Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Okay Fine, I'll Twitter

"You don't Twitter?"

No, I don't. Well, I didn't until last Wednesday. 

I don't really think that Twitter is my thing. It seems too micro for me.  Isn't there such a thing as too much social networking? Shouldn't we step away from our computers and go outside with our kids or something? Don't you think it is weird to use the word "follower?"  I am just not sure that this is for me.

But I joined anyway (because I have never been able to resist peer pressure). I am giving myself a three-week Twitter trial. 

Of course, now I have no one following me and I feel like a dork. So if you Twitter, I am ahenand2chicks. Follow me please (even though I can't imagine what updates I would possible post that would be of any interest to anyone).  

Monday, March 30, 2009

Whew, Thank Goodness That's Over

We are flu-free.

Looking back, I would say that there were two highlights from the mostly unpleasant bout with this stomach virus. First, Eleanor totally gets the concept of recognizing the feeling that you are going to throw up and using a bucket. This is huge -- it saves having to hop in the bath tub, wash the sheets and scrub the carpet every time a kid gets sick.

Plus, I can also highly recommend the "my kids have the stomach flu and I could not possibly think of eating anything" diet. This experience seriously curbed my appetite.

So it is a new week now -- one that is hopefully full of healthy kids and warmer weather.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Shoo Flu, Don't Bother Me

Brendan got it first. Now Ellie is sick too. David and I can't be far behind. The stomach flu has come to our house.

Comfort. Scrub. Bathe. Launder. Cuddle. Repeat.

Despite their ailments, my patients really couldn't be any sweeter. "Is it okay if I just stay in my jammies today?" Brendan asked. "My tummy isn't feeling like its usual self," Ellie declared at about nine o'clock last night -- shortly before getting really, really sick.

We are hoping that this skips little Colin who seems entirely too small to endure something like the stomach flu. Ugggh.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Meet Our New "Pets"

These little guys live in boxes under our kitchen sink and eat our produce waste. Yes, I am serious.

It is called vermicomposting and you can read more about it in my article in the April issue of Chicago Parent Magazine.

Ellie and Brendan love it and I have to confess that I find the whole process pretty fascinating myself.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Why I am Going to be at the Start Early Run

In my pre-mommy life, I worked as an Assistant State's Attorney in the Abuse and Neglect Division -- which means that I participated in cases where children were removed from their parents' care because they were being abused or neglected. Some of these kids were placed with relatives. Most of them went into foster care. Very few of them were ever successfully reunited with their parents. And in many cases, parental rights were eventually terminated.

In every case, the children involved suffered terribly.

This job was emotionally difficult in all of the ways that you think it would be. I heard and saw things that I will never forget.

The worst thing about this job was that I couldn't really do much to fix the problem -- because the abuse had already occurred and you can't undo that hurt for a child.

When I was asked to help promote the upcoming Start Early Run to raise funds to prevent child abuse and neglect, I was happy to get involved. This event takes place in Lincoln Park on April 18th and includes a 5k Walk, 10K Run, and Kid's Dash. The Start Early Run raises money for something that it easy to get behind -- keeping kids safe.

We will be there -- let me know if you are planning on coming out too. Click here to learn more and register.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

What He Doesn't Get From Me

Colin isn't going to get all of the undivided attention that my firstborn got from me during her first two years of life.

But he is going to get lots of love and attention from his big sister and big brother. And I think that what they have to offer is better than anything I could possibly give him any way.

Lucky baby boy.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Her Creativity Runneth Over

Ellie might just be the most prolific four-year-old artist in the world.

She paints. She colors with crayons. She stamps. She cuts and glues. She dabbles with colored pencils. The girl loves to create.

Most projects are elaborate and have a two minute explanation behind them (i.e. " . . and this is my friend Maggie on a hang glider with a watering can . . ."). She rarely leaves any white space on the page (more is always better according to Ellie).

Her creative overflow isn't limited to home. According to her preschool teacher, Ellie would sit all day and make bead bracelets if she were allowed to. She stuffs her take-home folder full of drawings and marble paintings and punch out hearts.

On top of all of this, I enrolled her in a weekly art class -- adding to our already large art collection.

She. makes. so. much. stuff.

And I don't know what to do with all of it.

