Monday, December 29, 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Our house is full of sickness. Ellie has a cough that won't quit, plus a fever and a runny nose. Brendan is starting to exhibit cold symptoms as well. I have a sore throat and body aches.
We traded the past few days of sub-zero temperatures for blizzard-like conditions, with more snow expected tomorrow.
We are also expecting an ice storm that is going to coincide nicely with my scheduled induction on December 27th.
Delightful. Definitely not going to have any more babies in the dead of winter in Chicago.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
So all is right with the blog. Now labor can begin. Baby boy, are you listening?
P.S. If anyone is looking for a help with a new header, email me and I will put you in touch with Eliza. She is great.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Now, back to the couch to knit and wait for my baby to find his way out.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
So I am knitting and waiting.
Please see the comment section to leave me advice on how to ripen one's cervix or any other labor-inducing tactics you have found helpful. Thank you kindly.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
Friday, December 5, 2008
Anyway, I am over at Chicago Moms Blog today giving a long overdue thanks to my body for its cooperation in growing, nursing and caring for all of my babes.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Are you hugging your little turkeys close today and feeling thankful for all that you have in your life? So am I.But I am also thinking about the families who aren't quite so lucky. Graco has a new program called Ready For The Road Ahead that focuses on car seat safety (a topic that I think can be baffling and overwhelming to first time and experienced parents alike). It is a great resource for navigating the sometimes confusing world of car seats.
But that's not the reason I telling you about it. If you go check out the website, you can help a family in need by simply registering for their Ready. Safe. Go! Car Seat Club. For every ten people who sign up, Graco is going to donate a brand new car seat to a family who needs it.So basically, all you need to do is take three minutes to sign up and know that you are helping another family in need and then you can go back to sneaking extra bites of stuffing and hugging your little ones. So simple.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
I have free passes (a $15 value) to give away to Day Frog, the new indoor play space in the Streeterville neighborhood. Head on over to Being Savvy: Chicago and learn more. Or just email me a firstname.lastname@example.org to win one. Enter by midnight on November 30th and I will notify the winners on Monday, December 1st.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
And I am happy to report that, despite some reservations I had about how the kids would react, the show pretty much delivered family fun.
After surveying my group, the highlights definitely included the animal acts -- the elephants, dogs, ponies, horses, and one stray porcupine. Ellie loved the aerialists who hung from their hair and has declared her aspirations to do that when she gets bigger (great). And -- no surprise here -- the little boys loved the seven motorcycles driving around in a cage at the same time. I, myself, thought I might go into labor during that part because I was so afraid that something bad was going to happen and be etched in the kids' memories until the end of time.
Other parts of the show were not so inspired. Some of the clown schtick was painfully bad. Even my two-year-old had the presence of mind to declare, "I don't like this" during a scene about a cell phone with a planted audience member. We also didn't think much of the "clumsy" aerialist who ends up losing her costume and swinging around in her underwear -- didn't really seem like "family fun" to me.
My other least favorite part of the circus was the constant barrage of crap they were trying to sell you. As soon as one guy finished trying to convince you that each kid needed a $9 lemonade in special souvenir cup, another vendor came by with the replica plastic motorcycles. Enough already.
All in all, the kiddos had fun -- which is why we went. I definitely recommend arriving early so you can take advantage of the "pre-show" where you can walk out on the floor and check out the costumes, motorcycles, and see an elephant make a watercolor painting.
The Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus is at the United Center until November 30th and tickets are still available.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
If you haven't checked it out yet, you should take a peek. And hey, while you are there, go ahead and leave a comment on one of the recent posts (a nice one, please). Or maybe send me an email at email@example.com to tell me about some great local activities that your kids love.
Now I know that Savvy Source has instituted this somewhat complicated sign-in process where you need to give your grandma's maiden name and the pin to your 401(k) account in order to comment (this was not my idea). But once you have an account set up, you just need to put your password in next time you come back.
So go on over there and have a look. Thanks.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Of course, I started crying.
Friday, November 14, 2008
During the last three years when his entire body was basically falling apart, he managed to complete a book about Buffalo, New York -- his beloved hometown. Much of it was written on legal pads from his hospital bed in various stages of consciousness (and some stages of significant confusion).
