Merrily Merrily

I was not kidding last week when I said I had to fit many moments of yuletide cheer into one weekend in Chicago, and we did our very best to get it all done. On Saturday morning we woke up and rather than being lazy (Saturday swim lessons are over) we got ready and met some friends down at the Chicago Christkindle Market. If you are ever in Chicago while this market is open, I highly recommend it. It is 100% just like the markets in Germany I grew up going to, complete with small wooden toys and delicious food and mulled wine and hot chocolate. The only downside is on the weekend it is packed and we have already made the executive decision to reutilize our 2013 plan of taking a Friday off of work and spending it downtown going to the market and looking at the Macy’s windows, because, nope. We met our friends at 10:45, fifteen minutes before the market opened, and we waited in line for 45 minutes to see Santa.

Santa was a great idea in theory but in practice, Gracie was not a fan.

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Girlfriend ran for the hills. Oh well, there is always next year. When we asked Gracie about Santa after the fact she said she “yiked” Santa but that Santa is “scawy.” After the great Santa bust (times two, neither kid wanted to sit in the old man’s lap) we decided we were gluttons for punishment and we ditched the market crowds and instead walked to the newly opened Shake Shack where we…stood in line….again….for food. And then for a table. We ultimately prevailed, burgers for all (very tasty but not fighting crowds for it again, I’ll wait until the buzz dies down) and then we took the bus home so Gracie could nap. There was little rest for the weary though and as soon as she woke up we had a wardrobe change and went to our friend’s Christmas party, complete with another visit from Santa. Gracie warmed up to him a little bit, before he left for the North Pole she bravely ran up and touched his knee before hightailing it back to the cheese and crackers. On Monday her daycare teachers asked us if we went to a party, and when we said yes they informed us Gracie told them she had gone to a “pawty” and it had “Santa, cheese, and crackers.” Excellent summary, no?

Sunday morning I made a whole bunch of cookie dough to chill in the fridge and did boring things like grocery shopping and laundry, the things no one tells you about when you dream of adulthood. We then had a sitter come over and while Gracie colored and napped B and I went to the movie theatre for a special showing of my favorite Christmas movie, White Christmas. It was a lovely afternoon of Bing and Rosemary and totally put me in the Christmas spirit. Kudos to my husband for both finding the event and buying tickets to take me.

All in all it was a very merry weekend and now we are back to the salt mines. I did get an unusual break in my week by attending the Monday Night Football game last night (thanks to the Namby family for tickets), where my beloved Saints whooped on my not-beloved Bears. The weather was in the 40s and raining so my attire was less than runway worthy, but I stayed warm and dry:

 

A photo posted by D (@d.chicago) on

I layered warm socks, Sorels, Wunderunders, a tank top, a wool sweater, a cashmere scarf, my Barbour (made for damp, wet days but I found myself wishing I’d picked up the optional hood for it over the summer), my Saints hat, gloves, a Ziplock bag for my phone, and an extra layer of water proof foul weather gear sailing pants in case of emergency. I didn’t put the extra pants on until the 3rd quarter so I’d say I did ok. Who Dat!

Ho Ho Ho

‘Tis the season y’all. I’m busy shopping and list making and triple list making and deciding what to do about Christmas cards (post cards? New Year cards?) and slowly organizing our trip out to Utah. It feels indulgent, buying Gracie Christmas gifts plus a few airplane surprises, but the trip out there is just the two of us (B has to stay in Chicago a few more days to get some more billable hours in, lawyering, isn’t that the best) and we take off at bedtime and there is no way in h-e-double-hockey-sticks I’m coming unprepared. The iPad will be loaded and toddler headphones will be acquired, a travel Magna-Doodle is in the wings, and special new coloring markers will be at the ready in case of meltdown. And then there is Christmas and of course I just got my hot hands on one of the “Top Lists” of the year- top picture books of 2014- and I think Gracie needs all of them. Obviously.

