I promise we are all alive and well over at Casa de Daisy & B. Work has been busy for the both of us, throw in a monster Daycare Virus (nothing serious, but in the spirit of sharing it has felled the household) and a visit from my family, brother included, Busy is the word of the day. Which isn’t special or new or anything- everyone is busy, full stop. But! When I reach High Levels of Busy I stop doing things like blogging or jumping on Ye Old Facebook/Twitter. So! Here I am! Alive and well-ish, minus the sinus pressure.
My parents and brother came into town on Friday afternoon (parents took a daytrip on Saturday leaving the brother to hang in Chicago with us) bringing the last Christmas gift stragglers that didn’t fit into luggage in December, which means I was reunited with my cappuccino maker and Gracie was reunited with her doll high chair. Love at second sight for us both!
My cappuccino maker rounds out the Beverage Station filled with popular items of the moment. I make no apologies, I love them all. Stop by for some coffee, a latte, or a smoothie. Whatever tickles your fancy.
And Gracie feeding Piggie in the aforementioned high chair:
My parents in town for two nights with my brother meant two dinner outings. On Friday we opted for a babysitter and we all went to Petterino’s in the Loop, which we always enjoy and my brother hadn’t had a chance to try. Saturday night we drove a bit west and tried Ponce, which is described by various websites/articles as either Latin American, Caribbean, or Puerto Rican. Bottom line: awesome food in a small, nondescript establishment. You order at the counter and fight for a table and it is worth it. Everything we had was awesome, even Gracie dug into some rice (in her words “I yuv wice Mommy”) and enjoyed herself. If you don’t speak Spanish you’ll want to pull the menu up on your phone with the English translation.
Saturday morning also found us at Gracie’s first dentist appointment where they counted her teeth and showed us some brushing techniques, and her the tools and chair. She seemed cool with it all, we return this summer for a full cleaning….. and my brother was a good sport and tagged along.
Sunday we spent nursing our ailments and whipping the house into shape – the snow and temperatures mean we have constant salty slush drips near our entry ways and the dog has taken to digging into the trash to find Kleenex to artfully shred into little tissue-piles that you stumble upon at the worst time. I can neither confirm nor deny we resorted to Frozen and Olaf snuggles to make the kiddo happy on Sunday morning, but hey, we all made it to Monday in one piece.
On the first Sunday of the new year I did what I always do and figured out what we were eating for dinner for the week followed by going to the grocery store. I was excited- two vegetarian meals this week- and like half of America I had kale on my shopping list (only to make kale chips, it is foul in all other forms). We were going to have spinach and corn enchiladas so please imagine my face upon the discovery when the grocery store was out of both fresh spinach and cilantro. Two days before they were completely out of arugula (necessitating a 2nd trip to a 2nd location of the same store, also out of arugula) so my feelings about this were less than pleasant. I reversed course and bought the fixings to make chicken pot pie, only to get home, make the chicken and begin veggie chopping to realize, nope, I forgot potatoes. And chicken pot pie without potatoes is pretty much chicken soup in a crust. We ordered Chinese.
Is that how it is going to be 2015? Last minute delivery, nary a vegetarian entrée in sight? I will say the Chinese was awesome, we tried out Lao Sze Chuan for the first time and we are now sad we did not find them sooner. I opted for their famous crispy lemon shrimp, it was both lemony, crispy, and famously delicious. So maybe 2015 will be the year of new discoveries and not forgotten potatoes and absent spinach?
Regardless, I have reservations about the coming months. That and as you might have guessed, I forgot the kale.
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.
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:
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!
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.
If you are looking for a photographer in Chicago, I highly recommend!