The fact that he was able to call upon his brain to write poetry in the midst of all of his major organ systems failing him is a feat that I still can't quite comprehend. I certainly think that it is no coincidence that he died within days of submitting his final manuscript (and watching my sister walk down the aisle).
Last Tuesday, I traveled (gigantic baby belly and all) to Buffalo for a sort of "book release" party to celebrate my Dad and his one last project. If you love Buffalo (or know someone who does), this book will inspire many fond memories.
Anyway, the book is available now. It is called Buffalo Visions and Voices. And it is one last accomplishment to marvel at.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
If you have any holiday baking planned with your little kitchen helpers in the next few weeks, I have an opportunity for you.
Check out this post on Being Savvy: Chicago and enter to win a personalized children's holiday apron. The winner gets to choose from three different styles and your apron will be ready in plenty of time for the holidays.
Go ahead and click over right now. Hurry. The giveaway ends tomorrow.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Pregnant or not, you should think about taking a class -- there is a nap at the end.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
I always have an absurd amount of squash from my CSA box and squash soup always sounds like a good idea on a cold fall day.
But it always disappoints (you should see my husband's face when he sees is simmering on the stove).
A few weeks ago, we had the most delicious pumpkin soup with chorizo and sherry at Lula Cafe. Amazing. The flavor. The texture. So good.
I think that I loosely follow Ina Garten's take on butternut squash soup. But the flavor always ends up being flat -- too squashy. And I can never achieve a smooth, thin consistency so it looks a little bit too much like the pureed squash I feed my babies.
So I thought that I would ask you. Anybody have an amazing squash/pumpkin soup recipe for me?
Monday, November 10, 2008
I figured that a picture of my sweet girl wearing her much-loved baby is a lot more interesting that a picture of me with one of my babes in a carrier.
Isn't she just the cutest little mama?
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Between my barely tolerable lower back pain, periodic Braxton-Hicks contractions, middle of the night leg cramps, heart burn and general digestive distress, I am not the world's most pleasant person.
When someone says, "How are you feeling?" I either just say "great!" to spare them the unwanted ranting and raving or the floodgates open and I feel compelled to detail every ache and pain.
Just looking forward now to some swelling in my hands, the inevitable onset of cankle, and gaining somewhere between six and nine more pounds before I deliver.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
With your disappearing 401k, the upcoming holidays and the rising price of . . . everything, family budgets are getting tighter and tighter. But that doesn't mean that you have to skip out on great family activities. Chicago is full of great free stuff to do with kids . . . you just have to know where to find it.
Check out my guest post on We Just Got Back (a travel site for families) about fabulous free family activities in Chicago.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
But Ellie likes it. And so do I.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Ellie brought her sketch book and colored pencils and did some drawings. After awhile, she got up and asked me, "Will you push me on the swing for as long as I want? Not just for a minute but until I have had all of the swinging that I want." I almost started crying.
And since then I can't stop wondering how her life would be different if she were my only child.
She makes a good point. When she asks to be pushed on a swing, I oblige her for a moment -- but then inevitably have to run off because Brendan is waiting to be pushed in a swing or he has gotten himself into some precarious situation that requires adult intervention.
And if she thinks that she has to wait for a decent push now, wait until the spring when I have a new babe in a sling and Brendan is still getting himself is precarious situations that require my constant attention.
How is a girl supposed to get a decent push from a distracted Mama like me?
As much as I like to think that she is better off having her brothers in her life, I also must admit that as a consequence, she gets less and less of me. The mornings when I can take her to the park and give her 100 percent of my attention are few and far between. And I think that there is something a little bit sad about that.
Monday, November 3, 2008
Saturday, November 1, 2008
As much as I wanted Eleanor to participate in the voting process with me, I just didn't think she had it in her to stand in line with me for over an hour (this was such the right decision).
When I arrived, the wait was nearly two hours.
The man organizing the line took one look at me and apparently decided that he didn't want to risk having me birth my baby right there in the hallway.
