Sweet Tea Thursday: Let’s Chat

I know not everyone loves Disney as much as our crew, so let’s take a tiny break today and just chat, shall we?

There’s really nothing I love more than sipping sweet tea with a good friend in my living room and shooting the breeze. Welcome to my virtual living room, y’all.

A wait at the DMV. This week I had to renew my driver’s license. Yes, I know you’re on pins and needles from that excitement. Let’s just say the DMV has completely changed since I last visited 12 years ago. You can now reserve your spot in line with your phone, thus negating any long waits. I parked my car at 2:26 and got back in at 2:52. License renewed, picture taken, fee paid. I believe we call that a #dmvmiracle It was sad to say goodbye to 29yo Kathryn, though. She was cute.

Sweet alone time. While I wouldn’t necessarily encourage one to lose her voice, that’s exactly what happened to me last weekend. Right after eighth grade graduation on Thursday (post coming soon), I started feeling a little crummy. By Friday afternoon, I could feel it and by Saturday I was in bed the entire day. Never once, throughout the weekend, did I change out of my pajamas. It was not pretty. But, the beauty in all of that was the quiet house I inherited late Saturday night. I couldn’t sleep so I pulled up a few podcasts and really relished in some words of wisdom. Scott and I have long been talking about making some little changes, which should lead to major ones, around here. After this weekend, I think we’re ready.

The best doctor. If you follow me over on the ‘gram or Twitter, you know that half our house was battling the crud. When I found myself at the same doctor TWICE in one day, I knew I’d set a new record. There’s something pretty awesome though, about a doctor who says, “Next time, just call and I’ll prescribe the meds over the phone. Save yourself a trip!” He’s pretty awesome. And he’s an Aggie. Double win.

The sweetest gesture. The girls have figured out PowerPoint. Two days ago, they shushed us out of the office so they could “work.” When we were invited back in, they played the sweetest PowerPoint. Each family member had a slide, with a photo they dug up from our old computer, and a list of things they know and love about this family member. One of my favorites? “Scott: He loves and I mean loves his children.”

Calling all Chicago lovers. Get excited for the 10-year-old trip! Anna-Laura has chosen Chicago and I couldn’t be more stoked. We postponed her trip to the fall since we just got back from Disney with my parents. It should be awesome, but boy, do I need some suggestions. Hit me with your best ones. It’s just me and one kid for this one. Can’t wait!

The frosh has a schedule. That’s right, the incoming ninth grader met with the principal this week to set his freshman schedule for the fall. I almost blacked out when I saw the words “Pre AP” and “degree plan.” Yes, I’m really that old now. On the other hand, it was so incredibly exciting to see your oldest diving into this new life. This new adventure that awaits. It’s hard to describe. As much as I’m in denial that we’re in this stage of parenthood, it’s also so much fun to see your kid with his whole life ahead of him. All that, while his younger sister crawled around on the floor!

Around the web. Rachel wrote this post about summer. Don’t I know it. Fr. Leo had this to say about Caitlyn Jenner. And, before you go shaking your head, I think it may be my most favorite reflection ever on this topic. Full of compassion, humility and respect. I loved it. Above all, love.

With that, I’ll call it a night.


  1. Sara Kramer on June 4, 2015 at 7:38 am

    We had my daughter’s 6th grade class trip to Chicago. Our first stop was Mundelien Seminary as that is where our priest went to school. Then we hit Chicago. First day was a boat trip up the river or into the lake then we went to Navy Pier for the ferris wheel. Second day was museum of science and industry, lincoln zoo and willis tower with dinner across the street at giadornos pizza (chicago style! yummy). third day was aquarium. The museum of science and industry, ferris wheel, as well as willis tower/pizza were the biggest hits. It was actually more fun to window shop while we waited for the boat tour to start downtown. But if you get a chance definitely drive through Mundelien Seminary. Beautiful! Definitely suggest looking at the city pass – discount on getting into all of the places.

    • Kathryn on June 4, 2015 at 9:30 pm

      How far away is the seminary? Doable with public transportation?

  2. Rachael on June 4, 2015 at 9:01 am

    Here’s a Chiczgo secret: if you have a pass to a participating ASTC museum (if there’s not one near you, email me and I’ll give you the link to our local one; out of staters can buy a year pass for 75 for a fsmily), then you can get into the Field, Adler, and Science and Industry for free! My kids love the Lincoln Park zoo (also free). Parking is a nightmare and Chicago is best seen without a car. I recommend taking a cab from the airport or the L, and hen once you’re downtown you can either walk, take the water taxi (highly recommend doing that at least once; you can go from he museum campus to Michigan Avenue and to Willis Tower). The double-decker bus tours are a super fun way to see the city; since they are hop-on, hop-off, they also act like a taxi and you can use them to see downtown and the suburbs (including Chinatown, Greektown, etc.). Buckingham Fountain has an awesome show on the hour. You can pay an arm and a leg to go to the sky deck at Willis, or you can go up Hancock Tower for free or eat lunch at the restaurant on top. Water Tower Place has the American Girl and Lego stores; Grand Lux on Michigan is a delightful lunch spot if you’re shopping. I like to stay in the Loop or on Michigan. The Trib building has rocks embedded in its walls from journalists on assignment all over the world. lines at Shedd will take 2-3 hours just to get in, so if you have a decent aquarium nearby your home, I’d skip the Shedd.

