Tag Archives: family life

Best Weekend Ever; Wrigley Goes to College……

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……..more time as a family; just the five of us! The past few weeks, since we dropped Nick off at college, have been a total adjustment. We happen to be accustomed to a frenetic, boisterous and busy household. In fact, I think the energy of our home has been the greatest influence on Wrigley’s temperament. Practically a study of nature versus nurture! We’re spazzy and as a result, he’s spazzy. He can hardly be held responsible for his naughty behavior.

Life with Nick has always been crazy; early morning practices, late night games and weekend tournaments. Never has there been a dull or quiet moment. With Nick away at school, we’ve settled into a quieter routine. Amanda’s practices are all after school with games on Friday nights (an uncharacteristically civilized schedule).

This weekend, however, was one of our very best ever; Nick came home for a whirlwind, two night visit. While we have been fortunate to hear from Nick daily (he’s a great texter and he calls to check in as he buzzes around between campus and golf practice), there is absolutely no substitute for wrapping our arms around him and squeezing tight, making a Nicky sandwich. I was pretty pumped as I loaded Wrigley in the car for our college road trip! With my radio cranking some jamming tunes, three hours went by in a flash.

We pulled up in front of Nick’s dorm, and there he was. Wrigley and I were tickled pink to see him! After loading up his clubs, his schoolwork and his laundry hamper, we settled in to hear all about college life; classes, teachers, dorm living, dorm food, fun, friends, fraternities and golf. He was just bubbling with excitement, experiences and information.

Finally, when Chuck and Amanda got home from the big Saint Feels Right for Her varsity football game (they won), we sat around our kitchen island swapping stories and howling with laughter until after midnight. It felt like home.

In the hierarchy of our pack, Wrigley sees Chuck as the leader, I believe, that he believes, that he and I are equals, Amanda is the little pup and Nick is the top dog to dominate. For 8 ½ years, Nick has longed for Wrigley to sleep in his room, but Wrigley only sleeps with us, the leaders of the pack. Friday night however, Wrigley followed Nick into his bedroom and curled up for the night. Every time Nick rolled over, there Wrigley was; his faithful companion.

It seemed like old times; on Saturday, Nick practiced golf, had to read a 150 page book and write a paper, so, as usual, we waited for him to be available for dinner (where he got to eat vegetables instead of his daily meatball sandwich) and a movie (Tommy Boy; a family tradition).

Sunday morning, he was ready to head back to school with a hamper full of clean clothes. Nick asked, “You’re not going to cry again are you?” What a silly question! Of course I was going to cry again. Has he met me? In fact, when Chuck dropped him back off at school, he said it was much harder than when we left him two weeks before.

I’m not quite sure when it happened, but it appears that we have raised a capable, confident and curious young man!

Though he’s already well established on the road to education, there are so many wonderful options for furthering our own education. Why not check out how at:


More missing our boy, more stolen moments, more family memories, more exciting adventures…..

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And Then There Were Two……

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about…..more adjustments! I don’t know where the time has gone; 11,520 minutes have passed since we dropped Nick off at college (but who’s counting?). Our home, usually bursting at the seams with Nick’s energy, is suddenly so quiet. We always know when he’s home, not only because of the trail of keys, his wallet, golf tees and markers, scorecards, shoes, clothes, socks and snacks, but because he just buzzes with excitement. Nick is the first to share an anecdote, a new song, an article he’s read (and re-read and repeated umpteen times) and he always lies on the floor to give Wrigley a good quality belly rub.


Of course, the night before he left was totally Nick-centric. Although we had a going away dinner earlier in the week, my mom, his Nana, came out to share a little more Nicky time. We dined on one of his all time favorite meals; Lou Malnati’s pizza. At bedtime, we all piled into his room to watch one of his all time favorite movies; Caddyshack (a real Cinderella story). Amanda even dragged a mattress in from our guest room so she could have one more sleep over, just like they used to when Nick still had his bunk beds. Needless to say, this has been a sobering week.


With all of the madness and commotion behind us, we’re settling into new routines. I’m sure Amanda is super pumped about having us all to herself; no more flying under the radar. Now I can pester her, and her alone, about the merits of wearing her retainer (complete with nightly retainer checks). We’re also much more available for quizzing her on all test materials, looking over any homework assignments and dropping in to chat it up with her in her bedroom. She never knew how much she was going to miss her brother until now.  