Next thing I knew, I was standing in a considerably shorter line behind three elderly ladies with walkers (I am not kidding). The four of us got to go right to the front of the line and I was out of there in no time.
And I just looked straight ahead on the way out so as not to catch the hundreds of dirty looks that the people in line were shooting my way.
So it turns out that it really pays to be an enormous pregnant lady sometimes (it is almost worth hardly being able to tie my own shoes).
Friday, October 31, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Check out my new craft story in the November issue of Chicago Parent for ideas on how to incorporate leaves into your child's creative play.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
I was not familiar with the Skinny Bitches and their work prior to being contacted about this book. I was expecting something along the lines of Hot Mama -- you know, kitchsy tips on how to look good while you are pregnant. And frankly, the book seems to be to be marketed to give you the impression that's what you will be getting. I mean, look at the cover - it says, "A Gutsy Guide to Becoming One Hot and Healthy Mother!"
Simply put, Skinny Bitch: Bun in the Oven is about why you should become a vegan -- pregnant or not. Now, I am not saying that this book doesn't have lots of helpful information in it. The Skinny Bitches offer lots of really disturbing (but factual) information about the food industry in the United States.
Do I completely agree with them that the FDA, USDA, and entire government are not to be trusted when it comes to keeping our food and personal care products safe? Yes. Are the conditions under which most animals are raised and slaughtered abhorrent? Absolutely. They raise some excellent points about why you need to be your own advocate when it comes to the types of food you are feeding yourself and your family.
Still, I found myself feeling resentful over the fact that the authors were basically telling me that if I didn't follow a strictly vegan diet, I was not living a healthy lifestyle and doing a disservice to my baby. I just don't buy that message, ladies. And once I read the chapter "What the Hell to Eat" about meal planning and foods that were "acceptable" (basically soy products, hemp sprouted bread, and something called "unsteak"), I actually felt better about my choice to include dairy and low-fat proteins in my own diet. But I do see how one could grow quite skinny on their recommended diet (because I would probably pass on the veggie salami too).
Towards the end of the book, the focus shifts from nutrition to a lot of scattered advice on everything from why you should breastfeed to the dangers of disposable diapers to possible signs of postpartum depression and the benefits of an organic mattress.
My other gripe is that apparently one of the skinny bitches has never been pregnant. I mean, come on. Some uber-healthy, refined sugar-rejecting girl who lives in Los Angeles wants to tell me how to face down a mid-afternoon pregnancy sugar craving when she hasn't ever been pregnant? I don't mean to be a jerk about it, but I feel like there is a major credibility issue here.
So if you are thinking about becoming a vegan, you should buy this book. If you are just a regular pregnant girl looking for a cute read to make you feel better about your ballooning bum, keep looking.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
By late September, I got my act together and bought an apple picker to reach the good, ripe apples up high in the tree. Boy, oh boy, did we have apples. We made apple crisp and apple sauce. We gave bags of apples away to our family and friends.
Last spring, I just assumed that we were in for the same apple bonanza. I waited to see blooms on the tree. And I waited. And then I called an arborist to come out and prune the tree and he told me that some varieties only bloom every other year. What! No apples?
Turns out he was right -- well, almost. I walked out into the yard yesterday to find one, red, perfect apple had fallen from our tree. Just one. I looked up and I don't see any others.
It is as if the tree put all of its efforts into making one, perfect apple. I can't quite bring myself to cut it open and eat it.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
The Holiday issue of Going Places Magazine is out. I have two pieces in this issue: Getting Away Without Going Away and Teaching Gratitude. Have a look (and also check out the really comprehensive calendar of family activities in the Chicago-area this holiday season).
On a totally unrelated note, we just got back from a perfect fall getaway and I want to tell you all about it, but I need to get my pictures organized first. Be back tomorrow.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
And each year, we can't stay away so we end up standing in absurdly long lines waiting to feed goats (yuck), jump in inflatable houses, and decorate the smallest pumpkins ever. As usual, we decided to skip the longest line ever for pony rides. And Eleanor got bit by a piglet in the petting zoo, causing her to declare, "I am never feeding a pig again." But other than that, a good time was had by all.