Summer has started!

Natalie’s LAX team won a tournament!

Grandma invited Natalie to her house for some G&G&G time (Grandma/Grandpa/granddaughter)… although I have a feeling Grandpa hasn’t been too involved. I heard there was a trip to bath and body works – Natalie’s fav!

Conor was so excited to eat his personal version of banana bread this morning (lots of M&M’s and chocolate chips on top)

Tubing at bang’s lake!

Elliott and friends last day of school… with donuts

Look at this big kid on his last day of school! (Before “summer camp” at his old school) He’s almost 4.5 and definitely the size of a 5 year-old. he barely fits in the bike seat

Lines Field day (water station)

Conor was so excited at his EOY performance! Lots of songs. he said he wants to be a teacher – the next week, he changed it to the boss of the firefighters.

(Almost) last day of 4th grade

a rare family photo

Conor’s last day of school was almost a week ago. The biggest positive is that Conor likes being at “summer camp” at his old school and is happy to go and happy to be picked up. He recognizes a few people from last year – and also has some St. Anne’s friends (Hadley and Miles) who he saw too.

Natalie and Elliott are on day 2. We did Friday night swim and tubing on Saturday. The highlight for Elliott was 10 minutes ago when the Nintendo Switch he has been saving for arrived…. They boys are assembling it now. (He also had an epic 25-hour sleepover with his friend Luca.) The highlight for Natalie is being in GB with Grandma. The downside for Jordan is that each kid stopped at his office between 2-3pm on their first day by themselves to report… “I’m bored.”

So… my coping mechanism is to make a list. Of daily tasks (read for 30 min, be outside and active for 30 min)…. projects to do… and ways to earn money.  Wish me luck.

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Happy birthday bike ride

west Dundee trail ride and lunch out half way through for Jordan’s 42nd birthday. 11.5 miles. Boys did great!! Funniest part was after lunch, Conor says… my body is all rested up now, as if he was ready for a 6 miles of cycling back. Did I mention he was in the seat carrier behind me?

Also had lunch with N and P yesterday   Nana made strawberry angel food cake  e and I think Jordan is flexing a bit much in his pic  with his parents  what a dweeb


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c: When I’m supposed to go to heaven, I’m going to hang on a handlebar on my playground so I cannot go.

C: well maybe I will hang onto my mommy’s water bottle and mine so we can drink a lot of water.

c: Will I float in heaven

el: yes you can do anything you want as long as it’s a green choice.

c: what if I make a red choice.

e: I wonder what god looks like

c: does he have white hair.

e. Nobody knows. Could have white hair. Could be a boy a girl. We don’t know.

c: I know! I saw a picture at my school. God says you cannot lie. Well you can just like a little bit.

e. You lied today. (Referencing when Conor denied breaking his Lego bridge. )

c. Well I just lied a little bit. One time.

c: I’ll be so happy when I see mom and dad in heaven. Brother and sister will take care of me.


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Almost summer

We had a fun afternoon at Nanas and Pops… pool, popcorn, Mule rides, hot tub, trampoline, treehouse, etc. Jordan is on his way to AZ for a guys weekend with Tim

(The second picture is Conor taking  30 minute shower with Pops coconut soap  it’s the most peaceful time of day – E and I even played Kings corner during it)






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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 (, 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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