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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Prior to Gracie’s tumble down the porch stairs, she could not be bothered with television in the slightest. She’d watch 5 minutes of Sesame Street and then go about her business. We put Frozen on once or twice as a treat and she was interested for 4.6 seconds and then moved on. However, when we were in the hospital we watched an infinite loop of movies, Gracie lying on me, intermittently napping, sometimes watching. After that she decided, like 99.4% of American children, she was down with Frozen (she still requests Sesame Street, watches 5 minutes, and is done). I don’t want to insinuate she watches the whole thing, but she will watch for 5-10 minutes, play a bit, then watch another 5-10 minutes. She likes the music best and bops along to the singing. This weekend she was watching the coronation ball scene and as Anna got engaged to Some Dude She’d Hardly Met Who Turns Out to Be a Villain, Gracie began yelling “CWAZY, CWAZY” at her. As the fight between Anna and Elsa ensued over the potential nuptials, and Anna accused Elsa of shutting her out, Gracie began finger wagging at her, yelling “NO SHUT OUT, NO SHUT OUT.” There you have it. Life lessons from Frozen.
Gracie’s language continues to explode. She has started stringing together sentences “Dadddy phone hand” (Daddy is holding his phone in his hand), “My nose running” (My nose is running) followed by “Tissue pease”. We’ve begun prompting her to add “please” to her requests, and she knows the answer to the question “What do you say if you want this?” is “pease!” Last night she was playing with her fridge magnets and slowly moved them across the fridge, counting under her breath, all the way to ten (but would not repeat it when asked). When she wants to FaceTime with her grandparents and I know it isn’t a good time, I always tell her “Papa is flying an airplane and Gigi, Grandma and Grandpa are sleeping!” Yesterday a friend of hers from daycare came over to play (and his parents! adult conversation!) and they were playing with a wooden airplane and she said “Papa in airplane. Gigi sleepin” which, haaaa. Oops. She is insistent on which chairs belong to Mommy and Daddy, the remote belongs to Daddy, the MacBook belongs to Mommy and she gets very irritated when we don’t conform to her expectations (Mommy holding the remote, Daddy using the laptop, either of us sitting in the chair she hasn’t deemed ours).
Gracie loves trains, and living in the city we have the opportunity to drive under the El (elevated train aka Chicago’s subway) tracks a lot and she loves when a train goes by as we drive under. She claps and yells “choo choo” and her delight is obvious. Our grocery store is near train tracks for the larger suburban commuter trains, and while we enjoyed doughnuts in their café (two weekends ago) a train went by AND BLEW HER MIND. “MO MO TRAIN! MO MO TRAIN!” FYI, mo mo = more more = more. No idea how that one started.
Her eye is doing much better, the swelling has gone down and her lid is only slightly bruised, the under-eye still has some black and blue but is fading daily. I’m glad it is healing so people stop asking about it at the grocery store (yes, thanks, I know she has a black eye) and she seems nonplussed by the entire incident. Our first follow up appointment is this week and I’m hoping for all good news.
Beyond that we spent much of the weekend at home, playing with toys and reading books and preparing for Thanksgiving. My sage butter is in the freezer along with last weekend’s cheesecake and cinnamon roll efforts, groceries have been purchased and I’m making our timeline of events and dishes tonight. I’m so excited for a full house of family and friends, for good food and football and family time. Gracie has an awesome turkey dress she is going to wear and on Friday we will break out the Christmas tree and the stockings and Christmas books….I can’t wait!