Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Jack and I might be banned from Jo-Ann's

The last time I checked, the Christmas spirit did not include my purse strewn on the floor of Jo-Ann's, a box full of ribbon rolls upended onto the floor, and me grabbing a toddler by his winter coat and sticking him in the grocery cart. A grocery cart that is filled with at least 25 things from the dollar bin that Jack has thrown in, which I will dutifully return to their rightful places.

It's Tuesday night after work and I made the unwise choice to make a quick stop at this craft store. It's pre-dinner and Jack is cranky. My "quick" stop turns into 45 minutes of hunting down craft supplies. I am totally that woman who cannot control her child. I thought 2 years old was hard but 3 seems to be a roller coaster ride so far.

But by goodness, I got all of my supplies for my homemade Advent calendar - an idea I "borrowed" from this great blog.

Toddler mittens from the dollar bin, a pretty ribbon and mini clothespins will help us count down the days until Christmas. Each mitten holds a treat for Jack and for his cousin Andrew when he visits us mid-month.

And what's the first treat for December 1? Well, a dreidel, of course, to celebrate the first night of Hanukkah.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Must be doing something right

After a whirlwind Thanksgiving holiday in New York with Yaya and Papa, we're back  in Chicago. We did so much in the city - the circus, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Jeremy and I had time to ourselves and more. Our flight got cancelled yesterday and by some miracle, the booking attendant (perhaps sizing up my belly) rebooked us on a flight one hour later in first class. Today, Jack has Maria to himself as Nate and his family travel home from visiting their grandparents.

As Jack and I were eating breakfast, I told Jack that Maria would take him to the museum today. He answered, "which one?"

Okay, so that made me feel good - we're taking our condo off of the market soon and will probably stay put for a bit. I worry about us not getting into a house right away but we're also getting by in our condo. We have Chicago as our backyard and we can make that work for a bit longer!

(And if you're curious, they are headed to the Museum of Science and Industry.)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanks for Thanksgiving

This is probably one of the easiest posts I've ever written. Today and every day, I'm grateful for:

  • God for giving life.
  • My parents for creating a warm family home and giving my sisters and me the gift of empathy.
  • My sisters - we have our ups and downs but we'll always be each other's life partners - and their families who keep life full and interesting.
  • Jeremy's family for welcoming me as their daughter and sister.
  • My closest group of girlfriends who give the best hugs, share the tastiest recipes and provide the strongest support.
  • Jeremy's and my network of friends and family spread throughout the country.
  • Maria, a stay-at-home mom gone pro, who has cared for Jack as if he were her own and has helped me to find some balance as a working mom.
  • A workplace that helps the greater good and coworkers who are friends.
  • Good smells from the kitchen, all things Food Network and the celebration of the home cook.
  • Quiet moments in the early hours in the morning with a steaming cup of coffee and a sunrise as my only companions.
  • Roscoe the cat who waits by the door for our return and keeps my feet warm at night.
  • My unborn daughter, whom I pray for good health. 
  • My son, my Jack, who is smart, handsome and funny. Whose first word is "Mommy" when he's tired, hungry or sad. Who says "But I'll miss you" when I told him this morning I was going to stay home while he, Papa and Daddy headed to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
  • My college sweetheart-turned-husband, who has enough patience for the both of us and whom I love more each day.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Count on your blessings

Stresses at work, runny noses and the mountain of laundry that will never go away - these are the things that can weigh me down and they admittedly aren't even the real big obstacles of life. But they clutter my mind and my day.

We had our good friends in town this weekend, and Emily told me about a workshop she attended where the teacher encouraged them to minimize the bad things to the place they belong to let the good things come through (this is me greatly paraphrasing). It made me think - how often do I dwell on the bad stuff when the good stuff of life surrounds me?

I woke up Saturday morning and even though I've been planning for this day for weeks, I was struck with the thought: I get to spend today with some of my best friends. Emily and Steve were in town from St. Louis; Amy and Mark were joining us as well. Super nanny Maria was watching all of the little darlings so we could head to the Northwestern v. Illinois game at Wrigley Field kid-free. NU may have lost the game but I had a great time catching up with my dearies. We joined up with more friends at the game; basically half of the people who were in our wedding party were seated with us in the stands. Worries melted away; my only complaint that afternoon was that the hot pretzels at the stadium were lukewarm.

My church - Fourth Presbyterian Church - sends daily devotionals and today's was Psalm 103 that basically says "don't miss a single blessing."