 In Nick’s absence, the laundry chute is no longer over flowing, the domed cake plate I keep on our kitchen counter has more than a few lingering fresh baked treats and we haven’t consumed a drop of orange juice (eliminating his three gallon a week habit). While Nick is a night owl, Amanda is early to bed and early to rise. We haven’t seen 11pm all week.   


On the other hand, Nick is going to be equally surprised when he returns. While we wouldn’t let her take over his bedroom, the body’s not even cold for Heaven’s sake, Amanda does have free run of the big screen in the basement. Several mornings a week, Amanda and I run over to the health club at 5:30am and our dinner hour revolves around Amanda’s schedule. Oh, and Wrigley? He’s now expecting Amanda to rub his belly after school.


More family time, more college experiences, more life on the home front, more adjusting to change…..


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Wrigley, the Champion Chipmunk Chaser…..

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about………more of Wrigley’s heroism! On Wrigley’s tombstone (and there will likely be a tombstone) it will read, “Here lies Wrigley Nunley; friend to all.” No matter where we go, Wrigley is under the impression that everyone, man, woman, child or pup, would like the pleasure of making his acquaintance. Whether on the sidewalk, the street or the Prairie Path, whenever Wrigley comes across another pooch, he comes to a screeching halt; his front paws out stretched, digging into the ground, while his hind quarters are up, with his tail wagging, as if waving a white flag in surrender. After Wrigley meets his new friend, he happily resumes our run, on the lookout for more new pals.

Because he is more of a lover than a fighter, Wrigley is not your ordinary, garden variety Labrador. I always thought that Lab’s were known for their killer hunting instincts; proudly bringing half nibbled critters (bunnies, birds and rodents) home to their parents. Thankfully, Wrigley is not that kind of Labrador. He prefers to live in tandem with nature, such as the five bunny rabbits we’ve seen perched in our backyard and the army of chipmunks burrowing tunnels under our walkway (compromising the infrastructure. Surely, one day the sidewalk will just collapse, like a giant sink pit). Wrigley’s cute as a button as he lies on our front porch, his chin wresting on his front paws, eyes darting back and forth, from right to left, as he watches the critters make merry in our yard. Tom the Cat would be so disappointed (as one who wages a full scale assault against Jerry the Mouse)!

Well, the other day, as I was lugging groceries in from the garage, I decided it would be easier if I propped open the screen door that leads to my Mud Room. I was bringing in the last of the bags, when out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a flickering shadow. I did a double take, inspecting more closely, when to my surprise I saw a chipmunk climbing up my collection of umbrellas, darting across our chest of drawers. Naturally, I dropped my bags and started screaming. Seriously, who wants a chipmunk in their house? With my own cat like reflexes, I ran into the Mud Room, throwing the umbrella stand out of the way, slamming the door from the Mud Room to the Kitchen behind me.

With all of my screaming, Nick came to the immediate conclusion that Wrigley had been hit by a car. He ran with me out the front door, to his relief, finding Wrigley calmly laying in the front yard (very much alive). While I ran through the garage (continuing to scream) for a broom, Wrigley suddenly perked up, as if, after nearly 8 ½ years, he was alive for the very first time. Wrigley sprang into action, sensing danger, darting into the Mud Room. Thankfully, as quickly as I noticed the shadow, I saw the blasted critter, flying, like a bat out of Hell, from the Mud Room, with Wrigley in hot pursuit! I half expected to find that stinking chipmunk, having expired from a heart attack, stroke or brain aneurism in our driveway, with rigamortis setting in.

All hail to Wrigley; the Champion Chipmunk Chaser! Such a good deed, protecting his family from the wild, should be rewarded. Hot dogs for everyone!!!

More fright, more fear, more blasted chipmunks, more heroism….  

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An Aunt Adds Beauty, Joy and Love to Life…

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about………more remembering loved ones! Earlier this week, with great sadness, we learned that Chuck’s beloved Aunt passed away. While my family may be small but MIGHTY, the one element it sorely lacked was a loving aunt and uncle. When I was about my Nick’s age, I was lucky to have become an adopted niece to Chuck’s Aunt and Uncle.

Not having children of their own afforded them time to be completely invested in the lives of their only nephews and nieces; Chuck, his younger brother and two younger sisters. There wasn’t a birthday party, event or celebration that Aunt and Uncle didn’t make time for. As the kids got older, got married and started families of their own, there were only more people to love. These are the people to admire and learn from; those that know that the greatest gift is the gift of time.

