Saturday, March 17, 2012

Today's charms

Today is St. Patrick's Day. It was 80+ degrees in Chicago, and when I ventured out, I saw many a green-clad person dancing through the streets.

I project there will be many sunburnt hungover people tomorrow.

We probably couldn't be further away from the revelry of St. Paddy's Day celebrations, and that is certainly fine. We spent the morning hosting a play date between Jack and his school friend Charlie. Charlie is Jack's first friend he hasn't know since the crib - he is such a sweet boy from a thoughtful family. He showed up with a fistful of daffodils for Jack's mommy.

I loved having a pirate and a Superman run around, looking for monsters and laughing when I told them their pirates' treasure was called "booty." (Admit it, you smiled too.) 

I kind of love play dates, as the kids entertain themselves. With Jossie napping, I had time to try my hand at an omelet. Yes, City Sweet has not conquered omelets. And I did not do it today - letting the egg burn on the outside while the inside was still runny. I do love this book however - Cook's Illustrated is trying its hardest to give me step-by-step, scientific-based instructions to cooking perfection. 

After good-byes to Charlie, lunch, a grocery trip and an afternoon nap for Jossie, Jeremy and I took the kids up to the Openlands Lakeshore Preserve in Lake County. The capital campaign for the Preserve started two months before Jack's birth, so I like to think of both of these projects as things I've seen grown, myself maturing too. I played a small role overall in this project, but I can certainly take credit in front of my kids, right? "Mommy helped make this place," I told Jack as we strolled along the sunny lake bluff trail, with glittering views of Lake Michigan to our left. (Though I realized I may have led him too far, after Jack asked me if I made Lake Michigan.)

I proudly took in the many visitors we passed - mostly military families who reside at Fort Sheridan, cyclists and a couple getting their engagement pictures taken by a photographer.  "Mommy," Jack observed. "People like your place!"

I'll take that as a working-mama validation any day.

The sun and warm temperatures are so refreshing - it was great to play outside. I was struck by this picture however - look at those long shadows from the sun. Those are winter shadows despite our summer temperatures.

Jeremy had heard good things about Real Urban BBQ in neighboring Highland Park and is always excited to try a new BBQ joint, so we took the kids for an early dinner. The food was good - we would recommend it. They featured Carolina-style of BBQ - smoked meats and you can add your own sauces - which you ordered cafeteria-style. The kids and I love the sides, and they had an unsweetened peach iced tea that was very refreshing. People say that Jossie girl is my mini-me because of our looks but I saw the way that girl eyed her brother's mac and cheese - that is all me, baby.

They have seating outside, and I'm always quickly reminded how beautiful al fresco dining is with kids. Once you're finished, you just stand up, brush everyone off and go, go, go.

We finished our night at Homer's Ice Cream in Wilmette on our way home to the city. I like to think of it as really good birth control - the place was extremely loud, overrun by families and groups of tweens. While Jossie has had other sweets, this was her first bite of ice cream - despite her early startled reaction to its coldness, she loved it. And as I watched the tweens laughing with each other, pulling out iPhones and acting goofy, I pulled Jack's chair close to me. Grateful he's still mine, and he still wants to spend his time with Mommy.

An Irish blessing for today:

These things I warmly wish to you-
Someone to love
Some work to do
A bit o' sun
A bit o' cheer
And a guardian angel always near.

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