Monday, November 30, 2009

The Tooth Fairy Makes Her First Visit to our House

Eleanor lost her first tooth yesterday. After weeks of fretting about whether it would hurt, refusing to let me look at it or touch it, and an insistence on eating only soft foods in an effort to keep the tooth intact, the little tooth fell out while Ellie was reading to her babysitter.

Ellie thought that the tooth might have wanted to get out of her mouth because she was talking so much.

We put the tooth into her special "tooth fairy pouch" embroidered with her initial. Ellie drew a picture of her building a snowman with the tooth fairy flying overhead as an additional offering. Brendan suggested that she leave some money for the tooth fairy as an inducement. Ellie thought that sounded sensible so they put a penny in a plastic baggie and added it to the growing collection under her pillow.

This morning, Brendan ran into my room and declared that the tooth fairy hadn't come. He hadn't heard anything. He woke Ellie and she checked under her pillow to discover that the penny and artwork were gone and the pouch contained $3 instead of her tooth.

Both of them were appropriately wowed and amazed. Brendan has officially begun the countdown to when he loses his first tooth -- maybe when he is four years-old, he hopes.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Look Who's Not Afraid of Santa Any More

Last Saturday, we went to an event at the Lincoln Park Whole Foods sponsored by Underwriter's Labratories. The kids had a chance to learn a little bit about holiday lights safety while decorating their own wreath.

And then Santa showed up.

When I saw him approaching, I thought, "Oh boy. This isn't good." Eleanor has never been a big fan of the ol' guy.

It isn't just that she doesn't want to sit in his lap. Last year, Brendan wanted to wait in line to talk to Santa during Zoo Lights at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Rather than wait with us, Ellie insisted that her Dad take her to an entirely separate building to avoid contact with the jolly ol' elf.

So imagine my surprise when an event coordinator asked, "Who wants to sit on Santa's lap?" and Eleanor exclaimed, "I do!" and ran right over to him.

What a difference a year makes.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Holy Hand Turkey

Ellie's handiwork (a rainbow theme, obviously).

Brendan's take on a turkey.

It has been all about the bird around our house this week.
I've devoted an entire wall in my kitchen to displaying hand turkeys and other turkey crafts.

Busy little birds, I tell you.

Friday, November 20, 2009

This is a brave and beautiful boy

It's funny when your three year-old teaches you about bravery and grace.
You are looking at one sensitive and spectacular little boy.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Holiday issue of Going Places

The holiday issue of Going Places Magazine is available now. This is a great resource for Chicago families. Who among us couldn't use some suggestions for family-friendly activities and events to weather the next few cold months with our little ones?

I have two stories in this issue. First, check out my guide to taking your kids to the Modern Wing at the Art Institute. Yes, you should absolutely take your kids to the art museum. Don't be worried that they will make too much noise or break something. This place is full of stuff for kids (and you get to sneak in a cerebral and cultural experience too).

I also have a piece about how to make perfect paper snowflakes (because you can't just take scissors to paper and hope that they are going to come out looking pretty). This is the perfect project for a chilly winter afternoon.

Pick up a copy of Going Places (or have a look online at Chicago Parent's new and improved website).

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Walk This Way

He can only go about five or six steps before he tumbles -- but still -- pretty good for a guy who is not quite ten-and-a-half months-old yet. He is usually giggling and squealing in delight at his accomplishment -- and that often causes him to lose his balance.

This is a little man on the move.

Monday, November 9, 2009

TruKid: A Review

The more I learn about all of the junk in most conventional personal care products, the more disgusted I am -- particularly when in comes to products for babies and children.

I just want to give my kids a non-toxic bath. Is that too much to ask? I shouldn't need to have chemistry and medical degrees in order to understand what these ingredients are and whether or not they are safe for my kids.

A few weeks ago, I was offered the opportunity to review TruKid products. I usually pass on these sorts of things but I have been shopping around for a brand of kid's bath products that I could feel good about. Plus, a mommy started this company and I am a sucker for that. So I figured that I would give TruKid products a try.

I am so glad I did. I have finally found bath products for my kids that do the following things: (1) get them clean (2) make them smell good and (3) don't leave them swimming in a sea of harmful endocrine disrupting chemicals. Plus, these products are affordable.*

I tried the Silly Shampoo, Cool Conditioner, Friendly Face Wash, Bubbly Body Wash, Happy Face & Body Lotion, Hero Stick and Spiffy Spearmint Natural Lip Balm.

The ingredient list is full of regular words that anyone could understand -- everything is spelled right out for you. You'll recognize items such as aloe vera, essential oils, kelp, coconut, and chamomile. TruKid products are all paraben, phthalate and SLS free (see here if you want to know more about why these substances are not so great for your kids to be splish splashing around in).

When I put these products to the test in the tub, I was very pleased with the results. My five-year-old daughter thought it was fabulous to have the chance to use conditioner and face wash in addition to the shampoo and body wash (really "grown up" she said). I liked the easy-to-use pumps and the pleasant smell of the products. And my kids were clean and ready to be tucked into their beds. Just a nice bath without any of the yucky stuff.

* I was not paid to say any of these things. TruKid just sent me some of their products and I gave them a try. Apparently, you need to be clear about these things in the mommy blogger world now.

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Giveaway from over on Wee Windy City

Have you heard about a new website called This is a great site created by a Chicago-area family that brings together information about environmental concerns (i.e. BPA, lead, etc.) and green living with the opportunity to purchase the basic items you need for kids and babies.

Over on Wee Windy City, I am hosting a giveaway, courtesy of One lucky winner will get an organic cotton tote bag and a stainless steel water bottle. All you have to do is leave a comment telling me what small change your family has made to live a more eco-conscious life. That's it. Pretty simple.

All entries must be received by midnight CST on Sunday, November 8th so go on over and enter. Thanks friends!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Get Grateful

I really enjoy the month of November. Sure, it is getting cold around these parts. But on the plus side, we're drinking lots of hot apple cider. Our garage is stacked high with wood for cozy fires. We've been snacking on pumpkin muffins and slurping squash soup.

Halloween insanity is over (thank goodness) and holiday hustle and bustle hasn't really kicked into high gear yet.

Things are good.

In the November issue of Chicago Parent, I wrote about two ways for your family to focus on the many joys and gifts in your own lives during the coming weeks.

These simple activities can be tools for talking to kids about the real point of Thanksgiving celebrations (aside from filling up on mashed potatoes and stuffing of course).

Have a look here

Monday, November 2, 2009

Mini Massages in Mindful Metropolis

Shortly after Ellie was born almost six (what!!!) years ago, I signed up for an infant massage class. I was mostly motivated by the desire to meet other Chicago moms -- and I did. But I also discovered that babies love massages -- and this type of interaction is so, so good for them (and parents too).

Ever since this introduction to infant massage, I have been known to regularly break out a jar of grapeseed oil and massage my babes (and my big kids too). All of my children love massages -- whether it is a full rub down for baby Colin or a hand massage for Ellie as we sit together on the couch watching a baseball game.

I love this topic so much that I wrote a story about it for the November issue of Mindful Metropolis. Have a look (and check out that cute baby in the photo -- not mine, but still really cute).