I find it hard to throw any of her work away -- even if it is just a half-finished, crumpled picture of our family (of which there are many). I look at each thing she makes as being representative of a "phase" that we will want to look back on and remember later.

Right now, she is still in the phase where people's legs and arms come out of their heads -- no bodies (I adore this phase). She has also started adding very dramatic-looking eyelashes to her drawings of girls (makes me nervous). And most every picture includes a flock of birds because her Nana told her that the easy way to draw birds was to make a "V."

So her artwork is all over our house - in piles, hung on cabinets, strung from display lines, tacked to bulletin boards.

Her creative outpourings have led to a lot of clutter, but I know that I am not going to look back through my bins and bins of saved artwork and think, "I sure wish that I threw this away."

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Spring Forward

I wish that March meant that spring was here. It doesn't. But it does mean that it is reasonable to at least start thinking about spring.

I have spring time plans -- lots of them.

Improving My Garden. I like to stock up my seeds now so I am ready to go when the ground warms up (plus I can get pots of lettuce and radishes going in late April). Gardening with my kids is one of my very, very favorite things to do (I like it so much in fact that I wrote a story about it here). I can't wait to get out our (big and little) gardening gloves, our (big and little) watering cans, and our (big and little) shovels. I am ready for the type of therapy that only digging in the dirt can provide.

Our First Foray into Composting. I am going to explore my composting options in the hopes that I can find a method that works for our family and space (would love any tips from you experienced city-dwelling composters). And I am thinking about installing rain barrels too (would also love any tips on that).

An (Outdoor) Room of My Own.
I am fortunate to have a lovely little deck right off of my bedroom. I have dreams of sitting out there, warm cup of coffee in hand, enjoying the morning sunshine. Or maybe having glass of wine by candlelight after the kids are in bed. Doesn't that sound delightful? Wouldn't you like to come over and join me? Well, you can't because I don't have any furniture out there.

I have spent a lot of time thinking about how I want to use this space, but I haven't been able to bring myself to actually commit to anything. Wicker? Teak? Day bed? Chaise?

This year is my year. I am going to buy some sort of chairs and sit out there on them.

More Yoga for Mama. In an effort to shed my post-partum bum, I have resumed yoga classes (the challenging kind, not the relaxing, more-like-just-stretching pre-natal kind). I have been taking classes at a new studio called Vessel -- good, fun classes. I forgot how great it feels to stand on your head for a few minutes every day.

So far, I have only been able to swing one class a week. It isn't enough. I am going to be greedy and try to get to a class three times a week. It is never going to happen, but I am going to give it a go.

Alright fellow winter-survivors . . . what are you most looking forward to this spring?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Friday, March 13, 2009

Me on NBC

If you are awake around 6:15 tomorrow morning, tune into the NBC5 Saturday Morning News. I am going to be on with "Tips on How To Talk to Your Kids About the Economy and Job Loss."

You can get a sneak peek here.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Want to Win a Great Book for Your Little One?

I am giving away a really cute children's book over at Being Savvy: Chicago. Have you ever heard of Alphaboat by Michael Chesworth? It is a great story (with beautiful illustrations) that kids and adults will love. This would be a great item to put in the Easter basket.

Click here to enter to win a copy.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Thoughts on Colin at Two Months

My newborn who did nothing but eat and sleep all day is morphing into a busy little guy. He still eats and sleeps a lot, but he has added a few new tricks to his repertoire.

He Talks. Colin has a lot on his mind. Mostly he says "ah goo." But sometimes he mixes it up and says, "coo coo." He uses his voice to get my attention -- which is good because he has some stiff competition from his brother and sister when it comes to commandeering attention.

He Grows . . . and Grows . . . and Grows. My kids begin their lives near the top of the growth charts and quickly move into that ">95 percentile" category. Colin was 9 lbs. 1 oz. at birth (my smallest actually) and he grew out of his 0-3 months clothes at six weeks. At nearly ten weeks of age, his 3-6 month stuff is starting to look snug. We have a check up on Thursday for an official weigh in but I am guessing that he is hovering around 13 and a half pounds or so.

He Smiles. He has a few different versions. Sometimes he does a subtle curl of the lip, as if to say, 'Oh, hey there Mom." But more often Colin flashes an exuberant, gummy grin that screams, "LIFE IS GOOD!"

Don't you wish that your smile was as big and sincere as this? I sure do.