Posts

{Virtual Greetings} from the Carlsons

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Happy Holidays from the Carlson Family! Around this time last year, Kevin and I were making big plans. We had booked a few international trips – our first as a family, and we gathered everything to announce it on Christmas day – presents included travel backpacks and luggage tags (which in hindsight was probably not the most thrilling gift for a kid to open, but it was from Santa, so we didn’t feel too badly). And as the boys opened their presents we excitedly announced 2020 would be the “Carlson Year of Travel!!” Pre pandemic, we visited one of our new favorite places in the US: Fire Valley State Park. Gorgeous. What’s that? You want to see photos? OK! And you can guess how our international travel plans turned out. After getting over that heartbreak and a sizable “donation” to the country of Peru, we dusted ourselves off and looked for new adventures. We were able to squeeze in a few quick getaways to change up the scenery from the same four walls of our home: Branson, Miss

{happy holidays} from the Carlsons

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Happy Holidays! We hope you are enjoying the season and able to find some moments to rest and create memories within the busyness of it all! We know your time is valuable, so we tried to keep our year-in-review short: This year, both Kevin and Tracy stayed employed (yay!) at the same companies, in the same roles, and continue to enjoy our jobs and colleagues. While we value the work we are able to do, our #1 goal is to balance this with our family, friends, and volunteering. Speaking of family, Chase and Kiefer are full throttle into allthesports and we couldn’t be enjoying it more. While they played baseball, soccer, basketball, and tennis - flag football has their hearts. Kevin loves coaching whenever possible, and was even able to QB with both Carlson boys on the same team...and that team won the JFL Indoor 8 & Under Championship! Tracy has been key to cheering and recording videos...though misses a play or two when "building team camaraderie" (ie. chatting on

{peace & hope} from the Carlson Family

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Hope everyone is enjoying the cookie making, tree trimming, choral singing, party gathering, performance attending, family photo-ing, and...phew, anyone else tired yet? Our family took a moment (a quick one, as we had a party to get to) to reflect on our past year together and the summary is below: Kevin and Tracy are still employed! Kevin's company appreciated him so much, they wanted to see him spread his wings and fly....over to a new company: Alter Domus  (Senior Finance Manager). He's enjoying his new job, especially since the team was taken to Italy & France for a weekend. Tracy celebrated 10 years at BMO, Event-Based Marketing (Senior Manager & Team Lead) and sneaked in some international travel as well: Toronto, Nassau, and Toronto. There were more Toronto visits than listed, but you get the idea. Outside of work, Kevin has been flexing his volunteer muscles with coaching the boys in baseball, (flag) football, soccer, and basketball. Tracy's volun

{MERRY} from the Carlsons

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As the stockings are hung by the chimney with cries of Don't-Touch-Those-or-the-heavy-stocking-holder-thingy-will-crush-your-little-head , it appears we are ready for the season!     Kevin and Tracy are still plugging away at Heitman (as a Finance Manager) and BMO Financial Group (as a Manager in Event-Based Marketing). While both of us enjoy our companies and roles, that's probably is enough work talk. Outside of work, Kevin made the difficult decision to hang up his magician's hat after two years with  Open Heart Magic  - though is still known to carry a pack of cards just in case there is an entertainment opportunity or need. Tracy increased her volunteer work for our neighborhood elementary school: South Loop School.  While her strongest skill is her "inability to say no" to new committees and tasks, it has truly been a great community to support and a wonderful way to meet families in the area.  [small plug: Would love to connect you as well if y

{hope & happiness} from the carlsons

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Happy Holidays! 2016 was a good year for us, and hope it was for you as well ~ Below is a quick summary of our most memorable notes of the year (in no particular order): Had some great travel time in San Diego and St. Louis - highly recommend both!  Shipped the kids to the Grandparents (in Iowa) to get their little hands dirty on the farm. Then Mom and Dad HIT THE TOWN. And slept. A lot. Kevin became a magician after graduating from Magic University (lesser known competitor to Hogwarts). He volunteers regularly at the University of Chicago Children's Hospital (Comer), bringing home inspiring and sweet stories with each experience. Tracy planned to pick up tennis again -- purchased a membership, gathered gear, and made court reservations. Then fell down some stairs, twisted her knee, landing her in physical therapy. Trying again in 2017! Chase loves Kindergarten, has become a confident reader/writer, and recently started making his own dinners (always with a "t

Homework for Adults

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The other day we took the boys to see Zootopia, an undeniably fantastic movie. Which you already know, so that won't be dissected today. But here's the thing.  I went to this movie like all other films I watch -- with as little preparation as possible. Loving the surprise factor, my best-case scenario is knowing nothing pre-show. Yet early into this movie, it became clear my tactic may not be ideal when it came to kids' films. The movie had many themes expertly woven throughout and laid a fantastic foundation to have discussions around stereotypes, teamwork, and grit. And I wasn't prepared. By walking blindly into the movie, this dumb bunny missed an opportunity to have those questions and conversation starters ready to go as the credits rolled. You may be thinking this has never been a problem for you.  Well, I am happy for you.  Sort of. While many parents can quickly convert what they see and hear into appropriate dialog for their children on the s

San Diego - A Review

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After finishing up an amazing trip to San Diego, wanted to share our experience and tips so you can have a great time as well! Quick Facts: We are a family of 4 living in downtown Chicago: 2 boys, ages 5 and 3.   Our trip was short, limited to 4 days. We like to save money & time where we can We wake up at the crack of 6 am (or 4 am San Diego time), so we over-prepare and plan to fit in everything we can into each day before the kids tire out and/or have melt downs.  This has continuously worked well for us and wanted to share some of the tips. Assume for each section, we arrive at or before the place opens. Accommodations, Transportation, & Misc: We stayed in downtown San Diego for 3 nights and then La Jolla for 2 nights. We scoured Trip Advisor for good hotels for kids and good proximity to where we were visiting. Hotels: Courtyard San Diego: This location was good: close to Balboa Park/Zoo, Beaches, Downtown, and grocery stores, restaurants.  The hotel