I had to put a week long lock-down on Frozen after Gracie awoke Monday morning asking for it (Hi Mommy, Pozen?) and as soon as we got in the car after daycare (Home? Pozen?) and I told her that Frozen took a nap and went bye-bye. Maybe they will come back Saturday! In the meantime I offered up Charlie Brown, which she rejected, but now that she realizes Mommy is quite serious about no-Pozen she asked for Mr. Brown this morning. Sadly (for her) I said no, but I am going to record Frosty for her as a little Friday night treat. (Frozen will be offered on the airplane as many times as she likes, because Mama isn’t a fool)

Going to Utah presents its own little challenges regarding packing (making room for the gifts we are giving, hoping they spatially match up with the gifts that are given) but for now I’m just mailing every gift I give to may parents and crossing my fingers nothing is much bigger than what it is in my mind. We ordered the UppaBaby stroller travel bag for our umbrella stroller which appears to be back in stock after being sold out at 90% of retailers (I found it at Bloomingdales), making me worry we’d missed the window of opportunity. Fun fact: if you register your UppaBaby travel bag + stroller on their website, if it is damaged under the plane, they fix/replace it for free. Consider it an inexpensive insurance policy. The bag has arrived, and like all things Uppa, I’m impressed with the quality. Go figure.

I am also mentally trying to work out Gracie and I and our trip to the airport for our flight out, which is during rush hour, so the train makes the most sense, except B can’t come so it is me, Gracie, 2 suitcases, a stroller, a carseat, and a huge tote with the diaper bag, stroller bag, Tula inside of it. During rush hour. On a train. Haaaahahahahaha. And of course the logistics of getting us from home/daycare to the train itself, which obviously involves walking city blocks and, uh, can I hire a Sherpa?

I had a momentary freak-out that I only have one holiday-weekend left in Chicago before heading out of town, drastically reducing my spare time in which to get things done. This Saturday we plan on hitting up the Christmas market (plans were thwarted last weekend) with friends and attending a family Christmas party in the evening. Between now and then there are meatballs to make and cookies to bake (having our neighbor over for some sugar cookie decorating) and work Christmas parties to attend (two down, one to go) and of course, work. Always in the way, jobs. I also need to figure out which portions of my ski gear are here in Chicago and which are in my closet in Utah and ask myself why I have my snowshoeing boots in Chicago when all snowshoeing I do is in Utah…. and I should probably remember to bring a spare set of gloves for Gracie and also her snow suit…..

Regardless of the hustle and bustle we are enjoying our tree and Christmas jammies and listening to Gracie “ho ho ho” every time she sees Santa. Christmas with a kid is pretty great, even when they rearrange the ornaments on your tree and try to unwrap gifts that are for others.

And finally, I ask (for…a friend…) how many pairs of Christmas jammies is too many?

(amazon links are affiliate, you know the drill)

 

 

You Should Be In Pictures

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A little over a week ago we had family pictures done with Claire of Knoten Photography here in Chicago. We met Claire through Gracie’s daycare- her son attends the same one- and it has been great to make some “family friends” to have playdates with! Claire and her husband have a photography business in addition to their day jobs, and we were so happy to have them come take some photos for us. B and I are both really happy with the finished product…I now have 2 professional sets of images waiting to make it into frames for our house- hello January project. I’m behind the curve on Christmas cards (postcards? happening soon?) but for now, I wanted to share a few of these pictures.

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If you are looking for a photographer in Chicago, I highly recommend!

Zoo Lights 2014

Whew, Friday. We’ve had a great but very long week and I’m looking forward to some R&R this weekend, enjoying my Christmas tree and not making turkey and gravy. After the whirlwind that was Thanksgiving we got back to it- work, daycare, the usual. On Wednesday B had his office holiday dinner which is always a nice time. We got a babysitter, we had good conversation, caught up with colleagues and friends and had a nice night out. It is always nice to eat dinner without worrying about a toddler throwing something or getting antsy.

Last night was the Lincoln Park Zoo’s members night for zoo lights- they close the zoo to just the members, set up all sorts of activity stations and open up the carousel for free rides (among other things). We had a good time despite getting there late due to Bears game traffic. Please note that toddlers feel no obligation to work with the camera.

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We had a fun encounter with the lion, he was sleeping right next to the viewing window as we watched he suddenly woke up, looked right at us, wiped his face, rolled over, flicked his tail around and was generally really, really cool to watch. Of course Gracie tried to lean through the glass to get to his fuzzy tummy with her fingers, all while yelling “TICKLE TICKLE LION” which was pretty funny. She was not a fan of the free carousel rides though, as soon as this picture was taken she informed me “NO WANT” and I held her on the platform for the ride.

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We had a good time looking at the lights, picking out our annual ornament (Gracie tried to convince us to bring home a few different stuffed tigers, declaring “I FOUND IT! I YIKE IT! TIGER” and carrying them around, except the $1000 one that was so huge she just stood there hugging its leg) and letting her run around since the crowds were so light. ZooLights2

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This weekend we have grand plans of Gracie’s last swim lesson, seeing my Dad as he comes through town on his way to the East coast, and watching some Christmas movies. I can’t wait.

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