Stuff Tetris & More

I think, for me, one of the hardest parts of being a Mom and wife is the realization that I’m in charge. I know that sounds silly (or obvious) but take for example our upcoming vacation.

Not-married-Mom-Daisy: Vacation! Vacation! Vaaacaaaation! Pack my stuff, lets go! Meet up with other vacation-ers, all of whom have a hand in organizational matters.

Married-Mom-Daisy: Vacation! Yay….oh. Hm. Consult with spouse. Make lists. Make more lists. Lists for clothes for all peoples, lists for baby supplies, lists for “going to the beach” supplies, lists for “having a few breakfasts/dinners at the beach house” supplies, lists for “being out and about” all day, lists for “long car ride to destination entertainment and snackage”, lists, lists, lists.  Coordinate dog/house sitter, coordinate dog medication, coordinate dog food, coordinate emergency contacts, coordinate the bag filled entirely with chargers that are now the downfall of our digital world, coordinate back ups at work, coordinate ensuring you get as little work email as possible while on vacation, stare at all your lists. EXECUTE your lists, oy vey. Pack car, which requires doctoral degree in Stuff Tetris. DRIVE MANY HOURS IN WHICH YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO ASK “ARE WE THERE YET” BECAUSE YOU ARE THE ONE DRIVING.

You see my point?

This is not a vacation-complaining post. I would never do such a thing. This idea can be applied to the more mundane things in life. Example:

Not-married-Mom-Daisy: Food. Ok, ugh, lets walk to grocery store. Walk up and down aisles. Eggs, yogurt, chicken, peanut butter, some fruit and veggies. Done.

Married-Mom-Daisy: Food. Ok. Lets get out the cookbooks and the menus and the week’s calendar. Lets see, we need dinner for four nights. What shall we eat? Make list of menus. Make list of groceries. Pack diaper bag. Dress child. Feed now-hungry child. Realize you are still in your pajamas. Make yourself presentable. Drive to grocery. Acquire car-cart. Buy all groceries. Do not forget the three things you forgot to put on your list. Drive home, carry all inside, unpack, the prep what needs prepping. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

My point? Sometimes being in charge is exhausting.  Even when sometimes being charge means you make the executive decision of take out and a movie. Because sometimes being in charge means you get to your vacation destination and realize you forgot all your underwear. Again.

Just the Girls

As I begin many a Monday morning post in the summer, B was out of town this weekend sailing. He sails lots of smaller Chicago area events over the course of the year, but July brings the big guns- the two races to Mackinac and a regatta in Harbor Springs, Michigan. As for the Mackinac races, one starts in Chicago, one starts in Port Huron and they both end up at the island. The Chicago one is the “oldest annual freshwater distance race” (I know you thought it must be The Other Race You Were Just Reading About). The one from Port Huron is one of the longest freshwater races in the world. Both are very storied in tradition and they are run back to back weekends, with the cities switching which one goes first and which one goes second every year.

This is my way of telling you this out of town weekend is old news for me. ‘Been doing it since dinosaur times. Most years the races are marked by all sorts of things going terribly wrong while B is gone, but this one was pretty good. And, bonus, my favorite part of the race is all the boats have transponders so you get to track them like a real creepy creeper in love wife. Anyway. Gracie and I kicked off the weekend Friday with daycare pickup + dinner out. I found a restaurant that is convienently on the way home from daycare and is run by the same people as another restaurant I like and- here is the key information- kids eat free between 4:00 and 6:00 (Crosby’s Kitchen on Southport). Sold. I had a fancy salad and ice water, Gracie had chicken tenders and french fries (what? It is Friday!) and I paid 17 bones for the experience, including a nice tip. WORTH IT. Gracie had a good time coloring & eating but was dismayed when she accidentally (how? I do not know) dropped a ketchupy french fry down the back of her dress.