Some of my favorite things about Aunt were her love, her compassion, her acceptance, her fierce loyalty, her devotion to her family, particularly they way she cared for Grandma, her aging mother, and Uncle.

Everyone who knows him knows that Uncle is the world’s biggest sports fan. His first question when he sees you is almost always, “Did you see the game?” It doesn’t matter what game, there’s always a big game; football, hockey, basketball, baseball, collegiate or professional. However, as a fella who hails from Detroit, he especially loves his hockey. Uncle was tickled pink when Nick laced up his first pair of skates at the tender age of 4.

Sometimes Aunt would bundle up Grandma and they would meet us at rinks near and far, day or night, to watch Nicky skate. It wasn’t so much that she was a hockey fan, but a fan anything and everything her nieces and nephews were doing. She just wanted to be a part of it; playing Spoons on Amanda’s birthday, watching videos of Amanda doing gymnastics and making sure that the kids had an opportunity to really know their Great Grandmother.

When Aunt was unexpectedly hospitalized 12 days ago, we were fortunate to have been able to spend some time with her. Even when she might have been focusing on her own self and health, she was so proud to have us all with her, making a point to introduce each of us, as her niece or nephew, to her nurses. Sadly, she lost her battle.

Taken too soon, but never to be forgotten, we will remember Aunt for her love for us, her devotion, her support and kind words of encouragement, and for helping us to celebrate life’s milestones.

We love you Aunt. You will be missed……

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Prom Night…..

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about…….more Senior celebrations (not for AARP card carrying members, but high school-er’s). Most often when I blog, I’m sitting with my laptop in my kitchen or maybe curled up in my favorite spot on a sofa in my family room. Sometimes, if I’m lucky, I might be sipping a hot chocolate (I know, I know, a child’s drink choice) from a cozy seat at Starbucks, but this time, I’m bundled up in a down parka, sitting on a bench, with the wind at my back, at the driving range. When my Nick loves something he wants you to love it too, so when he asked me to come along for the ride and watch him hit a bucket of balls, how could I refuse?

After filling out all of the paperwork, getting sized for his tuxedo, ordering her corsage (wait, that was me), and racing home from school, Nick was heading to his girlfriend’s prom. My mom came from Chicago, Chuck flew out of work early, with his BlackBerry glued to his ear, and I had a super-fun-crazy-busy day shooting a video at Target with Sal Swanton of Swanton Video Media (I can’t wait to tell you all about that another day soon!). We had all of thirty minutes to change, brush our teeth and wrestle Nick into his formal wear. I must say, he was rather handsome.

Four people, a three car caravan and a 30 minute commute at the beginning of Friday night rush hour traffic; it was a miracle we arrived right on time. I’m not exactly sure what made me think of it at that moment, but as we pulled up, I realized that we LEFT THE VERY SPECIAL AND GORGEOUS CORSAGE AT HOME! There were four of us that might have remembered to snag the corsage out of our refrigerator (though I completely blame myself). What a bunch of dunce’s! Without missing a beat, Chuck jumped back into the car to “race” home at 4:45 on a Friday night. It was a total Hail Mary pass…..

My mom, Nick and I made our way up the drive-way, with our tails between our legs, having forgotten the corsage. We apologized to Nick’s girlfriend and her mom for being such incredible moron’s and they couldn’t have been more gracious about the whole thing. In fact, I really don’t think Nick’s girlfriend was concerned or interested in the corsage in the very least. She was absolutely lovely; rocking the most beautiful dress and simply happy to be celebrating high school with her favorite friends. On the other hand, we were sweating bullets. Poor Chuck, missed the entire picture party, pulling up with the corsage moments before the limo pulled away (at least he didn’t have to hi-jack the limo on the way to the dance! Nick would have died of embarrassment.).    

The kids were absolutely stunning and they had a great night. After the dance, they changed into comfy clothes, went to their favorite Mexican restaurant for burritos and went home to watch Saturday Night Live re-runs. These two are a practical pair. Instead of some big “post prom” nightmare, Nick had a golf lesson Saturday morning and later in the day the two of them went to US Cellular for a Chicago White Sox game. With Nick being a life-long, thoroughly devoted Cub’s fan (with a dog named Wrigley Sheffield, what would you expect?) it was a miracle that the walls didn’t cave in on him! They had a great time at the game and a great night at Prom. What else could we have asked for?

More beautiful teenagers, more rights of passage, more time with friends, more memorable moments……..

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