Category Archives: Family

Denning Beta is Here

The last time I logged in to A Little Old Fashioned was on August 13th! I can’t believe it was that long ago, yet I can remember the day exactly. The piece I was working on was titled “Wishing and Hoping” and it was about looking forward to the arrival of Denning Beta but in a patient, “all good things come to those who wait” sort of way.  I had the day off and had gotten up early to surprise Phil with coffee and donuts for his birthday and we were enjoying the peacefulness of the morning in our office. I felt fine, like I had the day before and the day before that. Little did I know that I would never hit publish on that post because my labor would start later that evening just as we were wrapping up our last date night before life got crazy.


The next morning, August 14th at 3:33am, Henry Otis Denning was born coming into the world at 8lb 14oz. It was a whirlwind labor with the entire event moving much faster than I ever imagined, but I was able to deliver at home, as planned and we couldn’t have asked for a healthier baby. I hope to share our birth story someday soon as I know it will allow me to not only capture the memory but also to process it. For now though, I am working through what I think is an even more challenging event – the transition to motherhood. See, I am actually writing this from my phone because well, it’s hard to balance a laptop and a baby in your lap at the same time. And the few times a day when I have my hands free I can only think about eating, sleeping or showering. Can you blame me?

But we are settling in – Henry to life on the outside and me to life as his mom. We still have a lot of learning to do, but I am told that it gets easier and the most demanding days, both physically & emotionally, are soon to be behind us. If that’s true, I hope that I can get back to writing more because I miss it. I never thought that sharing my story would be a means of expression for me, but it has become a part of my life that I look forward to. My story will obviously change in many aspects, because I have changed, even in just the last 8 weeks, but regardless, I look forward to this next chapter and I look forward to seeing what is in store for me and for our new family.


3 Years

3-YearsThis is such a small snapshot of everything we have shared together over these last 3 years. I still remember May 21, 2011 as being the happiest day, but with every year that passes I realize that it was just the beginning and that marriage just keeps getting better.

We’re not big celebration people, but today we will get to do something fun. We will get to open another card signed with messages from guests who attended our wedding. Each table at the reception was assigned an anniversary year and they all signed that particular card. All the cards were then sealed and delivered to us so that every May 21st (or milestone year as we get further along) we can open a card and be reminded of what a fantastic day we had and what amazing friends and family we have supporting us.

This year will bring the biggest changes and challenges we’ve yet to face, but I couldn’t have a better partner by my side. I am so incredibly lucky. Happy Anniversary Phil!

32 Years


Last weekend we celebrated my mom’s retirement after 32 years of teaching music in the city schools. We had fun re-connecting with all the teachers she taught with throughout her career as well as enjoying the sweet gifts her students made to wish her well. (This may or may not have included sketches of “How Mrs. Walczak Will Spend her Retirement” that included auditioning for American Idol, driving an ice cream truck and playing the finger cymbals!) The food was delicious (catered to take the stress away from having to cook), the backyard was beautiful (despite the rain) and the turn-out of friends was great.


Watching mom reconnect with all of the people who have been a part of her professional life, I kept thinking about what it would be like to work my entire career for one company and then, what it would be like to be able to retire from that company. I’ve read statistics that say the average worker will hold 7 to 10 jobs before the age of 40. Quite a contrast. For me, I’ve accepted that this will be the way of my career, and I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing. I’ve been able to experience new things, gain new skills and expand my network with every job. But it still makes me wonder, what would 32 years be like?


It was very clear that my mom will be missed greatly by her students, her peers and the school. Regardless of whether you work your entire career in one place or in 20 places, I think the goal should be to leave things better than when you arrived and to be missed. As we reminded mom with a chalkboard sign (that’s my sister’s handy-work), “The Best is Yet to Come”. Congratulations to my mom. I’m so excited to see what retirement will bring!


Lessons Learned from My Father


The father’s day card that I mailed to my dad this year read something like, “Thank you Dad for all of the things that you’ve taught me…especially that potty training thing. That has really come in handy.” I thought it was a great card! While I appreciate being potty-trained, I like to think that I’ve learned much more than that from my dad. Since I won’t be able to see my dad today, I want to send a thank you to him for all that be has taught me.

