Joseph 2.7



Things have definitely calmed down a bit this past month and we’ve settled into the new house. It feels like we’ve been here forever!

I’ve been trying lots of new things lately. One of my favorites has been painting. It is so much fun to pick out the colors to use and make pictures for everyone. Mommy helps me with the brushes and water, but I am definitely in charge.


We have been having so much fun in the fall weather. I love to play in piles of  leaves outside and picking them up to see what color they are. We have also been going to some fall festivals! Going on all the rides -my favorite is the giant slide with Daddy and the cars – and eating yummy donuts, cupcakes, and other treats! IMG_5589-0.JPG

We went to Brookfield Zoo this month, I loved it! My favorite was the turtles and the giraffes. I got to ride a giant carousel there and even got my face painted like a tiger. GRRR!IMG_5559.JPG


Mommy has been taking me to lots of playgrounds, too. I love to climb up to the top and go down the twisty slides. Mommy says she can’t believe how quick I get up there, I’m just like a monkey!

It hasn’t been all fun and games around here. Mom and Dad gave me the job of feeding Walter and giving him a treat when he comes inside. I also have been working hard on cleaning up my toys after I play, helping mommy with the laundry and picking up leaves. It’s hard work, but I’m a good helper!


101 Things: 9. Go to the Brookfield Zoo


This past Sunday Shawn and I took Joseph to the Brookfield Zoo. I have not been there since I was a kid, so it was a bit of a surreal experience. I must admit, it isn’t quite as amazing as the Columbus Zoo, but Columbus was recently voted one of the best zoos in America – plus it has Jack Hannah!

Anyways, back to our Brookfield trip. It was a gorgeous day on Sunday, perfect fall weather. Perfect for walking around outside and checking out the animals, fountains, and carousel. Plus, there was barely anyone there because of the Bears v. Packers fiasco game was going on.

Joe loved the carousel, we went on it once in the beginning and again right before we left. He like checking out the giraffes and walking through the primate exhibit, however I think his favorite was playing on the playground equipment and going to the children’s zoo exhibit.

I was excited to carry on a Torto family tradition by getting him a figure from the Mold-A-Rama machine to bring home. I remember getting them when we were little, Roz has gone with Luke and he has quite a collection at this point, now we can work on Joe’s.

I’m looking forward to taking him there again in the future, plus going to Lincoln Park Zoo sometime as well.

Banned Book Week 2014



For this year’s Banned Book Week, I decided to go with a classes and read John Steinbeck’s East of Eden. Steinbeck is the author of twenty-seven books, including sixteen novels, six non-fiction books, and five collections of short stories; he received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962; but an unfortunate part of his legacy is that the American Library Association lists him as one of the ten most frequently banned authors from 1990-2004. Often synonymous with American literature, he’s considered one of the greatest author of the 20th century. His novels are considered classics and taught from grade school through university graduate courses here and around the world. Nevertheless, his three most notable works- The Grapes of Wrath (1939), Of Mice and Men (1937), and East of Eden- have also been repeatedly banned or challenged.

I hope that many of you are participating in Banned Book Week. I’d love to know what you’re currently reading and what your favorite “banned book” might be. Want to see what new, and old, books make the list? Check out Band Books Week here.


101 Things: 40. Get a Library Card

A couple of weeks ago, I went to the St. Charles Library and got myself and Joseph library cards. Its a great local library that is a five minute drive away from the house. I’m looking forward to taking Joe to some of their story-time programs. He loves to look at books and be read to, so I hope this turns into a love for reading as he gets older.

Joseph 2.6

Happy Half Birthday to Me!

This past month has been a big one because we moved into our house! It’s been a lot to get used to and I have to admit that I’ve had a bit of a hard time transitioning. I miss Grandma’s house. I knew where everything was, I liked my room and crib there, and got to be around Grandma and Grandpa all the time.

