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.

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!

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.




Colley Manor: Under Construction

I thought I’d share some construction photos from the house. Tons of work going on, way more than these few shots imply. You’d be surprised how difficult it is to photograph everything. Depth perception, light, and angles are hard to discern when there are no walls, holes in the ceiling, etc.

The plumbing, electric, and drywall are done. We are now working on getting the tile and cabinetry installed. Then, things should go pretty fast!






Colley Manor: Before

I thought I’d share a few of the “before” photos of the interior of the house. These are pulled from the original realtor photos, so they are a bit more polished than how it looked in real life. (Notice the photoshopped fire in the fireplace.)

Demo has occurred and framing and utility work is almost complete. I’ll share some “action shots” soon. But let’s just take a moment and rejoice that the kitchen has been put out of its misery and can join the rest of 1981 in the history books.






A Trip to the Illinois DMV



Yesterday, I went to the local DMV to have the titles and registration on both of our cars changed over from Ohio to Illinois now that we have an official address.

Before I tell this tale, I need to provide some back story: This will be my third trip to the DMV to complete this task. The first time we went, Shawn and I got our Illinois licenses and attempted to change over the title and registration, but ran into a roadblock. (See what I did there?) My car is a lease, so we needed a limited POA from the leasing company to process the change -something that was not noted on the State DMV site. So, we got all of the forms needed from the clerk and went home, had the POA sent to us and attempted to go back to on Saturday. Unfortunately, the place was closed for the holiday – also not noted on the website – so, we drove home and I planned to go during the week. Which brings us to yesterday’s outing. 

Yesterday morning, I drive out to the DMV with my father and Joe. Dad was awesome enough to go with me so I wouldn’t have to struggle with keeping Joe entertained while waiting in line, filling out forms, etc.

We get to the DMV and I go inside to wait in line while he takes Joe for a walk around the area in his stroller. I wait. I am next up, waiting while an older man – grey hair, mustache, older aviator style glasses- is at the window going over his title with the clerk. In comes a DMV employee from outside, yelling “Whoever has a silver Pontiac in the lot, its on FIRE!” The older man does a double take, says something to the clerk and runs outside, taking his paperwork with him. There is a small commotion with some people checking to see if there car is parked near the one in flames. Clerks are yelling at each other: “Call 911!” “What do I tell them?” “Tell them that there’s a car on fire in the parking lot!” Things calm down as there was a parks n’ recreation truck there that had a fire extinguisher and put the fire out. I’m inside the entire time, waiting in line.

Meanwhile, Dad is outside with Joe in the stroller. Here’s his breakdown of the scene: I’m pushing Joe in the stroller, I smell something like burning rubber. I look around and I see a kid in a car with his cellphone taking pictures of the car near his. I look over and its on fire. I bring Joe back around the corner so we are out of the way, but have a good view of the scene. Guy comes running out  and pops the hood. WHoooosshh! Flames! Another guy pulls out an extinguisher just as the cops and firetrucks pull up. They check it all out. Fire chief saw me with Joe and brought him over a fire hat from the back of his squad. Nice guy. Was pretty entertaining. 

After the chaos of the conflagration has passed, the clerks get back to business. I get called up. Clerk goes over my paperwork. Says I have the wrong form. I state that these were the forms given to me by her office when we came in previously. She tells me to fill out “correct” form and come back to her window. I do so. When I get back to the window, I am told that she is taking her break now. I inquiry what to do since she was in the middle of processing things for me. She tells me to wait. I wait. Ten minutes later an different clerk comes to the window to assist me. We start over. She tells me I need to have the physical title, not a copy, since the lease holder has an Illinois address. I inquire why, since it was an Ohio title. She says she isn’t sure. (?!?) She says that this is a “special situation” and has to “make a call” to find out what to do. I run outside to check on dad and give him a status update, admire Joe’s new fire hat, and go back inside. The clerk hangs up the phone and states that “they” told her that I have to contact the leasing company and tell them to obtain the physical title, send it to me, so I can bring it in to have the state re-file it and send it back. My brain has exploded just like that man’s Pontiac.

Welcome to Colley Manor



Welcome to Colley Manor, new Team Colley world headquarters! No, it is not as stately as the name suggests, but I’m excited to call it our home. We closed on the house last Friday. We’ll be doing some renovations, namely the kitchen and bathrooms, since everything is original to the house. As much as I love the ’80s, a circa 1981 kitchen is not something I’d like to cook in . . . and don’t even get me started on the bathing situation.

All this work means that we will be staying with my parents for a couple more months so I don’t have to raise a toddler in a construction zone. God bless them for being so patient and allowing us to shatter their quiet retirement lifestyle with 6am wake up calls of “THOMAAAAS and PERCYYYYY” every morning and negotiating an ever-changing minefield of books, train tracks, cars, puzzle pieces and other detritus of toddlerhood while enjoying the aromatic smells of melted plastic sippy-cup lids from the dishwasher.

I’ll be sure to share some details of the house and remodel soon. But for now, I’m excited to say I have a mortgage again!


Sweet Home Chicago

You might have noticed my recent lack of posting around here lately. Well, I’ve had good reasons, to be sure. I’m happy to report that Shawn has accepted a new position and we’re in the process of moving back to Chicago.

As you can imagine, things have been quite the whirlwind. Getting the house on the market, and subsequently sold, packing, getting Joseph and Walter out to my parents, etc. It’s been overwhelmingly insane. Thank goodness for my parents helping us and the aid of some of our good friends. I would probably be moving into the loony bin if it wasn’t for them.

I have to admit that the move is bittersweet. We were so happy to move back here – only three short years ago – to be reunited with our good friends, have our children here, being able to have Jeni’s ice-cream whenever we want. (Just kidding – not really!) But, I am thrilled with being close to my family again. I haven’t lived in the Land of Lincoln since I was 20 years old. I am hoping to rekindle some friendships from school, it will be wonderful to see them outside of the land of Facebook and the Interwebs.

We will be temporarily living at my parents house while we look for a home. They have been so generous and supportive, although I think that my mom is solely focused on the fact that we will have unlimited access to Joe. I hope that we can find a home soon, so we do not wear out our welcome.

I hope to be checking in a bit more regularly to let you know how things are going with transitioning, how Joseph is handling the changes, etc. But for now, I am just going to sit here and listen to this on repeat:

8 Years


Happy 8th Anniversary to my beloved husband, Shawn. You are the Ernie to my Bert. Thank you for sharing this wonderful life with me and being the best husband and father to our amazing son. I love you, Honey.