Happy 10 Elliott!!!

Happy 10th Birthday Elliott! We had many celebrations. It kicked off with a Battlehouse birthday party with 12 friends. The party room was all concrete – the noise level was deafening. Chocolate cake there.

My snuggle-read buddy

Watching the birthday video

Double digits!

The Marx fam came down  they went to medieval times and Jira cooked the requested breakfast for dinner which included pancakes with 10 different toppings!

THE Lions Knights Castle! (which was secretly hidden in our house for 3 months)

Pure joy when he realized he had enough money for the set and that there was immediately delivery included


On his actual birthday he had a playoff basketball game and we had French silk pie  the highlight was that he saved enough money to get the coveted Lions Knight Castle (4,514 pieces), part of the 90th anniversary edition

Elliott is as awesome as ever  smart  empathetic  kind  creative  one of my fav things to do with him is read-snuggle.  We are on the 7th book of epic zero.

A super big highlight was a birthday video with appearances by Lala, his kinder and fourth grade teachers, friends from MA and IL, and lots of family members

We love you, Elliott!!!






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Conor’s first Lego set

Elliott and I helped Conor build his first Lego set this morning. “Start your engines!” “1 2 3 4 off we go!” (I just heard him say this. he loves to build magnatiles and with a strong older brother Lego influence, my guess this is the start of an expensive hobby. We’re off to build a robot now!

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Florida Keys

The BIG Christmas present from Nana and Pop was a trip to the Florida Keys.  We are at Hawk’s Cave Resort in Duck Key, which is about 90 minutes from Miami and an hour away from Key West (the furthest key). This morning, we had a Dolphin Encounter Experience. Elliott was wary because we had read a book about how keeping dolphins in captivity isn’t good for them, especially since they usually swim 100 miles a day in the wild. However, we researched this particular location and saw that it was accredited and that the dolphins are in natural ocean water (the lagoon is connected to the ocean). Everyone loved it. Everyone was in the water. Pop and Jordan were supposed to do a younger-kids experience (aka no actual swimming with the dolphins), but Conor had trouble for some reason, yelling “I want Mommy,” so we did a last minute switch. It was fun to be with him, although hard to hold him when both he and I were in a life jacket. He liked playing with the dolphin’s ball and duck toy as much as the dolphin. Our dolphin’s name was Bala. Everyone else got to swim out and have two dolphins push on their feet to make them come out of the water… and to swim while holding onto two dolphins’ dorsal fin. We’ve also done other fun things – nice pool, played Zombie at the kids center, played in the sand, etc. The traffic was unusually bad to come out – it reminded us of the chokehold going into the Cape.

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The Christmas Mysteries answered by Conor

From Santa Bearvideo


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Merry Christmas Snapshot

Merry Christmas! It’s the first Christmas we have woken up at our house that I didn’t have a newborn (2010 in Evanston – Natalie was six days old or 2018 in Longmeadow- Conor’s due date and I was puking my guts out with the stomach bug). The precursor to Christmas Day was a little rough – Nat El and I got the Covid booster on Wed and Nat had a rough time (she was two days into being 12 so had the adult dosage) with possibly a dash of a little other virus too. But everyone woke up healthy on Christmas. We followed our neighbors gift-giving protocol. Want. Wear. Need. Read. We added Do and just a bunch of stuff in your stocking from Santa.

Conor’s wishlist was a ramp truck and animal magnatiles. He was very careful not to ask for too many things (“like 20”) bc Santa could think he is being too greedy and put him on the naughty list 😉 (he got that from a berenstain bear book). we got a paw patroller off of eBay awhile back and that seemed to suffice for ramp truck.

elliott got legos (not from us) and crunch labs kit (one year monthly subscription) from one of his favorite YouTubbers Mark Rober. Although Clayton got a Nintendo Switch and now he is wishing he had one of those. It was on his list but legos won out. The space shuttle was already completely built less than 24 hours after getting it.

natalie’s top gifts were money for an iPhone mini, oversized Barrington sweatshirt, and beauty stuff like face masks lash serum etc.

we had brunch and Nana’s and Pop’s and some of the crew saw 3D Avatar at the theater that night. It was a Pj filled day with way too much delicious food.

we head to Florida tomorrow! After many days of sub-zero temps, the sunshine will feel great!

merry holidays!!



