Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What are you looking at?

Our vacation bedrooms are connected by a bathroom. I heard Jack yell out, "Mommy" this morning, so I went into his room and climbed into the double bed with him. A few minutes later, he, clad in his new Cars 2 pajamas, scampered out of bed and sat at the window, looking at his grandparents' backyard and pool. And I stared at him.

Caring for a child allows you to see the world again through new eyes. I love watching Jack explore and see things with amazement. And while he's looking around, soaking the world in, I can't help but soak him (and now Jossie) in.

It's been a good week so far - a beautiful wedding for family friends at Wolffer Estate Winery, playing at the beach, Jack and Jossie's first ferry ride, eating donuts at Dreesen's, Jack riding a carousel, and Jossie and I perfecting our mother-and-baby summer afternoon nap on the back porch (imagine breezes rustling the trees' leaves as a little one snuggles against your chest...heaven).

We went to the beach tonight for a dinnertime picnic and some playtime in the sand. Main Beach was misty as the fog rolled in. Jack and Jeremy's mom were at the water's edge, and Jack gleefully ran to avoid the waves lapping at the shore. It was pure summer joy - no worries about work or school - just sand between your toes and salty breezes through your hair. The ocean itself so beautiful, calming and majestic; the white sands expansive and unending. And all I can see is one laughing little brown-haired boy, having the time of his life. Until tomorrow...

Sunday, June 26, 2011

I am Here

My good friend and co-worker who is busy working on plans and budgets that project two or three years out, said last week that she's glad for her almost-2-year-old daughter for keeping her in the present.

I've been thinking about that a lot and relishing being Here right now. Jeremy and I are at his parents' house right now. I'm loving just being in the moment - taking caring of my kids and having the daily noise of work and home subside in the background.

More to come - after a full day of sunshine, sleep beckons...

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A good mix

It's Sunday night, and I'm tired.

Friday brought great news for my mom's health - she had her heart checked out and there are no blockages and to quote the doctor, she'll never have a heart attack, which was joyous to hear.

On a much-lesser note, I also enjoyed having a work meeting at the Chicago Botanic Garden, one of my most favorite places on earth. I met a friend for lunch, and it was just a splendid day out.

The rest of this weekend was a mix of work and fun. Fun was had at our first visit to the Green City Market for the season.

And a pirate party at a nearby park.

We also had a playdate with good friends to round out the weekend. And Jeremy grilled steaks for us Saturday night.

Work was had organizing everyone's closets. Now that it's June, we think we can finally put away our winter clothes and bring out the summer ones. And Miss Jossie has graduated to 3-6 month clothes.

My yard work for the season consisted of me washing down our 4th floor porch table and chairs and planting my flower boxes with Jack today. One neighbor gave us three small cherry tomato plants, so we're going to give those a whirl too.

We also washed our windows, giving us a clear view of the Chicago skyline - at least, until it rains again.

For Sunday night dinner, Jeremy grilled chicken with a marinade of vegetable oil, lime juice and The Spice House's fajita seasoning.  I made my own Spanish rice (rather than from a box) - it was from one of my toddler food cookbooks, with a few of my own variations:

Spanish rice

2 t. olive oil
1 large shallot, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup carrot, chopped
1/2 cup fresh tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/8 or 1/4 t. cayenne pepper (depending on your tolerance for spice)
1 1/2 t. ground cumin
1 cup uncooked white rice
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 t. salt

Heat olive oil in large stockpot over low heat. Add shallot, carrot and tomatoes and saute until shallot is translucent, for 3 minutes. Add spices, rice, broth and salt. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until rice is tender, about 25 or so minutes. Check every 10 minutes to be sure the broth has not all been absorbed too quickly; add more liquid if needed.

And Jeremy found a winner at Costco this weekend for the perfect summer wine. If you're a member at Costco and like light summery wines, try out:

2010 Despagne Eclat de Sauvignon - it's a white bordeaux for $6.99, and it fabulous pairs with warm breezes and bright sunshine.

One last discovery - I love this new lipstick: Clinique Chubby Stick in Mega Melon. You are welcome.

Happy Sunday night - go take a bath and relax a little. And go get 'em tomorrow!