It took a while to get used to things. I didn’t want to nap AT ALL, even though I was super tired. I also would wake up in the middle of the night for a few hours, maybe because I wasn’t used to my new/old crib and room? I’m settling back into things now, but I still occasionally give mom a hard time about napping.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the new house a lot, there is so much more room to play and I have all my toys again! Mom and Dad set up a play area in the basement and I can use my tent, play with my trains, cars, and blocks and don’t have to worry about the mess! We have a big driveway where I can use my wagon, cars, and draw with chalk. Plus, I have my very own bathroom! (Mom says I have to share it when Luke comes to stay, but I don’t mind.)

I also started to go to “school” at the recreation center at the park. One day we go and sing songs and play instruments. I’m not too sure about this class yet, I wanted to leave half way through but Mom said we had to stay. The other class all about Cars and Lightening McQueen! We get to play, do crafts and read a story. I liked this one much better!


Checking In

I apologize for the recent lack of posting. It has been non-stop around here the past month. Moving, unpacking, and getting used to the new digs. Having my MIL visit and my hubby traveling a ton for work plus dealing with a broken water heater (the day before the movers came!), a broken dryer – going on 4 weeks dealing with the repair people, and a toddler that has been skipping his nap AND not sleeping through the night has left me exhausted.

I’ll be posting Joseph’s monthly post later today. I can’t believe that he’s two and a half already!

Joseph 2.5


Busy, busy, busy! So much has gone on in the past month. Flying to visit Grandma Cathy in Ohio; lots of trips to the playground, splash park, and our new house; going to my first wedding and plenty of playing and fun with my cousin Luke.

I’m super into anything that has to do with letters and numbers right now. I am constantly playing with my magnets, puzzles, singing the alphabet, and counting everything.

I also love to take off my shoes CONSTANTLY. Especially at restaurants or in the car right before we go into the store. Mom is not a fan, but I think it’s hysterical.

Mom and Dad are excited to move into our new house this weekend, they talk about it all the time. I’m sure it will be fun, but I’ll miss Grandma and Grandpa . . . and their swimming pool.


Colley Manor: counting down

So close!! The contractor is wrapping up at the house and we’ve scheduled the movers for the 15th! Yes, there were some construction delays and the movers aren’t able to be scheduled as soon as I would like (NOW!) but, I can now see the light of this very long tunnel!

I plan on doing a full reveal on the changes we’ve made once we get settled, I promise. But, here’s a couple more in progress peeks for you until then.




101 Things: 1. Go to Hoopla


A few weeks ago, I attended Stella & Dot’s national sales conference in Orlando. It’s called Hoopla and I can definitely say it lived up to its name. Imagine over 3000 women getting together to learn, celebrate, and support one another. It was such a great experience and so much fun! While at Hoopla, the new fall line kicked off with an amazing fashion show, we learned about a new collaboration with the non-profit organization, Every Mother Counts, and we had tons of great training on how to build our business.

I was truly amazed at the sense of camaraderie and friendship among my fellow stylists. It felt more like a family reunion/wedding reception than a work conference. What struck me is the lack of competition and cattiness. Everyone is so supportive and welcoming and wanting to help you be the best you can. Pretty great stuff, considering that sometimes women can than gracious in that area.

I could bore you with all the details, but I think I’ll just give you my big take away and share what my new goals have become for this adventure.

1. I’ve realized that I have really missed my Stella & Dot business these past months while dealing with the move and living with my parents. It motivates, challenges, and thrills me in a way that can’t be replicated by being a mother and wife. It helps me remember who I am as a person and makes me better in other areas of my life.

2. I need to get over being afraid and making excuses. I’ve been holding myself back by using this move and relocation as a reason that I am not succeeding in my business. I have to make it a priority because I will only get out of it what I put in it.

3. I am setting a goal of having 15 trunk shows and building a team to gain the rank of STAR stylist by the end of 2014. This is huge, but they say that if you’re goals don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough!***





***This is going to be a lot of work, luckily I have the world’s best support/cheerleader with Shawn. I couldn’t even dream of this without him.