Saturday morning we got up and rather than the usual zoo-farmer’s market process we hung around, played, sent “good luck” photos to B in which the two of us were actually smiling and then knocked out the Costco run and grocery shopping. It was pouring cats and dogs and I harbored a (false) illusion that the deluge would mean thet traffic on Lake Shore Drive would be better (big food festival in Grant Park). I was wrong, womp womp. Regardless we hit up sample Saturday at “the club”, grabbed all of our groceries and made it home for naps and more rain. In the evening hours we went over to grill out with some friends, and had an awesome evening of kids playing and steak eating. Adult time is always nice but particularly when you’ve been solo parenting, no matter how short of a time. We had a break in weather for a little while and let the kids run around barefoot outside (summer!) and sat on the porch. More bad weather moved in so we put G to sleep in a pack n play and the adults waited for a lull in the storm with more adult conversation not interrupted by wee ones. Oh and I brought a key lime pie, which was made possible by this divine elixir:


Get yourself some and make the recipe on the back.

Sunday morning G and I met my two best girlfrinds from law school for brunch, where Gracie got her coloring on (again! she is a machine!) and politely helped me eat all of my chicken and biscuit (Carriage House in Wicker Park, SO GOOD)  before we came home for playing, naps and a round of splashing in the neighbor’s wading pool. It turns out neither my dog nor my baby care much for wading pools. FINE. WHATEVER. I’M GLAD WE PUT SUNSCREEN ON FOR THAT FIVE MINUTE ENDEAVOR.

Anyway, thats about all she wrote, for the most part, not really, look, more words. I impressed myself Sunday by making Gracie and I a real dinner on the grill with a side of her new favorite, Annie’s mac & cheese and we read a lot of stories and played with all of the toys, including more than one joyful round of dumping all of the blocks out of the bag and spreading them around the living room. I did laundry but didn’t fold it (my usual nemisis) and we generally enjoyed ourselves despite the weather. Exccept the beagle, who protested the weather by spending much of the weekend under my side of the bed, coming out for walks and food.

Now we look forward to B coming home before the next round of sailing (with family vacation plans in the very near future, woohoo). Oh and at some point this week a blast of artic air that should drop our overnight temps into the 40′s and 50′s. GOOD TIMES.

Toddler Reading As of Late

B and I are both big readers (we have…4 full sized bookshelves plus Gracie’s in our home, and boxes more books in the basement…) and when I was pregnant we hoped our child loved books as much as we do. We read to Gracie from day one (although in the early foggy days, I remember having a panic attack THAT I HADN’T READ TO HER IN A FEW DAYS, TERRIBLE MOM, SHE WON’T DEVELOP PROPERLY….) and now, at 17 months, she loves books something fierce. She can easily entertain herself for up to 20 to 25 minutes “reading” her books. She has a group of select favorites she often brings to us to read outloud (Doggies, Dear Zoo, Baby Beep Beep, Is Your Mama a Llama, Sheep Share) and I’m always working on growing her collection. (Heads up, Amazon links are affiliate)

Right now she has a huge plethora of board books, so I’m trying to buy some longer stories in anticipation of growing into the books a little bit more. Some recent additions:

One by Kathryn Otoshi


My friend Meghan recommended this book to me and I love it. The actual storyline is a little over Gracie’s head right now, but she likes colors and numbers so she sits and listens. This book, with colors and numbers as the characters, is about bullying and the power of a group sticking up for someone. I know it sounds deep, but honestly, it is just a great story about feelings and being nice to others, sticking up when you see bad behavior and treating everyone with kindness. It doesn’t hurt that it is really well written. A must for any kid in today’s “modern” word where bullying might be an issue. She has a few more books that I’m ordering soon with equally good messages about acceptance, individuality and being nice.

Flora & the Flamingo by Molly Idle


This book doesn’t have any words, and although being a more grown up “hardback” it is a lift-the-flap book, so we keep this up high and get it down for parent-Gracie reading time (since it is printed on “regular” paper rather than sturdy board). It is a really neat story of a Flora, wearing a bathing costume and flippers, and the flamingo doing a little ballet. The story is easy enough to follow along – very sweet- and the pictures are gorgeous. Recommend if you have a kiddo that loves pink, ballet, or lift-the-flap books.

Steam Train, Dream Train by Sherri Duskey Rinker


Confession: we don’t actually own this book. But I keep giving it to people for baby gifts or first birthday presents and I’m baffled as to why I haven’t also bought a copy for us yet. Happening soon! A really neat going to bed book about a train filled with animals (a tiny bit reminiscent of the train in Dumbo without circus cruelty or what not) with fantastic pictures. Gracie is really into animals and animal sounds so I think this would be a hit. I don’t think any parent can have enough books encourgaing wee ones to go to bed either.

