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.
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…..
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:
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.
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.
I don’t like olives. In fact, I detest olives. I want to like olives because every word ever used to describe them is typically right up my alley (salty, briney, pungent) food-wise, but alas. I can tell when an errant olive made it into my slice of pizza, once I remove the offesnive bit I can still taste its essence in the bite and I am struck by how thoroughly vile they are. It makes me sad because I’d love to order a martini with blue cheese olives, the drink seems so very me, and yet, I don’t like martinis and I don’t like olives. It is a complicated disappointment to be sure.
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Gracie is really into “helping” these days and it is a little bit astounding what she is capable of. She helps me unload the dishwasher (I take the sharp stuff out before she meanders in, and I work on the breakables) by carrying silverware over to the general vicinity of the silverware drawer before carefully pushing each piece onto the counter while standing on her tip toes, she carries the cutting boards to the cupboard they go in and sets them on the floor. She helps me unload groceries, and if you turn your head away for just a moment you’ll find her carefully carrying a 28 oz can of tomato sauce over to where the food cupboard is (pantries are a pipe dream in the city) and you’ll worry she’ll drop it and crush her toes, but she doesn’t. She found a jar of applesauce in the bag on Sunday and carried it to the open fridge and placed it in the door, right where it goes. She helps vaccuum and dust and generally wants to “hap” at all turns. I realize she needs some actual chores so for now I think I’m going to ask her to put her dirty laundry in the basket and carry her empty milk cup to the kitchen sink. And for Christmas? She is totally getting a kids Dyson.
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For years I was terrible about folding and putting away clean clothes. We perpetually had a pile of clean laundry at the foot of our bed and then it would build up into this monster that took us 40 minutes to put away. For no real reason I suddenly became tired of the huge clean laundry pile and have put considerable effort into putting clean clothes away by the end of the day. I can’t tell you how much happier it makes me- the clean foot of the bed, the refilled closet. I’m hoping this new habit sticks around. I’m also working on moving empty clothing hangers to the front of my closet so when I need an empty one I don’t have to start out with the five minute search for the empties squished among my clothes.
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Dinner with Gracie has become a bit of a battle. I try not to worry too much, she eats well at daycare (organic food! hot lunch! lots of fruits and veggies!) and I had some old standbys (soup, all the soup) I could lean on when I felt like she just wanted to subsist on crackers. Lately though my standbys have been fails and I’m at a loss as to what to feed her that she will actually eat. Applesauce, coconut chips and crackers are the only sure choices, past favorites like bananas, berries and soup are now met with a “no” and a clenched jaw. Sometimes she’ll eat macaroni and cheese, sometimes she’ll eat grapes, sometimes she’ll eat smoked salmon or yogurt. Peanut butter sandwiches are now for playing, meat is generally rejected unless it is sausage and even then it is 50-50. Veggies at home are a total joke. I thought she liked yogurt covered raisins until I realized she was just chewing off the yogurt coating before spitting them back out. Food battles: ugh.
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I went to my first Pure Barre class last night (thanks ClassPass!) and I think I liked it? Some parts were so absurdly difficult I wanted to laugh and I can feel it in every muscle today. Interestingly, my typically stiff lower back was a lot more loose after class and today I feel like I have a little better range of motion. I also can’t sneeze without it hurting, so you win some you lose some. Later this week I’m taking an early morning yoga class and on Sunday I have a spin class. So far so good….
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Rhett Butler had been worrying us a little bit lately, he’d gotten stiff and sore and seemed to be moving more slowly. After last weekend (we visited friends in Michigan) playing with another dog for two days he seems to have returned to Chicago with his usual level of energy and range of motion. I can’t tell you how happy this makes us, although we plan on chatting with our vet about his senior status at his next yearly check up.
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Gracie starts swim lessons and gymanstics classes soon and I’m really excited. Both are once a week and are “Mommy and Me” type classes. The gymanstics class is a bit of a whim but I’m hoping as the weather turns cooler it is a nice outlet for energy in a big indoor space. I don’t anticipate Gracie being a future Olympian but I think she is going to have a blast playing with ribbons and walking on a mini-balance bean. I might even get in an arm workout or two as I help her. The class is titled “Moms, Pops, and Tots” so I keep telling B his leotard is in the mail. He seems unenthusiastic. (Most likely he won’t be able to attend most of the classes due to work obligations, but we knew that from the get-go)
Last week I deleted Twitter and Facebook off of my phone. I didn’t have any particular concrete reason or goal. I wasn’t angry with technology or worried about carpal tunnel in my thumb. I think I had a growing, nagging feeling that I was relying on social media too much to entertain me when I was bored, and the more I relied on it, the more quickly I became bored.
I recently went to the post office- something I do every 3-4 months because man, I loathe the post office- and found myself stuck in a line of 20 people with two open windows and no phone in my pocket. I mentally wrote at least 10 scathing (yet witty!) Tweets about how terrible the post office is and then I realized just how pathetic that was. And then what would I do? Wait for people to reply to my wittiness? Tell me they too hate the post office? I felt like a loser. An overly-reliant on technology and pocket friends loser.
Don’t get me wrong, I think social media is great. I’ve witnessed both the positive (raising money or support for people with a medical or other crisis) and negative power behind social media (when brands behave badly) and I’m not quitting anytime soon. But the world of social media isn’t a depository for all my negative post office feelings and random thoughts about things of little consequence. In fact, if social media could respond to such things, it would probably tell me that nobody cares.
That isn’t to say social media isn’t the place for the random, the pithy or the occasional product review question. But at the same time, “thinking before you tweet” isn’t half bad either. This past weekend we went out of town and I put Facebook and Twitter back on my phone, if only to entertain me for the drive to and from. I’ll probably take them off again this week as I re-learn to pick up a book instead of Twitter when I’m waiting at the doctor’s office. I don’t really have a great end to this, the perfect “and then I learned all the entertainment I need is right in my own living room, I’m so #blessed” but at the same time, not having these programs on my phone means I leave it behind a lot more often, which I’m sure isn’t a bad thing.