Friday, April 30, 2010

What I learned today

Today, Jack, his nannyshare friend/close bud Nate, and nanny extraordinaire Maria took me on a lunch date to one of their favorite places: Borinquen, a Puerto Rican restaurant somewhere between Chicago's Humboldt Park and Logan Square neighborhoods. This is what I learned:

1. I might have too short of a leash on Jack. When Maria encouraged the boys to run across the (small) room to take a look at the large fish tank, they both took off. Jack then froze, turned around and came back to me with a look like, "is this cool?" In that instance, I realized I don't give him much freedom in public to explore but our circumstances often dictate that in the city. Must put that on my mommy to-do list to reconcile.

2. Jibaritos are just plain awesome. This sandwich uses fried plantains rather than bread, people. That is an amazing, decadent discovery. Ripe, red, August-looking tomatoes, lettuce and onions top the flavorful steak, cheese and a dab of mayo.  The service was extremely friendly, and it's BYOB to boot. I'll be back....maybe you'll join me?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Hey, and it's not even Thanksgiving

If you have a moment today, celebrate all you have. I'm celebrating having loving family and friends, a job, a home and dinner on my table tonight. I'm celebrating my parents finally selling their house. I'm celebrating Jeremy's parents' 35th anniversary today. I'm celebrating good times with friends this weekend and lots of fun coming up this weekend. A family I know is having a game-changing moment as their son has a critical surgery today. Seeing their joy and their faith keeps my perspective on life in perspective.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Is drinking wine a good way to handle this?

There once was a boy named Jack. He was a good little boy and always very curious. 

My Touchpoints book tells me that the half-birthdays for toddlers are often a harder time developmentally then the real birthdays. Jack's almost 30 months and we are definitely in a difficult terrible two's phase. The willfulness and the lack of impulse control - at least using the proper terminology makes me feels better. 

As servers sweetly suggest I buckle my toddler son into his high-chair at restaurants and as the single, childless 20-something salespeople at The Spice House look at me incredulously as my son runs amok the glass jars of spices, I'm trying to deal with all of this with humor and common sense. Yeah, so, maybe I shouldn't have spent $8 on a jar of ground cardamom, if I really have no idea how I'm going to use it. (At the time, I was in grab-and-go mode - I could only clutch Jack between my knees for so long.) But we're just rolling with the punches and trying to keep our heads above water.

You tell me if you see any similarities:

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Happy birthday

On May 22, 1997 - nearly 13 years ago - I called my blind date to tell him I was running a few minutes late.

Jeremy should have taken that as a clue of how life would be with me.

Rarely on time (because I'm always trying to squeeze in one last thing to check off of my to-do list) and sometimes short on patience (it's my Italian side), I am beautifully complemented by my husband.

He is patient to no end with me and our son. He is kind, funny and snarky, all rolled up into one. He is a gifted storyteller and knows his way around his kitchen. He didn't have really any experience with babies when our son was born but took it all in stride.

He's dependable and will be there (on time) when you need him. None of our friends or family would disagree.

Happy 32nd birthday to my best friend.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Spring has...sprung?

A projected high of 82 degrees today with lots of sunshine? In Chicago? In mid-April? I asked my director of land preservation here at Openlands if spring has come earlier this year, and he said no. But I don't seems like things are definitely greener faster this year. I love it!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Fire up the grill

Inspired by Cooking Light, my mom made Asian turkey burgers as part of her Saturday-night bbq extravaganza. (My family believes in lots of choices on the dinner table - my mom even serves "side dish" desserts along with the main dessert. Admit it, Mom. It's true.) Jeremy was raving over them, so I decided to try my hand at it this week, putting together my own recipe:

Asian Turkey Burgers
1 lb ground turkey (7% fat)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch fresh ginger root, grated
2 T. tamari dark soy sauce
2 scallions, finely chopped
1 1/2 t. toasted sesame oil
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
vegetable or canola oil

Mix together the first 8 ingredients. Divide mixture into 4 patties. Drizzle patties on both sides with vegetable oil. Grill up to your liking and enjoy.

We enjoyed these with one of our favorites, Asian slaw.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

My week: By the numbers

20,000: As in dollars, a gift received from a close donor to my organization this week for our annual fund. We are in tight times, and this gift was a great shot in the arm!
5: The number of days Jack has to take an antibiotic to get rid of a raging ear infection. Worst mom of the year, here, for not taking him in sooner.
1: CTA employee who always cheerfully says hello and good morning to every passenger as we enter the L station in the morning.
2: Wonderful friends who are getting married May 1, and I am just so excited to attend their wedding and see many of our friends who are traveling from throughout the country to attend.
24: The number of plastic Easter eggs Jack found Sunday in Nana's great Easter egg hunt. I'm still eating the chocolate goodies that filled the eggs.
0: The number of showings we've had on our condo since we listed a week ago. I've decided maybe I should let the place get messy, which will ensure someone will call to see our place.
2: People screaming at each other outside of my building this morning, reminding me I live and work in a city full of characters.
10: Emails sent today by my fellow board members of the DLC to determine a time for our May board meeting.
1: Toddler who threw a huuuge hissy-fit this morning because we wouldn't let him wear his pjs all day.
1: Same toddler, letting me rock him tonight and run my fingers through his baby-fine hair. With all of my "wants" in life - a new house, a new baby, that X5 - I'm very much reminded - when you add everything up -of how much I already have.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

My two year old dresses better than me

It is sunny with a projected high of 80 degrees today; I bet this is Chicago's idea of an April Fool's Day joke. The air conditioning is on in my offices, and people are walking around in shorts.

This means only one thing: turning my closet upside-down, looking for warm-weather clothes that still fit.  Oy. This is the cruelest time of year for clothes. Taking off the winter layers to reveal blinding-white, dry legs. Squeezing oneself into pastel-colored clothes to celebrate spring. I much prefer fall - taking one's healthier summer body and layering on rich autumn colors. But I digress.

So today, I'm wearing a Hanna Andersson dress that I bought last year, probably against my better judgment. I put a cardigan over it to make it look less mommy-like. Pantyhose complete the look because I'm still afraid to go bare legs. Jack, on the other hand, is wearing his super-cool, new Oscar the Grouch t-shirt paired with last season's Ralph Lauren khakis. (Is it wrong that I'm jealous that my almost-29-month-old can still fit his diapered-booty into 24-month-sized pants?) He's first on the list to get some new things this spring and summer because he's growing and growing. Mommy will just have to continue to window-shop at the new Anthropologie that went in across the street from my offices.