under water and overall much more comfortable.  In fact, Dave even has video of Nico asking his swimming teacher to throw him in the water.
We started the summer pretty strong in terms of reading, but somewhere along the like, we’ve dropped off a bit, which is a shame.
He and Dave are going down to Louisville next weekend.  Mike and Gay are coming up, and wanted to see Nico and Dave.  The plan is to stay with Cathy and Tony, and maybe even get a judo workout in.   Everyone is looking forward to it.  I wish I could make it, but next week is going to be a bit crazy with the camp schedule and I am going to need to get out in front of it.  I never get to have any fun!!


Dog Days of Summer

Not much going on around here- we are just trying to soak up every bit of summer possible.  This past weekend, Dave had to cover a SOX game (sucker!) so Nico and I went on a little adventure in seek of Blackberries and swimming at our friend’s Grandparents house.  The blackberries were a bit of a bust.  In that we showed up to this supposed “Grandma’s Berry Patch” only to find there were no blackberries to be had (DAMN YOU INTERNET!!).

But we pushed on- swinging by Kevin and Jen’s Grandparents house.  The grandparents belong to Jen and were so gracious to let us come hangout in their pool.  Kevin cooked us Chicago style dogs.  You know what is up.

Randomly, check out the video of Nico playing catch with Gordon.

I swear- I thought Gordon was going to end up in the tub!


We’re finding a great summer rhythm around here.  Lots of time being spent outside, just like everyone else in Chicago.  Camp is almost over- which might be a bummer, but Dave’s parents are coming up next week, which will be a nice highlight.  I know Nico is looking forward to it.
The newest accomplishment is the monkey bars.  He informed me that he wasnt swinging on the monkey bars, he was brachiating.
Last week he had his first real judo session (the second was this week).  Like for real, with the push ups and the situps and everything. I am hoping to shoot some pics at the next one.  His judo pants are too small- so if there were any grand parents that wanted to get him a pair for his birthday or christmas, they would definitely be put to good use.
This guy is getting so big.  I can’t believe it sometimes.  Like the other day, I looked at him in the back seat and was sort of stunned at how big he has gotten.  We’re starting first grade soon- which is crazy to me.

Summer is Here. Officially.

Not much going on around here.  I love not having to take Nico to be at school at 7:15.  It is quickly turning into my favorite part of summer.  My favorite part of summer.  Instead of doing that, guess what I do?  Sleep in.  Till 7am.  Till 7am.  That is practically the afternoon.  I am mostly focused on getting edits for Kelly’s wedding photos done- there are so many.  So far, I have about 500 done- and I still have another 200 or 300 still to edit.

We’re settling into a fun summer routine.  I ended up with a pretty extensive summer to do list… but it’s hard because it is really easy to slip into letting Nico watch too much TV and too many videos on youtube.  I mean, I know he has intelligence to spare- but still.  I dont want his brain to completely rot out.

Last week we facetimed with both Granny/JJ and Nico’s friend Wyatt (and his family).  Nico is convinced that we should visit Washington DC (where Wyatt’s family is)- to see cool things like the Smithsonian and the Air and Space Museum.

It was pretty funny- because they pretty much took turns showing each other toys. 
I found a free online language learning site called Duolingo.  It is pretty amazing- as is Nico’s ear for language.  We’ve started him on a german language course.  And he is kicking ass in it.  
We did have a summer fail last week.  One of our Summer to do list items was to figure out which is the best ice cream shop in the city.  So, last week, I came home from work a bit early and was ready after dinner to check out an icecream shop and Nico was like, “I don’t want to.”  I DONT WANT TO.  It’s like he isn’t even my kid.  

Working the system

We started the weekend with Movies in the Park. This week we went to a park about 3/4 of a mile from the house and saw Despicable Me 2 on the big screen. We took a picnic and remembered the bug wipes. Nico was a gem for most of it. And I was glad to be living in a city that offers these kinds of events.

Today, I had a photo shoot in Lake View. Nico and Dave watched the World Cup final. And when I got home, Nico came up to me and started with, “You know what is annoying? Germany winning the World Cup!”  Which is funny- that he starts sentences like that.


Summer Funs!

We’ll, we had a lovely July 4th weekend.   Nico and I went to the park on Friday afternoon. He’s really getting into having muscles and stuff- so he worked on learning how to do the monkey bars. I think he’s plenty strong enough- he just needs work on his technique.

On Friday, we were set to bead up to Evanston to grill out with friends. They have a daughter who is 1.5 years old and is just about the cutest thing ever. Another couple with a boy about the same age came over and the kids hung out together. It will be fantastic in about four years when these guys just run around the neighborhood together.  I’ve been working on a couple of photography deadlines lately. I spent most of yesterday doing that, when Dave and Nico drove to check out an old school arcade. Apparently when they were in Louisville a couple of weeks ago, Nico was introduced to pinball- which he loves. So he basically got to play to his heart’s content. 

Summer in the City

I got a notice from work last month that I hadn’t taken any vacation days. I don’t need to be told twice, so I scheduled some days off this summer. With July 4th on Friday, I took yesterday and today- which is fantastic.

Tuesday night I introduced Nico to “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” on Netflix. It was amazing. He loved it. I think his media viewing tastes are evolving. He’s been watching a LOT of the World Cup. He’s starting to get into the Nat Geo documentaries- which is fantastic. Because a Kim can only watch so much Cailou. 
Yesterday we rode down to the Loop. We checked out the family fun festival in Millenium Park. Nico played Cornhole for about 2 hours. And did hula hoop (which I am still terrible at). After, we stopped by Margie’s on Montrose for ice cream.  
Not sure what we’ll get into today. Maybe go for a hike or something. It’s absolutely gorgeous. It was 65 degrees in the house last night. In July. Don’t be jealous!