  • Always Say I Love You – Saying I love you is something that comes easily to my dad and I’m so glad I picked up on it. He always said if you love someone you should tell them and I do!
  • Put People in Your Pictures – Before I left for any trip, he always reminded me to take lots of pictures but make sure there were people in my pictures. He said that years later when I’m looking through old pictures and reliving the memories, I will enjoy seeing someone I know standing in front of the statue of liberty rather than just the statue of liberty.
  • It’s OK to Feel Blue – I think my dad gets this better than anyone else. He’s taught me over the years that it’s ok to feel blue sometimes because the ups and downs are part of life. The blue times are what make the happy times that much happier. Experience it all and don’t feel bad for feeling how you do at the time.
  • Never Stop Singing – Every Thursday night you will find my dad playing a gig at a local bar and restaurant, but even if he weren’t gigging, I know I would find him playing the guitar everyday because he loves it. I hope I never stop using my gift of music and do it because I love it, like he does.
  • You Will Remember the Experiences – Growing up we were fortunate enough to get to see a Broadway Across America show each year, go to sporting events like an OSU volleyball game or even just go to a movie. Dad knew that it would be the events/experiences that we would remember, more than things.
  • You Are Never Too Old to Try New Things – This may not be a lesson that I’m putting into practice now, but as I get older I will always think of my dad when it comes to trying something new. At 55, he is living in a new state, making new friends and experiencing new things all the time. It takes courage I’m sure, but is also worth it.

Happy Father’s Day Dad and Happy Father’s Day to all the influential dads in my life, especially my step-dad Bob for everything he does for me and my sister, treating us like his own kids, my fathers-in-law Dick and Bruce and my grandfather-in-law Dick Sr. I love you all!

A Year in Pictures

Photo Album Cover

We take LOTS of pictures – not with our phones, but with our {a little} old-fashioned camera.  It started with wanting to make sure we got our money’s worth out of the purchase and continued with the creation of this blog and more traveling.  But unless a picture makes it into a blog post or a facebook album, it sits in a folder on our computer taking up quite a bit of space!

My sister is very diligent about creating a photo album at the end of each year that captures everything between New Year’s Eve and Christmas…a sort of “yearbook” if you will.  I LOVE this idea and have seen plenty of posts about others doing something similar, but to me, creating a photo album brings back memories of my failed attempts at scrap-booking back in the day.  It just wasn’t my thing.  But when a sweet deal from MyPublisher came through my inbox, I decided to give it a try anyway.  Turns out, I really enjoyed the process and couldn’t be more proud of the finished product!

Photo Album Box

I started out with a “Highlights” page listing anything that I could think of that we associate with our 2012.  From there I created pages chronologically around any event or topic for which I had more than a couple of pictures.

Photo Album Recap

Here are a few of my favorite layouts – Mardi Gras, Grand Cayman Island, fall races, and a weekend get-away to Indianapolis.Photo Album

Photo Album 2

Photo Album 3

Photo Album 4I also tried to delete photos along the way.  Since the best photos are in this album, I figure there’s no need to keep multiple shots of basically the same activity.  And now I have an album to share with family & friends and to look at whenever I’m in the mood to smile and remember how good life is!

How do you make sure your photos don’t just sit on the computer without ever being viewed?  If you’re thinking of creating a photo album, I highly recommend My Publisher for your platform.

Happy New Year

I hope you are off to a wonderful start to the new year!   I am still doing a bit of recovering from all the craziness of the holidays, but it was well worth it.  While I spend the next couple of days ironing out my New Year’s resolutions, I thought I would share a few pictures from our whirlwind visit with 4 families that included plenty of snow, gifts and love.




P1070651If you can’t see it, the ornament reads “Born to Blog”!

I Miss You So

It wasn’t until today, when a co-worker asked me how long it had been since I had last seen my husband, that I realized how long it had actually been.  With the transition between cities and timing with my new job, it just ended up that we’ve had to spend the last month apart.  Even though this was the longest we’ve been apart since we were married, we’ve done plenty of  long-distance stints more significant than this before.  But this time seemed a bit different.

This time I went on with life as best I could, filling my schedule with projects and events and just generally keeping busy.  Of course there was still that nagging feeling that life wasn’t quite right and something was missing, but I focused on passing the time.   Previous experiences, when our relationship was young, distance was agonizing and lonely and sometimes made me question how I would be able to make it until we were together again.  The time always passed, but as slow as molasses.

I don’t know that there is a right or wrong way to “miss” someone, but I am happy with where we are now.  Confident in each other to know that we will make it through and sure of the fact that life will be better when we’re together.