Tag Archives: family

Celebrate Family


I come from a household of five. I’m the oldest of three children; two girls and boy. Melissa’s in the middle and Rob is the youngest. 

Melissa was born a few months before I turned 4, which means that when we lived in Lodi, her older friends and my younger friends were the same people.  Half way through her high school experience, though, our family moved to the Gulf Coast and she finished her time as a high schooler with an entirely new crowd.  This of course means that Rob, my “baby” brother who turn 21 late this summer,  has lived half of his life in Texas.  And half of those years I’ve been in New York, oh-so far away from him.  Melissa went back to the Midwest after high school. [She works at the same school as our dear pal, Megan, as a matter of fact!]  We’ve all grown up and become adults in totally different regions of the country.


I like to think that my family is unique but when I really stop to think about that sentence – My family is unique. – I ask myself, isn’t everyone’s? Every family has their own history and experiences which make them different from the next.  My family and your family and his family and her family – we all have families that are extraordinary.  

Here are a couple of things that I find extra special about my family:

  • Though we are all spread out all over the US now, when I was a small child, almost all of my extended family lived in the Chicago-area. Now I have close relatives [grandparents/aunts and uncles/cousins] in Illinois, Tennessee, Georgia, Wisconsin, Texas, and Minnesota. And I’m in New York. If you’re including second cousins, we can add Arizona, Florida, and Ohio.

    Why, yes – of course it is a royal pain to be so far away from so many loved ones – but being so spread out from one another makes the times we are all in the same place so extra special. And – because our families home base is considered to be Chicago-land we have this great love for all things [okay-okay; most things] Chi-town that we all seem to celebrate when we are together.

we are family

  • My parents were high school sweethearts. I love this about them. I love that they married young and have stood the test of time and, you know, life, and have made such an example for what a real, working partnership looks like. Furthermore on the “making my family special” front, Dad and his two brothers, Brian and Blake, and all three of their wives [Mom, Aunt Shelia and Aunt Christine] attended the same high school in Illinois – even though Uncle Brian and Aunt Shelia and Uncle Blake and Aunt Christine didn’t start their relationships until years later. It’s always fun to hear the six of them start talking about the things that went on in the halls of their high school and swap stories of the past when we get together. And, of course, I love how our family fits ever so nicely into a romantic comedy plot.

badger fans

Celebrate Family Activity: Connect with your family in some way today.  I’m feeling really great about my 2013 focus on family right now.  I contribute this to scheduling my family time the same I would a conference call, which proves that I’ve been choosing to make my relationships a priority this year.  I really enjoy having a weekly standing date to Skype with my grandparents and parents and suggest that if you have a busy schedule, you set a reoccurring date with your loved ones.  I also have a G-chat date on the books for this weekend with my sister while we’re both being productive.  We’ve worked side by side growing up, and when I’m able to multitask by chatting online with her it reminds me of times we sat next to one another working on homework, projects, and the like.

Celebrate Family Bonus Activity: Take a moment to consider those who don’t have family members in their lives to support, love, and help them when they are in need.  Act as the family that someone needs; visit or send gifts to a senior center asking that they be given to residents who don’t often have visitors, become involved or support World Wide Orphans, or come up with your own activity for celebrating family with kindness!

Celebrate Family Extra Resources:


Weekend Cravings in Sweet Home Chicago

Time for another look at what I’m hoping for this weekend:Weekend Cravings!  [If you don’t know Katy, the lovely lady behind the Weekend Cravings craze, check out her blog.  She’s a darling woman with a heart threaded in kindness and gentleness, and a soul moved by beautiful noise and inspirational stories.  I cherish her, and I bet you’ll dig her, too!]

I’m currently typing in the dark of a hotel room in downtown Chicago, my sister Melissa asleep in the bed next to me.  [I’m sure she’s loving the pitter patter of the keys – it’s like white noise, right?] 


I’m uber excited to be in Chicago with my sister and parents for the weekend! [am also v. excited for the upcoming trip to Dallas to spend Christmas with my parents, Melissa, and my little brother, Rob, in Denton. I haven’t been home for the holidays the past two years, which makes this one feel extra special! ]

Here’s what I’m craving while we’re here in sweet home Chicago.


  • Early morning light outside our window reminded me that the world has yet to end.  I’m thinking another photo walk focusing on light may be a fun weekend activity!
  • Time with the Shugarmans! Today we’re going to celebrate at my Grandparents house in southern Wisconsin.  [in which I am guessing there is tons of snow!] On the agenda: eat, drink, be merry, take lots of photos, eat more, drink more, etc.
  • Tomorrow is the Burton Christmas; the annual celebration that my Maternal Grandfather, my Great Uncle and their Cousins put together each year; It’s three generations [I’m the oldest of the youngest generation] and it’s always so much fun hanging out with such a large group of Burtons.  We play games, eat great food, share cocktails and stories, and do a-whole-lot of laughing.  It’s been a decade since I’ve been to one of these gatherings and I’m super excited to get to see everyone.  Especially the “kids” in my generation who are all now mini-adults 🙂


  • A visit with Miss Judi, my mom’s best friend. She’s one of my most favorite people on the planet and it’s been way too long since I’ve hugged that woman!! [as a matter of fact, it was in September 2011, the last family trip to Chicago!]
  • List making for next weekend’s meals. For Nick’s birthday, he asked that we watch all three original Star Wars movies with our friends Emma and Andrei. [note: I have seen none of them.] I’m making a menu of lots of Nick’s favorite dishes for us to enjoy throughout our movie marathon – breakfast pizza, lots of snacks and dips, buffalo chicken mac and cheese, peanut butter banana crème pie… I need to get organized, make grocery shopping lists, a cooking schedule, and the like.


  • Great Chicago food.  Since my parents grew up in Chicago, and we lived here until I was 12, my family has a SERIOUS love for certain dishes popular in the area.  We had pizza last night [deep dish AND thin crust, thank you very much] and I’ve got a little check list all set for my “musts!” before we leave.


  • A smooth flight to Dallas come 9:30 PM, Sunday night. 🙂

What about you? What are you craving this weekend?

Day 3: Do Three Nice Things for Your Sibling


by Megan Orcholski
[Learn more about #30DaysofMegan]



This is Tiff.
She is my sister.
She has lots of nicknames;
Biff, Biffany, Bubba, Percy, Bugs, Tiffy, Tiffy Sue,
She is my only sibling.

Megan PicturesShe was born when I was 2, but our conscious lives together didn’t really start until I was at least 3. Tiff is a major part of my childhood and my growing up.

I could try and write a big long post with lots of stories to try and explain to you how I feel about Tiff. But I am not even sure it would work. I often feel like I don’t have human words that express how I feel about her.

Tiff is mine.

She is my sister.

I taught her how to play Mario and have watched Disney’s Robin Hood with her countless times.

She and I have been through so much together. I feel connected to her in a way that is unlike any other human connection.

People ask if she is my best friend.

No, she’s my sister.

In the yeard with tiffposed tiff and Ime and tiff are hot

We don’t talk everyday. We don’t need to.

Because she’s my sister.

DSCF0899We’ve often discussed how we are pretty sure we would not have been good friends had we not been related. And that’s fascinating to me, because it makes me extra grateful for having her in my life.

Tiff and I are very different.

And I feel like her and I balance each other, round each other out.

She knows I love her

But today is a good excuse to remind her

To put music on her Facebook, to send her love texts and a package.