Thursday, September 30, 2010

A mommy feat

Sometimes I get these crazy ideas and sometimes they actually work, which is a blessing.

6 a.m. Thursday morning, this morning. I wake up to a dark house with toddler feet in my face. Jeremy's out of town; Jack was crying in the middle of the night, and I barely remember bringing him into my bed. He wakes up - soon, we're both out of bed and going through the morning routine.

Now here's where my crazy idea comes in. Jack is accompanying me to work this morning - my dentist is in the same building as my office, and my doctor, who is a young dad, asked me to bring Jack along to get used to the dentist's office and he said he would check out Jack's smile. I tote along a bag loaded with my work stuff, one diaper, three play cars and Jack's play camera.  We take the L the two stops to Mommy's office. Jack gets smiles from normally dour morning faces on the train. When we exit the train, everyone else makes a beeline for the street, but Jack insists on standing and watching the train leave the station.

Being in public with Jack often reminds me how my world has become a Mork & Mindy episode. "Oooooh, Chicago," Jack exclaims as we emerge from the underground train station into the crowds on the busy city sidewalk. "Look at that tall building." As we cross State Street, the surliest of traffic cops actually waves to Jack; I have to do a double-take. We explore the wonder of the revolving door to Mommy's work building and off we go to the 19th floor to visit the dentist.

All of my trepidation is gone as I'm in the dentist's chair. Jack is enthralled - the hygienist has given him a seat next to me, and he gets to hold the tools. She patiently explains everything she is doing; he doesn't even have time to pull anything too naughty. Jack allows the hygienist to examine his mouth as well. I couldn't have asked for a better experience - they encouraged me to bring him one more time before he gets his first real cleaning.

So all is well - next stop is Mommy's office on the 16th floor where Jack knows the location of every candy jar. What really makes this crazy idea feasible is that Maria the super-nanny has agreed to pick him up downtown, and my nannyshare friend Whitney has also signed off on the idea. We have some time before Maria arrives, and again, it works out well. I'm thankful for a workplace that embraces my child and even though we have a board meeting happening at noon, everyone is totally calm and cool with a toddler running amok. Jack settles in to some Sesame Street clips on my computer while I prep a few things for my meeting.

Maria soon arrives and whisks Jack away (thank you again, Maria). I'm back upstairs to present at our board meeting and mingle with board members.

The day's almost done and I have heels and maternity stockings, no less!

(This post is dedicated to my sister Dayna who joins the ranks of working mommys tomorrow.)

Friday, September 24, 2010

One to follow

On my blog roll, I only include blogs of people I know personally, but I may have to add this one. Wonderful, heartfelt writing and beautiful photography...check out the heading "Start here if you're new." She'll direct you to her second daughter's birth story. I read it while at work and it took me about an hour because I had to keep switching screens from fear of sobbing too loudly....

Happy rainy Friday...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I was given permission to rest today

As I try to write down these thoughts, boil a pot of water for Jack's vegetables (frozen vegetables are a beautiful invention), dry a load of sheets in the dryer, I have to tell you: I was given permission to rest today.

I went to Jack and Nate's first Kindermusik class today with Nate's baby sister June and super nanny Maria. We danced, we sang, and we kept the beat. At one point, the teacher instructed parents and caregivers to lie down on the floor to rest. She asked us how many times do our children seeing us sit down during the day, let alone, rest. So I laid there. Jack patted my face as Nate patted my back. They were both wiggleworms and didn't really get what we were doing.  Finally Jack squatted down near my face, and said, "wake up, Mommy!" The teacher implored us to take time at home to sit with our children and just be. As I stood up, I told Maria this class is also doubling as therapy for me.

(We pause for a moment as I put the vegetables into the boiling water.)

So I still have a full list of to do's for tonight but will try to take one minute to relax (and hey, I got not one but two October issues of food magazines today....yes!) steps!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Jack can add this to his growing list of things to discuss with his therapist

We've had our condo on the market since April 1, and no dice so far. We still believe in our condo and finding the right buyer - this economic market is just a killer.

Jeremy and I took stock of the situation this weekend. How can a fundraiser whose job it is to sell, sell, and sell and a writer (that's what Jeremy likes to call himself these days but he also could be described as a public relations professional whose job is it to market) not sell their place?

Even if the market isn't kind to us, we can't say we didn't try. Today, we lower our price. We also are thinking about writing a letter to leave out to prospective buyers on what we love about our condo and our neighborhood. Oh, and if I have to, I'm not below setting out homemade cookies and bottles of water to sweeten the deal. And one last thing: We rented a small storage spot to store some of our things to declutter our home.

I'm just guessing but I'm betting our potential buyer of a 2 bedroom/2 bath loft condo smack in the middle of Chicago probably doesn't have children. So we have to de-kidify, which is hard. Jack is spending much of the time out of our condo because our nannyshare is currently at my friend's house (we switch off every few months), so we're hoping he won't miss the toys we've stored. Though, our little guy did have to come with us to the storage unit this morning and saw Mommy and Daddy put his toys away. We assured him that we "own" this space and that we can visit the toys any time. And someday we will have them all back. He stood there, processing it all. I'm just waiting for the questions...and hoping I have good answers (and the resistance to not buy more toys in the meantime...)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Halloween spoiler alert!