In non-Gracie books, last year I bought my superhero obsessed nephew a Superman book aimed at the youngest superhero loving crowd. I’ve been told he wants to read it every night before bed. It gives the basic overview of the origins and story of Superman with really great illustrations. (The author has a few other books about other superheroes too). So if you have a superhero crazy kid who isn’t quite ready for the real-deal, I highly recommend Superman: The Story of the Man of Steel.


Speaking of books and gifts, growing up my Mom had a basket of Christmas books she pulled out every December. My brother and I loved reading them (Polar Express was the front runner for most years) and I would love to have the same basket for Gracie and our family. That said, if you buy all the books you want for just December in one fell swoop, you are talking about big bucks. I’ve been trying to order a book every month or so, so come December I’ll have a nice little pile to wrap up and make part of our advent calendar. In future years the books will just go in the Christmas book pile (and I don’t have to buy all the books this year) – I’m not crafy enough to re-wrap every year for a Christmas countdown ala Pinterest- but I am happy I’m collecting them for years to come. Last year we grabbed a board book version of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and Olivia Helps with Christmas. Last month I ordered The Christmas Wish. The pictures in it are truly gorgeous. I’ve really enjoyed this guide to helping me find some good Christmas stories. Next up I’m ordering Polar Express & Room for a Little One.

Little One

I know Christmas planning this far in advance is a little….Type A….but it is nice to have at least something checked off the list come December. Besides, throwing in a book (Christmas or otherwise) with my Amazon orders has a two fold effect: sometimes I see the price of it all together and go “eh, I don’t really need any of this” thus saving me money, and when I do throw it into the package I have a little bit of knowledge delivered to our door. I recently read the terrible statistic that less than half of America’s children under the age of 5 are read to on a daily basis and I’m determined to make sure books are a huge part of our life. No better way to foster creativity and imagination!


Right of Way

Yesterday I rolled down my window to yell at a pedestrian who made a rude gesture towards me after I almost hit her while she jaywalked in front of me.* Normally I just get on with myself, but seriously? SERIOUSLY? I was pulling out of a parking garage where you are forced to turn right or left (you can’t go straight) and as I pulled out, turning, she stepped in front me. I swerved, she stepped back up on the curb and rolled her eyes and gestured rudely towards me. As I rolled down the window she yelled “Oh so you are going to yell at me now?”

“THERE IS A CROSSWALK ON THE CORNER FOR A REASON” is pretty much all I managed to get out, along with something about having a right of way.

If a pedestrian is in a crosswalk, even when I havea  green light, I wait. It is the law, and they have the right of way. But I am sick of people just walking into active roadways and expecting cars, sometimes traveling at a high rate of speed ,to just stop. That isn’t how the world works. Go use a crosswalk, I’ll stop for you every time. You know why there isn’t a crosswalk right where that lady decided to cross the street? Because there is A PARKING GARAGE OF EXITING CARS RIGHT THERE.

Oh and bicycles, I always treat you like a car and am respectful of your space and I check my mirrors before exiting so I don’t door you, but how about you live up to your end of the deal and follow the rules of the road? This means stopping at stop signs and red lights. You don’t get to complain about drivers not treating you like a car (which they are obliged to do) if you don’t follow the same principles of stop/go/right of way.

* I do not condone yelling at strangers.

* * *

Gracie loves the car carts at our local grocery store, and since they keep her happy and occupied (wheel spinning, beep-beeping) I oblige. The problem being the car carts are really hard to steer and wider at the base than a typical grocery cart which means I clip a lot of corners. I’m slowly getting better, but damn if I’m not apologizing for half of my trip. The car carts are also quite heavy so stopping when someone exits an aisle and there is a traffic jam isn’t always feasible. But who has the right of way in the grocery store? The people coming out of the aisles, or the people cruising the main, perpindicular thoroughfares? I always wonder. And try to halt as necessary to prevent cart crashing. And a side note: I love when we pass other kids in car carts and the kids do some sort of secrete handshake headnod thing, like “YEAAAHHHH CAR CART RIDING”. Oh to be a kid again.

(I have a really cute photo of Gracie in the car cart, but I can’t seem to locate it. Blog fail.)

Thus concludes my deep thoughts. As you were.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Affiliate Link

Daisy, Just Daisy © 2013. All Rights Reserved.