Tag Archives: captain america

Moving Day

Hey there. Me again. Back after a brief hiatus with more photos and fewer words. I promise I’ll be back on a regular schedule once we are all moved in but until then I hope you’ll settle for a photo update of the last few days.

Friday was spent down in Champaign celebrating with family and friends before the 5th running of the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon. Technically this year marks the 6th annual race but this was the 5th year of our family running let’s just go with that.

christie clinic illinois marathon, racing, half marathon, champaign, family,

It was so nice to see my Champaign family and to squeeze the little ones before we leave. We were blessed (and cursed) with nice weather throughout the weekend as well, making for a very hot race the next day.

christie clinic illinois marathon, racing, half marathon, champaign, family,

Jake and Owen came over for the youth run on Saturday well-prepared with their under armor superhero shirts. I missed the run but highlights included Jake getting a side stitch approximately 30 seconds into a 1K distance, Owen blazing to the finish and Jake asking the volunteer why he was getting a medal if he didn’t win.

Saturday evening we celebrated our move with some of our closest Chicago friends. I feel very blessed to have had these girls (and guys) in my life over the last 6 years and will miss them so much. It’s so nice to have a bunch of people to look forward to visiting each time we come back though.

chicago going away party, haymarket pub, friends, Chicago

Approximately 4 hours of sleep later we were onto Sunday where we celebrated the upcoming arrival of the first grandchild on Matt’s side. If you can’t tell by the shower colors, it’s a girl.

girls baby shower, tassel garland, candy bar, sweets table, diaper cake, pink baby shower,

5 or so hours of sleep later it was moving day. Chicago sent us off just about the same way it treated us all winter long with gray skies and wet conditions but we made the most of it. We had a bit of a fiasco with our movers last-minute so we called in some family to help us make the trip. Once the truck was packed, Matt and his brother started the trip down and I headed to Springfield to pick up my dad and Finn.

spring weather, chicago moving day, moving truck

I’m not typically one to consider signs but I am now convinced that Bloomington hates me. You may recall I ran into a big winter storm coming through Bloomington a few months back so I guess it’s only fitting to get hit with a tornado warning on my last trip home.

So dad and I hit the road early this morning with the hope of making it to our new home in a day or so. Matt and his brother are of course already nearly there thanks to a few naps and a lot of caffeine.

Next stop, Florida.


The Great Amazing Pumpkin Race

I’d say we are about due for a happy weekend wrap-up post, aren’t we?

Hit it.

I had a hard time excepting that fall had arrived until this weekend. I’ll admit, I was a little bitter at the lack of summer weather we experienced here in Chicago and I just wasn’t ready for a change in season yet. Fall is my favorite time of year so normally I can’t wait to buy stock in pumpkin and place it into every possible food, drink and decor imaginable. I’ll admit I was a little bitter until this past weekend.

I now realize fall has arrived and I’m welcoming it with open arms.

So I jumped into it head first and I’m not looking back. This weekend I:

Bought my first bag of candy corn.

candy corn dish halloween simply social blog

Lord help me. 

Ate my first pumpkin scone while visiting the farmer’s market with my mom.

pumpkin farmers market springfield illinois simply social blog

I forgot how good those things are.

Found out what my nephews are going to dress up as everyday from now until Halloween.

owen and jake spiderman captain america costume halloween boys

Did you know pizza tastes better when it’s made by superheroes? 

And finally, I checked ‘visit a pumpkin patch’ off my fall bucket list.

bomke's patch, pumpkin, simply social blog

My sister and I made the most of a beautiful fall Sunday and took my nephews to nearby Bomke’s Patch for the afternoon. It’s not far from where my mom lives and is run by a family that went to my high school. Living in Chicago for a number of years now has made me realize how much I miss things like pumpkin patches and tree farms. It sounds cliché, but being able to walk into an open field, yank a pumpkin from it’s stem (yes, yank because Jake wouldn’t give up the “snippers”) you appreciate the pumpkin so much more.

bomke's patch, pumpkin, simply social blog,

And just like their momma, my country pumpkins have found their place in the city.

We started our adventure at the barn where Jake proceeded to ride the ‘for photos only’ tractor away from it’s location over and over. Then we moved over to the playground where they had a series of unique slides, swings and corn boxes. 

bomke's patch, pumpkin, wagons, tractors, barn, playground, corn crib, simply social blog

Next stop, corn maze.

bomke's patch, pumpkin, simply social blog, corn maze, map

If it weren’t for Owen, Anne, Jake and I might still be in that corn maze. That kid is a pretty good navigator. We had fun trying to locate each checkpoint and avoiding dead ends. Our success later led to a discussion of Anne and I applying for the next season of the Amazing Race together. A discussion that will only be revisited if she takes back her presumption that I would always have to be right throughout the race. An unnecessary presumption as I think we can all agree my knowledge, wit and charm would obviously carry us to an eventual first place prize.


After the corn maze we grabbed a wagon and started pumpkin hunting. The weapons, obstacles and search for elusive species indicated that this was much more of a hunt than a pick.

bomke's patch, pumpkin, wagons, simply social blog

Letting me pick my own pumpkins is like sending a fat kid loose in the candy aisle. 30 minutes later we were down to 9 or so pumpkins (plus a Jake). I decided to re-evaluate my choices and let a few go because I was sure I was in for $50 worth of pumpkins at this point when my sister came back with the receipt.

15 dollars! 15 dollars for 9 pumpkins minus a Jake. We all know you can’t put a price on that gem of a kid. I could hardly believe it. Had I bought anything near those pumpkins at Home Depot in the city, I probably would have spent triple that.