During this Thanksgiving, my wish for you (since I pretty much personally know my readership) is to remember what makes life meaningful. Quiet the stresses and anxieties that cloud your mind and reach out your arms. I bet you're met with someone who will hug you back.

Don't merely count your blessings. Count on your blessings. They make life worth living.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Musings in the wee hours

The clock says 4:56 a.m. and I cannot sleep. I'm thinking about...baby toys. I'm thinking I'll have to pull out Jack's old toys with this new baby and then I think about how my kids will be three years apart. Then I think about how when Jack is a high school senior, his sister will be a freshman. Then I think about how heartbroken I'll be when my son goes to college - a necessary step in his life, I admit - but I really feel like that's the real beginning of one's adulthood. Then I think about how I hope my daughter and I will get along and what will the high school years bring for us both. Then I think about Jeremy and me being empty-nesters and maybe we'll be able to do civilized things again like going to dinner on a weeknight or seeing a movie in the theater.

And then Roscoe the cat jumps on me, and I realize I shouldn't by lying on my back because I'm pregnant, so I shift to my side. I'm brought back to today - today is trains and blocks littered on the rug; looking for preschools; and ultrasound pictures on the fridge. Today is good, and I will cherish these moments - these early childhood days aren't always the easiest but today my babies are mine and not the world's just yet. And I'm selfishly going to hold onto that.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Everything is different

Three years ago, life changed forever. I felt it at that moment, and I feel it today. Happy birthday to my dear boy Jack. 

How has life changed? 
  • "A Bug's Life" is played on the DVD player much more than often than "When Harry Met Sally"
  • Jeremy and I ask for tables of 3 rather than 2 when we go out to eat
  • Sippy cups have replaced wine glasses
  • I have a natural subject for all holiday cards
  • Sick days are actually taken as...sick days
  • I sing "Somewhere over the rainbow" on a nightly basis
  • I am reminded the joy of enjoying the little things in life
  • A small hand rests in mine

Jack, you've matured so much over this past year - especially in these last few weeks. I love having conversations with you and I love watching you grow and learn and play with your friends and cousins. This year is a big year - you'll become a big brother and a bonafide preschooler.  You are beloved by many and loved by me. Jeremy, thank you for being the wonderful daddy you are and for being my best friend through these new-parent years - some of the hardest and most joyous times I've experienced.

Friday, November 5, 2010

My day in two distinct acts

My morning: Jack is with Maria, and I'm at home. The cleaning lady was here yesterday, so everything is sparkling, relatively speaking. I've made an early-morning trip to Whole Foods to stock up on my over-priced, organic goodies.  I'm getting Openlands' work done and checking my email and voicemail while barreling through four loads of laundry. The TV and radio are off; the house is silent. Ingredients for tonight's dinner and brunch tomorrow are laid out on the counter in a row. Roscoe the cat is stretched out, napping in the morning sun.

My afternoon: Jack and I are just getting back from Costco. I'm hoping my purse still contains my cell phone and wallet and I haven't dropped them anywhere. My rolling cart is overflowing with things, including a box of fresh spinach that Jack has already pre-wilted for me by stepping on several times. My Costco-sized container of grapes is agape and a few grapes are rolling out of the cart. My coat pockets are full of little letters that Maria bought at Jo-Ann's to make Jack a birthday crown.  We have two birthday balloons for Jack - and yes, I never thought this would happen to me, but they got stuck in our elevator door (me holding the strings with the balloons not quite making it in). I frantically stop the elevator one floor up and we descend to retrieve them. Luckily, none of them broke. All this while, Jack is wailing like a fire engine and I'm just remembering that my newly potty trained boy is in undies. We stagger through the afternoon - Jack playing with toys while I catch up on work email. An afternoon nap finally prevails at 3:30 p.m., and now I'm sitting here contemplating when to wake him up as I eat chocolate-covered almonds. Or maybe I'll first get that fourth load of laundry out of the dryer that has been sitting there all afternoon.

Happy Friday! (And someone, please have a glass of wine for me.)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I'm almost back

My husband likes to remind me, "publish or perish." The last two weeks have been blessedly busy - annual fundraiser for work; great friend and family times on the weekends; a very successful trick-or-treating trip; and preparations for a special someone's third birthday. More thoughtful prose to come shortly but I leave you with a few answers to questions I posed to Jack this week:

Q: Where's Daddy? (one night after work)
A: At church.

Q. What's your favorite vegetable?
A. Pickles.

Q. What's your favorite fruit?
A. Lemons.