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Holidays 2022

A Linville Holiday Poem

Each year, the earth spins the same pace around the sun.  Yet, each year, our holiday cards barely get done. The Linville’s are here!  Our year wasn’t dull.   And we love seeing all of your cards on our wall.  But in a year that was up & down & eclectic, like Bob Dylan at Newport, this year’s gone electric.

January started in Florida, like a sea-sun-kissed dream.  Then February gave our fam COVID-19.  At three, Conor turned the corner and became very sweet; a red-headed surprise and much-needed treat.  Natalie filled the year with soccer and dance, texting, and oversized shirts with no pants.  Elliott read up on Greek myths and gods, wrestled, played football and fed his frogs.  Erin commuted from Chicago to Mass, worked out, worked weekends, gave hugs & kicked ass.  Jordan worked with zeal (www.workwithzeal.com), got a few more gray hairs, totaled the van, and half-finished repairs.

We have no idea what next year will bring and can only be certain of one crucial thing. In a year of new friends and old ones held close, YOU are the people that we love the most.

Jordan, Erin, Natalie (12), Elliott (9) & Conor (almost 4)

295 Fox Hunt Trail
Barrington, IL  60010




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Best video. Magicians


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Funny Conor Memories

Elliott is in a chess tournament right now. The kids are in a quiet cafeteria, and the parents have to hang out in the cold gym. I’m glad he is trying something new, and this is giving me time to write things that have been on my to-do list for ages… one of which is a running list of funny things from Conor that I wanted to capture for the blog.

  • Conor loves to drink lemonade. In fact, he asked for it with breakfast this morning (I said no – enough sugar in the cinnamon buns.) When I ask him, “What color are your eyes?”, he says “Blue.” When I ask him, “What color are my eyes?”, he says “Lemonade.”
  • This July, we took a long road trip from Chicago to Longmeadow and stopped at Niagara Falls. A couple weeks after we got back, Conor asked: “When can we go back to Canada?” I said probably not for a long time… what did you like there. He responded, “The elevator.” Not the Falls, but the clear glass elevator of the tall hotel. He has asked many times since then to go back.
  • Butter noodles. On that trip, we also went to a restaurant with butter noodles. He asked if we could go back to the restaurant with butter noodles. Since its 15 hours from our house, I explained that the restaurant is far away, but that I could make him butter noodles. He then explained that the food wasn’t the attraction, but rather that he liked the play area – it as an outdoor restaurant with large plastic play toys (slides, gyms, etc).
  • Conor loves a good tease. His teasing includes things like calling me “silly turkey” and “boss” (which is what an employee of Mayor Humdinger calls the Mayor) and saying “you’re not nice to this family” to which I’m supposed to respond, “well, you have stinky feet”. He also found it hilarious when his pinky toe kinda got stuck in one part of his sock and it looked like a glove… and then repeated it 5 times just to have a good laugh.
  • Conor now requests songs on Alexa like “Let it go”. He first started exploring this about six months ago with a request for “Stop n paddle.” I had to repeat it a number of times to realize that “stop n paddle” is actually Natural by Imagine Dragons. It’s impossible for someone outside our family to hear how stop n paddle could be natural, but it just can be.
  • When you gotta go… A lot of the kids’ sports events are at Ron Beese Park – Conor has watched a number of Elliott’s football games there, and then Conor had soccer there. (He was pretty much a terrible participant.) Nearly every time there, he decides he has to go to the bathroom… which either means peeing at the edge of the woods by the football side OR peeing in the “PORKAPOTTY”. Both instances are about way less than his bladder control… and much more to do with the fun of peeing in a different place.
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Best shirts – and best brothers

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The day Elliott was QB

He did quite well! Lots of passing in the big stadium. Go Bears!

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