Chicago

Things I Am Dreaming Of

1. Sunshine

2. Beaches

3. Wearing a swimsuit at a beach, pool or other body of water

4. Sunscreen

5. Frozen cocktails

6. Drinks on patios

7. Freshly mown grass

8. Barbecues

9. Sundresses

10. Being outside without 19 layers on

Sadly it appears none of these things will ever be seen in the Chicago area again.

(Woke up to a crunchy coating of ice topped by an inch of snow, and “almost record low” temperatures, WHAT HAVE WE DONE TO DESERVE THIS?)

The weather complaining has gotten tedious I know, but Chicago got 82 inches of snow this “winter” (see also: fall through spring) and you guys, that is not normal. We do not live in Fargo. This isn’t Minnesota. Our average snowfall for winter is 38 inches. I have shoveled, salted, scraped and layered my way through innumerable snow days, polar vortex’s and weather advisories. I threw boiling water into subzero air (it turns to steam and freezes, all very crazy) the first time it happened, the continuing days and weeks were all about survival. I knocked icicles, boiled water in the house and filled radiator pans with water and started using fabric softener again. I slathered my kid in Aquaphor, put spare gloves in the pocket of every coat and wore my Uggs into the ground. I stood at a train station while being pummeled by all variations of terrible winter weather and my boss got worried that no one had been in the office for weeks because it was too dangerous to venture out and commute. The lining of my coat needs repair from being worn so much. I actually wore a hat.

I AM DONE.

OVER IT.

FINISHED.

Swings & Eggs

Last Wednesday B left for Charleston for sailing while I stayed home with Gracie. I KNOW. CHARLESTON VERSUS CHICAGO. UNFAIR. After realizing last summer that I’m only good at lone wolfing for 2 nights max, I called in reinforcements: my Mom, aka Gigi. While we had some bumps in the itinerary (stroller snafu, all is well) we had an awesome girls weekend and I was really grateful for both the adult company and the ability to take the dog on a quick walk without having to worry about getting Gracie packed up and out the door with me…three times a day. It was also nice for G to take a day off from daycare (Friday) to hang with my Mom- and it meant no drop off or pick up for me!

Our zoo trip was dashed by the aforementioned stroller issue (I did something dumb which led to me being unable to clip the seat into the frame, many thanks to Galt Baby for “fixing” it aka showing me the stupid thing I did and reversing it….if you own an UppaBaby Vista, don’t carry the seat by the recline lever….) but we did make it to the playground near the zoo. Gracie growled at the mountain lion statues, pet the baby elephant statue and was overjoyed by simple park pleasures. Behold:

Park1

Park2

Park3

Girlfriend enjoys the breeze in her hair, that is for sure. We had lunch at a nearby institution, R.J. Grunts. Very kid friendly and highly recommended to anyone wanting to grab a bite before or after the zoo (It also has a lovely bloody mary, fancy burgers and an amazing salad bar for the adults in the group).

Park4Oh look, WE ACCIDENTALLY SORT OF MATCHED AGAIN. I’m done picking out her outfits….

On Sunday before we took my Mom to the airport (sniff) we went out to the suburbs for an Easter egg hunt at our friend’s house. Gracie was really confused as to why we encouraged her to pick up more eggs than she had hands until she realized: (1) the eggs come apart; and (2) THERE ARE PRIZES INSIDE. One egg of yogurt melts later and she spent the next 30 minutes trying to find every egg she could, including eggs in her friend’s baskets. We had a chat about sharing.

EggHunt1

EggHunt2Next time we attend an egg hunt I will remember to bring her basket….classify that as a Mom Fail. As soon as the egg hunt ended our nice weather blew away (today it was raining ice pellets) and we are back to wearing cozy layers and close toed shoes. B got back into town late last night so Gracie and I enjoyed breakfast-for-dinner, a rare treat as B despises breakfast-for-dinner.  All in all it was a lovely weekend, even if we missed B and wished my Mom could have stayed a little longer.