    Feel free to email me. We’ve lived near Chicago for 10 years and I have a 10-yr-old girl too. 🙂

    • Kathryn on June 4, 2015 at 9:30 pm

      Rachael, I probably will email you. Would love to know more about that ASTC pass.

      • Nicole on June 7, 2015 at 8:58 pm

        Hi K –

        We’ve taken our family up to Chicago a couple of times, too. My last trip there was a mother- daughter – grandmother trip a couple of years back. So many fun things to do and see. I TOTALLY recommend and agree with Rachael!!! We do the same thing. I purchase a membership to a local children’s museum here (about $70 annual pass) and it is part of the reciprocal program and can be used at ALL the big museums in Chicago. Best. Deal. Ever! I’ll send you an email right now… 🙂

  3. Jennifer on June 4, 2015 at 9:48 am

    The museums and aquarium in Chicago are amazing. if you buy your tickets to the aquarium online and print them out, you can skip the line and head straight in. It is an amazing city, hope y’all enjoy visiting it.

    • Kathryn on June 4, 2015 at 9:29 pm

      Great tip – thank you!

  4. Natalie on June 4, 2015 at 10:36 am

    I’m a native of the suburbs of Chicago. October is usually a beautiful time in the city weather-wise. I cannot recommend highly enough the Art Institute, especially with your talent and taste in design. Just a wonderful collection and a beautiful building as well.
    The Field Museum is also phenomenal, especially the history of the earth exhibit. I haven’t been to the Museum of Science and Industry in years, but when I was little I adored the Fairy Castle which is this incredible miniature mansion they have on display there, full of antiques and one-of-a-kind items.
    If you don’t mind looking a bit silly 😉 take a tour of Grant Park & Millennium Park via Segway. It’s a fun way to take a look at the parks, the museum campus and the lake.
    The Sky Deck of the SEARS Tower (sorry, will not ever get used to calling it Willis) is fun if you’re not afraid of heights and if the weather is clear. You can stand out in these all-glass enclosures and look straight down!

    • Kathryn on June 4, 2015 at 9:28 pm

      Oh man, not sure if I’m that brave to stand on glass, but we will have to put Sears/Willis on the ‘to-do’ list.

  5. Liz on June 4, 2015 at 11:22 am

    I agree with the suggestions above! If it’s not too cold yet, the architecture tours on the river are always great, though the water taxi is a less expensive alternative, and you’d get to see Chinatown in addition to Mag Mile & The Loop. And the Zoo is awesome and FREE!

    The Shedd is such a wonderful aquarium, the lines are long, but there are so many cool exhibits i would buy the all access pass anyway and that lets you skip the lines. Try to go on a week day (as long as it’s not a free museum day, which you can see here: http://www.choosechicago.com/articles/view/FREE-MUSEUM-DAYS-IN-CHICAGO/556/

    Instead of the Willis Tower, which is super expensive (and kind of terrifying in the sky box, even if you’re not afraid of heights) I agree that the Hancock has great views, is right on the lake, and has a restaurant where you can do lunch. That would be a great way to spend an afternoon in combo with the American Girl store, which is right across the street. If you feel like giving Anna-Laura the royal treatment, the Peninsula, also very close to American Girl place, hosts the most incredible afternoon tea in The Lobby, it’s out of this world!

    If you want to visit “The Bean” you can add on some deep dish at nearby Pizano’s or Giordano’s, and a trip to the State Street Macy’s (used to be Marshall Fields) which has the sweetest candy shop in the basement and the beautiful Walnut Room upstairs.

    If you want to stay in The Loop, The Palmer House is amazing and in a great location. If you are flexible, you can use Hotwire and select “Magnificent Mile North Water Tower.” This area is full of amazing high end hotels so you can’t go wrong, and the prices are fantastic. It’s also a fun surprise to see which hotel you got! Staying in the Loop or Mag Mile makes it super easy to take cabs, the El, or buses anywhere you want, and public trans. is very easy to use.

    In the fall you can still catch a Cubs game (just leave Wrigleyville as soon as it’s over, Clark street devolves into a hot mess with “excited” fans.) And if your trip happens to fall between September 25-27th then you must stop by my parish’s awesome Oktoberfest street festival (http://oktoberfestchicago.org/)

    Please e-mail me if you have any questions, you and your daughter are going to have so much fun!

    • Kathryn on June 4, 2015 at 9:28 pm

      These are FAN-tastic. Don’t be surprised if you get an email from me!

  6. Melissa on June 5, 2015 at 5:40 am

    12 years! In Ky we have to renew ours every 4 years but at least Ky stopped putting our weight on ours. I hear you on the high school blackout. I have 2 in high school this year, one a freshman and one a juinor…yikes Thank goodness I still have one in grade school. I like the idea of a trip with just one child, may have to try that but with a graduation trip.

  7. Kelley Forbes on June 5, 2015 at 8:16 am

    I have also found that it is helpful to check out Groupon for the city you plan to visit. They usually have a lot of things to choose from in the Activities section. Last year we got great deals on different tour tickets in New Orleans!

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