Chicago

Water Weekend

On Mondays I often begin writing a post discussing our weekend shenanigans before second guessing myself, thinking “nobody wants to read about *someone else’s* weekend” and then I go around and around wondering if I should even type out the itinerary, ever-dutiful.

And then I remember, I blog for me, and so, yeah I’d like to remember how I spent my days, as unexciting to others as they might be.

So! The weekend! Saturday had the makings of total craziness when you glanced at the shared Google calendar…but then a few things shook out differently than anticipated and it ended up quite nicely. Notably we cancelled our plans to drive to Ann Arbor for the Michigan game (ugh…thank goodness, what a terrible game) because it was Gracie’s first swim lesson and there were 30 people on the wait list, so I was convinced if we didn’t show up, we’d lose our slot. I have no idea if this is/was true or not, but we went and it was a good time. That said class is an hour long which showed itself on the 10 minute drive home when Gracie conked out 2 hours before nap time, sobbed into her lunch and was eventually put in her crib without eating where she fell into a really, really deep sleep. Poor pie. Once she was up we went over to visit with our old nanny share family- the kiddos ran around, the adults watched the aforementioned terrible football game and we caught up on life happenings over some hot corn dip and cheese and fruit.

Sunday we decided to take advantage of some aquarium passes we had been given and we took Gracie to check out where the fish live. She had a great time, but it did highlight the fact that children do not have the attention span of adults, and are often easily entertained by the basics, such as stroller buckles and pushing the stroller, rather than, say, A SHARK TANK.

Also the shark tank is the place to ditch one’s hair bow.

We had a really good time despite the fast pace through the exhibits, and Gracie debuted a new skill of backwards walking on the trip, something she was bound and determined to master with pizzazz before we headed back to the car. This would have been a lot more fun of she had eyes in the back of her head, but since she doesn’t we spent some time steering her around obstacles and trying to convince her that forward walking was the way to go.

It was all in all, a really nice weekend. Despite more mediocre football outcomes (come *on* Tulane and Michigan….) I’d repeat if given the chance. The week ahead looks busy and I’m already looking forward to next Friday.

Moms, Pops, and Tots

Last night we had our first ever Moms, Pops, and Tots gymnastics class. It is a class put on by the Chicago Park District so for a very, very, very low price we have a Wednesday night activity between now and December. I thought this would be a good way for Gracie to get to stretch her legs, particularly as the cooler weather settles in. I was right: leg stretching abounds. However, as I noted on social media last night: toddler gymnastics is akin to teaching rabid cats to swim. In sycnhronized fashion. At least one toddler is running away from the class at all time (and at least 90 percent of the time, it is my toddler) because a huge expansive gym is sort of mind blowing.

The class started off on the wrong foot. I pulled into the field house parking lot only to discover you don’t have to pay for parking until 6 pm….but class starts at 5:45, ends at 6:15 and no, you can’t buy your paid parking slip early. Poor planning park district! (In my view…don’t schedule parent involved classes that start before and run over the 6:00 hour, or give all the people in that class a parking plackard so they don’t get ticketed). Sigh. But after figuring that out (apparently all the parents just slip out a side door to buy 15 minutes of parking….) we settled in for some stretches. Gracie was not impressed with stretching, it was boring and the teacher told them to reach up high “like they were picking apples” so she thought it was snack time. Sorry to disappoint my little bebe, back to the calisthenics! No apples for you.

After stretching the kids went around to different stations to work on different skills. Given their age the skills involve bear crawling, crab walkings, log rolling and frog hopping. Do you know what this means in parent involved classes? I was busy bear crawling, crab walking, log rolling and frog hopping. Gracie humored me and played along (not the crab walk she stared at me like I was crazy) and was quite adorable at the log roll. Particularly because her log roll looked a lot like bacon frying ala Dazed and Confused, but adorable nonetheless. The second half of class was dedicated to teaching the young ‘uns how to do a somersault.

Haaaaa. Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

It was cute and Gracie had a blast but to recap: two kids refused to try, one was clearly terrified but going along with it, Gracie was gung ho but only wanted to bend at the knees not her waist, and a few kids nailed it pretty good.

Also, Gracie learned her voice echoes in a gymnasium and wanted to really spend some time testing that scientific theory out. Does it echo here? HERE? WHAT ABOUT OVER HERE?

Anyway, the class was just what I expected in terms of an opportunity to get the wiggles out but 1000% more exhausting than anticipated. Until next week!