Going to the Chapel…(Hill)

Last Friday instead of working all day and collapsing in an exhausted puddle with take out and a movie at 7:15 pm, B and I met at the aiport (he had to do a little working) and headed to North Carolina to watch a close friend from law school get married. It was the longest I’ve ever been away from Gracie girl, but she had a blast back in Chicago with her grandparents who were thrilled to spend a weekend reading books and taking walks. B and I were thrilled she was happy and we could take walks in warm weather without winter coats.

This is where I’d show you obligatory Chapel Hill photos but I took all of my photos with my husband in them, and since he is averse to internet-images, you’ll just have to use your imaginations: two very pale people in flip flops, overly happy about the warm sunshine, green grass and blossoms on trees.

We enjoyed some great food and beer in Chapel Hill before we headed out to the country for the wedding festivities. Weddings are almost always a good time, but this one was exceptional. It really highlighted the bride and groom, many of our friends were also in attendance and the food and drink were something to write home about. Dinner was pulled pork that was smoked all day on site- divine. After dancing way too much we got ourselves back to Chapel Hill to catch the end of the Wisconsin-Kentucky game and pour ourselves into bed to catch our 7 am flight home to Chicago on Sunday morning.

Despite the early wake up the 7 am flight had two advantages. First, we ran into my Dad at Midway airport when we landed, which is always nice (perk of a pilot Dad, you just never know when he might turn up) and got home with enough time to feed the munchkin lunch and take her to the zoo after her nap. Mama and Dad were exhausted but we missed her and knew she’d enjoy the relatively mild weather Chicago was seeing.

Zoo1

This was our first trip out and about where Gracie insisted on walking along with us…stopping to examine sticks and rocks, but seeming like such a big girl as she stumbled around. She wasn’t too into the birds, enjoyed the giraffes, and waved to the fish. The best part was when we were leaving and walked past the lion exhibit- the male and female lion began roaring at each other, nonstop. The entire crowd was entranced, and Gracie began to roar along with them. That moment in and of itself was worth the trip.

Zoo2After dinner we decided to press our luck and take Gracie out for pizza (the thought of cooking was beyond overwhelming). In a move no one saw coming she was a total joy through the entire meal- happily dancing in her high chair to the background music, eating some pizza, waving to other patrons and talking happily in an indoor voice. I think I told her I was proud of her ten times. We made it home in time for a bath and pjs and some extra kisses on that downy head that I missed so much.

B and I were in bed by 9:15 and I forsee another early night in our future. Dont worry though, every weekend in April has major plans or travel involved, so we won’t slow down anytime soon.

Five on Friday: Mama’s Girl

Lets do this again…five on Friday, shall we?

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One & Two: comparison photos of Gracie and I around the age of 1. First me:

Baptistm.d

birthday.d

General observations: I had more hair (not by much), fewer teeth (by a lot) and much bigger feet.

For comparison, some Gracie pictures:

 

Living

 

Drake

Three: There are rumors of spring like weather on the horizon. I will believe it when I see it, but if it happens over the weekend, you will find us at the park, zoo, anywhere outside without four layers, scarves and heavy coats.

Four: April is a crazy month for us with a lot of travel and visitors. I’m exhausted thinking about it but I’m having fun working on Gracie’s Easter basket (Easter being one of the weekends that is busy-busy). One toy and a some books are on the list- nothing huge. I have a lot of fun scouring through all the kids books for titles she is sure to love. She is really into books that ask questions (answered with no, of course), books with flaps or tactile pages. I need some new books to break up the monotony of Is Your Mama a Llama, Dear Zoo, Are You a Cow, Brown Bear Brown Bear, and That’s Not My____.

Five: Some new recipes have made it into our rotation. Short rib cobbler was a total hit, even Gracie enjoyed some of the veggies in it. Now that spring is on the horizon I broke out our favorite Smitten Kitchen peas and alfredo pasta recipe (in her cookbook) and yup, still as good as I remember. Coming soon: asparagus salad, another spring favorite.

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