Point country. 

Once I got over the fact that we cheated those pumpkin growers out of some beauts, we moved onto to the final activity of the day.

bomke's patch, pumpkin, wagons, tractors, petting zoo, miniature horse, goats, imply social blog
We took a tractor ride down to a small petting zoo where we met several goats, a donkey and a miniature horse I will call Beyoncé. No, I’m not saying Beyoncé looks like a horse. It’s just the way in which that little diva of a horse shook her hair that reminded me of Queen B.

Jake preferred to feed the little goat (the real thing, not the restaurant) as I tried to explain that just because he was little, he wasn’t necessarily the youngest. He didn’t care. All 50 cents of feed when straight to that little guy. I understood. Us younger children have to stick together.

And so ends a lovely fall weekend wrap-up. If you have a kid in your life or you just like using kids to be your excuse to do fun kids things, go visit a pumpkin patch this month. Not that I ever use my nephews for that kind of thing.

Happy harvest!

Jake and the Captain America Party

This weekend we celebrated my youngest nephew’s third birthday with a Captain America-themed bash. I can’t speak for your family, but birthdays are big in mine. Whether you are turning 2 or 92, each year your birthday is celebrated with cake, presents and the annual telling of the birthday story. Yes, the story is repeated each year without fail. It may seem redundant, but if anyone ever asks me about mine for witness testimony or otherwise, I’m happy to share the details including my Dad’s labor room attempt to try and name me after a Russian gymnast he was watching in the ’84 summer Olympics or that my initially low Apgar scores did NOT inhibit me from the honor roll after all.

captain america birthday party

I’m confident he’ll grow into the mask

Never one to miss a birthday or any party if I can avoid it, we decided to hit the road Saturday morning after I got my long run in. It would be a quick trip but worth it to take advantage of the nice weather our friends to the south had been enjoying all week long (not that I’m bitter or anything). We haven’t had great weather in Chicago this week (once again not bitter), but it was above 30 and dry and I actually thought I overdressed as I hit the first four miles or so.

April (snow) Showers from Sarah Murphy on Vimeo.

Then it started. Snow. And then in worsened. Heavier snow. No wait, that’s more like sleet. Oh hail. That’s a lot of hail. And I’m 5+ miles from home with no other option than to just put my head down and deal with it. And I wasn’t the only one. Each pack of runners I passed shared a head shake and a look of bewilderment with me as we scurried through the unseasonable weather like ants to a picnic. Only this was no picnic, folks. It was miserable. And because I was running solo my only chance at misery loves company was to take incessant amounts of iPhone photos and video to share with my family who was currently enjoying a warm 75 degree Saturday just 3 hours south of me. And so I did.


The last photo in the sequence is back in my neighborhood at mile 10. That’s right. Blue skies and sunshine. Figures. I had a brief chat with a neighbor as I was stretching after and he summed it up nicely.

Are you heading out for a run? What a beautiful day. Looks like you’ll have great weather for it. 

Yes. It does look like that now doesn’t it. ARGH.

It’s amazing how much a little sunshine can lift your mood. Three hours of driving in the sunshine later, we arrived home to a balmy 65 degrees.

Jake’s party was held at a local gymnastics center. This was the same location we had Owen’s 5th birthday and if it were up to me, I’d drop my kids off there every Saturday when the weather was questionable just to let them run like crazies until they passed out. Whoever came up with this idea was genius. And the folks at the facility have a system down. They waste no time getting parties in and out. Two party rooms, 4 time slots each Saturday. Kids arrive, a brief rule set is described and particularly precocious ones listen closely.

captain america birthday party

I’m going to forget everything you said in 3, 2, 1

They line up and march down to Bounce House room for 1 hour followed by 25 minutes in the foam pit. Then its up to the party room for cake and presents for the last 45. Genius. First of all, this time frame fits perfectly with the attention span of three year-olds. They run. They jump. They play. They get all sugared up and crash before they even get home.

Jake’s marks the 10th birthday party my sister and I have thrown over the past few years for the boys. She get’s credit for most of the prep work this time a including saving the banner from Jake’s first birthday to use again. As the older sibling, she’s not one to hoard items like I do. She’s a purger. I have a hard time letting go of things for fear that I might need it for a Halloween costume 5, 6, 7 years down the road. We usually differ in this regard, but since we used similar colors for other parties, saving this banner turned out to be a simple yet nice addition to a blank party space.

captain america birthday party

Add some simple captain-themed cup cake toppers, some thank you tags and you have a quick and easy Captain America Party without a lot of fuss.IMG_3019

And no fuss means more time for play. And funny faces. Note: I highly recommend replacing the word “poop” for “cheeseburger” in attempts to get kids to smile. And judging from the photo below, I’d say Papoo and Jake enjoyed it most. You can clearly see they share a sense of humor. 

Papoo wanted in on the photo

Papoo wanted in on the photo

Once the kids had their fill of foam pit flipping and vinyl bounce house burns, we made our way up to the party room for cupcakes and presents.

captain america birthday party captain america birthday party IMG_3050


Each party goer was sent home with a treat bag filled with popcorn from a local shop, fun party glasses and a kazoo to keep their parents entertained all the way home.

The party was fast and furious but fun nonetheless. Jake confirmed Sunday morning over blueberry birthday pancakes that he did in fact have a good birthday party but that his actual birthday was over Tuesday. Noted. And so with that we enjoyed our last little bit sunshine and a few signs of spring before heading back to the city.


My mom has quite the green thumb

Here’s hoping the only remaining April showers are brief and followed by oodles of sunshine. Have a wonderful week!