 

 

 

Fake Fall

This past weekend we ventured into Fake Fall, i.e. where the temps are decidedly below average and you have to wear sweaters and eat comfort food. This week the temps should pop back up closer to 70, which sounds much more appropriate this time of year. Despite the chill in the air we managed to do a lot, while realizing that Gracie needs some help in her fall/winter wardrobe department. Notably she only has a few pairs of pants and a few long sleeved shirts. Jackets? I have jackets covered.

Sept1

Saturday morning Gracie slept in and as soon as she woke up we hit up the Lincoln Park Farm Zoo for their member’s only morning. They had a lot of activities set up and Gracie got to feed a cow, pet a goat, paint with vegetables and flowers (veggies cut in half, dipped in paint and used to “stamp”) and visit the garden to take a look at pumpkins and peppers. She had a great time, although she wasn’t interested in the rules of the goat pen so we hustled in and out of there pretty quickly. She spent a long time painting and then playing in a corn bin before we left and wandered over to the nearby farmer’s market. It was a weird morning for the market, the weather had you looking for squash and pumpkins and root veggies while the offerings included lots of berries and stone fruit. We snagged what we could from each season- the last of the summer corn, some apple cider doughnuts, bell peppers and onions, blackberries and plums. The rest of the day we spent at home, watching football, playing, reading stories and generally enjoying the day. This is a photo that captures Gracie that night: too small slippers, jammies, reading a book in her patio chair on the fireplace hearth…..

Sept 2

 

Sunday morning I got up and out the door (after family pancakes) and went to spinning with my ClassPass. I was glad that I had a small portion of breakfast since the class was intense and then I made it home so we could take a quick trip the playground before B could head out for (arguably, frostbite) sailing practice while Gracie and I had a girls day. her vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds, I swear she adds a new word every day. Lately she has added tissue, sock, slipper, and horsey. Together we made red beans and rice (she tasted the ham and stirred some empty bowls), we watched football, we read stories. Or, rather, Gracie demanded I come sit next to her on her blanket and read stories. This is her “Why are you taking a picture, just sit down and read Mama!” face:

Sept3

 

Although it was another dismal football weekend (seriously, the vast majority of cheered-for teams lost terribly on Saturday and Sunday) we had a family meal of red beans and rice (Gracie ate none of it despite loving all components…..) before calling it a weekend. All in all, not too shabby.

Sept4

 

 

Hashtag PSL

As much as I love fall, to me, September is not fall. I hate jumping into anything too early and with too much “both feet in” mentality. I laugh at those who wear their full length down coats the first time the temperature dips below 55 (whatcha gonna do when it hits negative 20, sucka?) I refuse to turn on my windshield wipers at any speed above “I can passably see out of the windshield” and no, I’m not ordering a pumpkin spice latte in September. Spoiler: although I use to love them, I now find their flavor cloying. Just give me my plain latte, thanks. So lets call a spade a spade: I’m not ordering a pumpkin spice latte.*

Anyway. September is traditionally a in between for me – so tired of my summer wear, too warm for fall wear which it isn’t time for anyway- and nothing feels quite right. Enter 2014, where up until 2 days a go it was in the 80’s, oh so warm. Then with a round of storms the temperatures dropped and it is now currently 68 degrees in my house with the windows open. It is 53 and rainy outside. We went from zero to 60 and I’m not ready. I have more tomato tarts to make! A corn, cheddar, and scallion strata! My sandals are still beckoning! But yet, here we are, wearing layers and needing socks and finding pants that fit the small people in the house (that would be Gracie).

I still haven’t bought the boots I need for the fall- I can’t seem to pull the trigger on Fryes (next year, Nordstrom anniversary sale, THEY ARE MINE) so, uh anyone have any suggestions? I’m looking for high quality thicker leather, flat sole, tan/brown/cognac color. Something comfortable but pretty that works with jeans and leggings and what not.

Anyway this entire post is dedicated to the “TOO SOON” nature of the temperature drop and the reluctant menu planning I’m doing (red beans and riceon Sunday, FINE) and my promise to never, ever drink a hashtag PSL.

*Last fall, in an attempt to enjoy what I once loved I found a pumpkin spice latte with no sprinkles and only one pump of flavoring was acceptable. But in the past year I’ve stopped liking any flavoring in coffee, so I doubt I get one.

 

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