Faithful companion

Roscoe the kitty was Jeremy's and my first "child." He's taken a backseat in the past few years with the arrival of Jack (major understatement - I mean, before Jack, I used to send Kodak albums of Roscoe pictures to my family) but continues to be our faithful companion. When Jeremy goes away on business trips, I'll find Roscoe sitting by the front door, waiting for the "pack" to be united once again. Routinely, when Jack and I arrive home after the workday, Roscoe will meet us at the door as well. (In fact, if he doesn't meet us, I can safely assume he's locked himself somewhere - the bathroom or most recently, the TV cabinet...) And for about seven years straight, I've had 15 pounds of furry cat sleeping between my feet every night without fail.

This morning, I noticed Roscoe sitting by the door. The sweet thing was that it was Jack who wasn't home (Maria, the super-nanny, has picked him up early because she is awesome and extremely accommodating of Jeremy's and my crazy schedules) and here my feline son was missing his buddy. Has Roscoe finally forgiven us for the mornings of forgetting to feed him (once, I picked up his water bowl, which was bone-dry)? For his brother "holding" him by squeezing his fluffy middle? For the early days, when even my nocturnal animal would slink away from the midnight cries of my newborn? Roscoe's finally missing his Jack!

Um, now who's going to break the news to Roscoe that there's another one on the way???

Monday, September 13, 2010

Twice the fun!

Well, gentle reader, it's time. Given one of my sweet, well-meaning friends at work today told me I looked "good but tired" and tonight I realized I had my elastic-band pants on backwards all day at work, it's time to admit something:

I'm pregnant with baby #2!

Yes, it's true - double the kid stories from here on out and double the fun. Now I can tell you allllllllllllllllllll about my pregnancy highs and lows. How Jack has started imitating my morning sickness routine (throwing his hands over his mouth and saying he might "fro up") and my current quest to find the perfect constant tiredness and my moodiness (I cried so hard at the end of Forrest Gump, which I've seen a million times, that I got sick)...aren't you excited?

I know we are!

We got pregnant our first month of trying. I'm due March 7 and today marks week 15. Besides God and my husband, I'd also like to thank my "smart" phone. Yes, we have an app for that - I had a fertility tracker, which for all intents and purposes, pretty much worked to the tee!

All old wives' tales are pointing toward a girl - I'm carrying high; I've been sick as sick can be; and the fetal heartbeat is high. But we won't be sure until late-October and will be blessed either way.

So that's my news. Now go get me some mashed potatoes and a chocolate milkshake...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

May I have this dance?

Jeremy and I took Jack to his first-ever soccer class today. It was geared very much toward to the toddler set - lots of games that employed running, jumping and kicking the soccer ball. And....Jack was very much not into it when we first arrived. He refused to wear his team shirt and was generally overwhelmed by the large fieldhouse (six classes were running concurrently).  Jeremy comforted him as Jack broke down into tears - it was just too much. I intervened - probably at the wrong time - and Jack still wasn't having it.

Then the "coach" told the kids to line up on one side for a silly run. They were to run - as silly as possible - and then freeze when he said freeze. I jumped in again, giving Jeremy a break, and grabbed both of Jack's hands. He went from crying to uncontrollably giggling as we started our silly run/waltz around the field, hand-in-hand. He threw his head back and laughed with his whole body. When we had to freeze, I knelt down to him and he put his cheek next to mine and stood very still. Then we started our dance again, running and waving our arms. Later, I thought about how mortified Jack would have been of me, acting silly with him, if he was 8-10 years older, but today, I could do no wrong. After the run, something changed and he was into the class, actually listening to the coach and leaving Jeremy and me in the dust.

My son and I will do many dances in our life - literally and figuratively - as we try to figure each other out. I just hope at least a few are cheek-to-cheek.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Another new year, another apple cake

Sundown tonight marks Rosh Hashanah, or the beginning of the Jewish New Year. Since Jeremy is Jewish, we celebrate these holidays with gusto, especially the food.

Rosh Hashanah meals typically include apples and honey to symbolize a sweet new year. We have a lot of beginnings coming up this year, so we hope it's particularly sweet. Jack and I made an apple cake like last year. I love it because it's actually a recipe from my family and also fits perfectly with this holiday.

And here's a picture of my little helper; he's grown up a lot from last year:

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Go here now

Here's my admission: I'm not really reviewing restaurants on this blog. Basically, I'm telling you when I find a good one. And I loved last night's place.

Jeremy and I rarely have a date night these days, so we gotta make it count. Province features New American food with South American and Spanish influences. It really feels like you're going out - a very modern, clean, white atmosphere with shocking pink accents hidden here and there. The room was bustling but it was easy to carry on a conversation.

This restaurant is a sign of the times. Its menu features local, sustainable ingredients and - in this economy - has a number of small plates and you can do a half-order on many of the entrees, making it fairly easy on the wallet.

This is serious grown-up food - melding together seasonal vegetables and spices, this restaurant did not disappoint. Our favorites were crab and fresh corn chowder with poblanos and fingerling potatoes; a 10-hour lamb with roasted eggplant, chorizo and cornbread stuffing; and an over-the-moon blueberry tart.

The wine list was varied and budget-friendly.  The staff was accommodating and street parking was plentiful. What are you waiting for???

161 N. Jefferson St., Chicago