Sunday, December 19, 2010

The best gift I ever gave

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love giving gifts - I'm terrible at keeping secrets, so if I've actually kept a secret about a gift, I'm about bursting with joy when people open something from me.

The best gift I ever gave....well, in late February 2007, I was in a very grumpy mood. I had my suspicions, so that Wednesday, I took a test and, lo and behold, saw two lines. Rather than blab our news to Jeremy right away, I kept it to myself, and that was difficult. Really difficult. Thursday morning at work, I went online and found the perfect gift for Jeremy and had it overnighted.

It arrived, and I wrapped it. I left work early that Friday to go home, where I eagerly awaited Jeremy's arrival. I waited and waited. It turns out he had to work late, which rarely happens on a Friday. I puttered around the house; even bought some Cubs tickets for the upcoming season; and paced. Finally - at last - he entered the front door - with two of our good friends in tow. I really hope they didn't see my face fall. I wasn't about to share my news with the world yet, so cheerfully agreed to dinner out, stashing the present under our bed.

No one thought twice of me not ordering a beer with our BBQ. Once we had dropped our friends at home and were home ourselves later than evening, I set the present out on the bed. Jeremy came by, starting to get ready for bed. "What's this?" he asked as he unbuttoned his work shirt.

"A present," I replied.

He opened it and pulled out an infant-sized Jets jersey (his favorite team). "Who's this for?" he asked quietly. 

"Not the cat," I said.

There was pure joy on his face as he realized what I was telling him - we were going to have a baby. 

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Taking life at my speed

We had Jeremy's holiday party at Hub 51 Thursday evening - great party, wonderfully warm people and yummy food and drink (I admit - I looked longingly as the girls sipped their sparkling wine while I held my tonic water with a slice of lime and watched trays of sushi pass me by). To get to the party, we had to go through the bustling bar area full of extremely stylish, single thirty- and forty-somethings - my current life is so, so, so far away from this world, I thought as I made my way through.

Tonight was definitely more my speed - we took Jack to see the ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo. My three-year-old is totally, utterly and completely in love with the holidays. He gets a magical glow when he sees Santa Claus, and we're definitely true believers. He loved the twinkling Christmas lights and pointed them out to Jeremy and me excitedly. We took a whirl on the carousel - why not? Jeremy asked me if I wanted to ride one of the animals, and I said absolutely not. If you're six and half months pregnant, and want to throw your leg up and over one of those carousel animals, be my guest. I opted to stand beside Jack to help him hold on.

As the carousel began to turn, and Jack's smile got even bigger, I couldn't help but take a snapshot of this moment in my head. We twirled as the lights twinkled through the zoo on this crisp December night. My gloved hands covered Jack's mittened ones, and he laughed and laughed.

We have a lot of change coming in the new year. I have no doubt that our little girl is going to add more richness and love to our lives. But for now, I worry a bit that I'm not going to have enough emotional resources for both. We'll get there, I'm sure. And the one thing I've learned with parenting - you don't know until you know (include that in the book of wise Jennifer adages...).

We finished off our night with dinner at RJ Grunts - the perfect place for kids but make sure you have a reservation before you go (even though it's extremely casual, it fills up ridiculously fast). It's loud, chaotic and features good, cheap eats, including a nice salad bar. We were riding the "hey-it's-the-holidays" high, so we said sure to dessert - a half chocolate chip cookie (which was quite sizable), three scoops of ice cream and chocolate sauce for $3.50. With three spoons of course.

Friday, December 17, 2010


So our home laptop crashed tonight. And when I say "crashed," I mean that literally. I foolishly left it on the arm of the couch, and a second of later, it was on the floor with a little boy standing next to it.

I had taken a bunch of pictures from breakfast with Santa at the Chicago Botanic Garden last weekend but had not had a chance to upload them to the Internet. I had uploaded this one to Facebook, and it's the only one I might have from our weekend:

Monday, December 13, 2010


I learned the term "mash-up" from my sister this weekend, a Glee fan, which basically is two songs blended together. As I was shoving Christmas cards in the mailbox at work this early afternoon before heading off to a funder meeting, I thought this was a good description of a mama's life: a total and complete mash-up - especially at this point in the year.

It's standing in line in the grocery store, mentally going through your holiday gift list in your head. It's thinking about work issues while lying on your toddler's big boy bed and he's asking you if his new sister is going to come out your belly button. It's sitting in a meeting at work while said new sister kicks routinely at your ribs.  It's wiping crumbs off of the floor at 10 p.m. after making Christmas cookies and attending a volunteer meeting in the same evening.

We all have it - it's not just me. It's a lot but I feel blessed all the same. I just wish for you and for me that all of this plays out in harmony!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Adventures in parenting

My sister Dayna is sick of seeing my November 30 post, so here are some small snippets to tide her over as I try to get through this insane week:

  • Me, asking Jeremy out of the side of my mouth if I look pregnant, as I take a nip of his sparking wine sample Saturday at Whole Foods and try to hold in my 6-month pregnant belly.
  • Jeremy running Jack, who was clutching his toy airplane, to the potty last night before an accident ensued.
  • Me saying, "I love you Jack," and him whispering in reply, "I love you, Daddy and Roscoe."