I spent Thanksgiving being thankful. For family and good friends and a full house and overflowing fridge. For our ability to provide for our family and use a little something extra for those in need. For a husband who makes the lows bearable and who I want to share all the highs with. For a daughter who delights us daily, who amuses us and confuses us and makes us so glad we are her parents. For a dog that snuggles up every night and settles in for a good chin rub, for a house with room to host guests and a table that always seems to fit just one more chair around it.
I am merely thankful. Life is pretty good when you take a moment to soak it all in (and use your potatoes to soak up some gravy).
Photo of Gracie and me, after the plastic surgery team at Lurie Children’s Hospital said her eye looked great and discharged us from their care. Just gotta get the thumbs up from opthalmology and we can consider that disaster done and done.
This week has been a disaster from day one on, nothing went as planned. It is hilarious in its totality. No one terrible thing, but all together each day started off and spiraled quickly out of control. I’ve never cleaned so many bodily function messes in one week (thanks dog/thunderstorms/baby messes/seriously guys?) I have a tire with a not-so-slow-leak, at numerous points B was fixing a disaster on one end of the house while I fixed one on another, we’d meet in the middle, carrying towels or cleaning spray or laundry and just laugh. I mean, what else was there to do?
Mama said there would be days like this.
Also it rained all week long which does nothing for one’s outlook on life or general enthusiasim to leave the house. Gracie now wants some rain boots like Mama’s.
Gracie’s infatuation with Piggie and Baby have reached new heights. They sit in her spare high chair at meal times, go to bed her her with their own blankie, try on clothes (she won’t wear any light pink pants now because Piggie is pink so Piggie should wear them). I’ve already dropped Baby out of the diaper bag once, and had that kind stranger yell “Ma’am you dropped your baby doll” after me.
She’s also infatuated with clips and hair bows, but mostly Mommy wearing them, so I’ve left the house twice with a nice bow in my hair, remembering half way to do something that hey, BOW IN MY HAIR. CHILD’S BOW. Sigh.
When I was growing up I teased my Mom that I could find her in any store because she had a habit of carrying her keys in her hand. I could always hear them jingling, and thus, find her in the shampoo or rice aisle. At Gracie’s daycare, after I take my shoes off in the entry, I walk through an older age classroom to get through to her classroom, but the walls are loft style and thus open between rooms near the ceiling. Every afternoon this week, as I’ve entered the first room I hear Gracie yell at her teacher “MOMMY MOMMY” and right as the teacher is saying “No sweetie, she will be here….” I stick my head around the dividing wall and we wonder how she knew I was in the building. Then I realized: I carry my keys. She can hear me jingle jingle, just like I heard my Mom.
Tonight B and I have dinner reservations to celebrate our anniversary, Gracie is staying at daycare late for their quarterly “babysitting” night and I’m really looking forward to just the two of us and some French food (my weakness). Where we won’t have to clean up messes or walk the dog or fill sippy cups. If just for a few hours we can be just us, and then, rejuvenated, race back to pick up Gracie, talking about how much we missed her the whole way there.
Life is good, even when it isn’t.
But I could do without all the laundry.
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)
As I begin many a Monday morning post in the summer, B was out of town this weekend sailing. He sails lots of smaller Chicago area events over the course of the year, but July brings the big guns- the two races to Mackinac and a regatta in Harbor Springs, Michigan. As for the Mackinac races, one starts in Chicago, one starts in Port Huron and they both end up at the island. The Chicago one is the “oldest annual freshwater distance race” (I know you thought it must be The Other Race You Were Just Reading About). The one from Port Huron is one of the longest freshwater races in the world. Both are very storied in tradition and they are run back to back weekends, with the cities switching which one goes first and which one goes second every year.
This is my way of telling you this out of town weekend is old news for me. ‘Been doing it since dinosaur times. Most years the races are marked by all sorts of things going terribly wrong while B is gone, but this one was pretty good. And, bonus, my favorite part of the race is all the boats have transponders so you get to track them like a real
creepy creeper in love wife. Anyway. Gracie and I kicked off the weekend Friday with daycare pickup + dinner out. I found a restaurant that is convienently on the way home from daycare and is run by the same people as another restaurant I like and- here is the key information- kids eat free between 4:00 and 6:00 (Crosby’s Kitchen on Southport). Sold. I had a fancy salad and ice water, Gracie had chicken tenders and french fries (what? It is Friday!) and I paid 17 bones for the experience, including a nice tip. WORTH IT. Gracie had a good time coloring & eating but was dismayed when she accidentally (how? I do not know) dropped a ketchupy french fry down the back of her dress.
Saturday morning we got up and rather than the usual zoo-farmer’s market process we hung around, played, sent “good luck” photos to B in which the two of us were actually smiling and then knocked out the Costco run and grocery shopping. It was pouring cats and dogs and I harbored a (false) illusion that the deluge would mean thet traffic on Lake Shore Drive would be better (big food festival in Grant Park). I was wrong, womp womp. Regardless we hit up sample Saturday at “the club”, grabbed all of our groceries and made it home for naps and more rain. In the evening hours we went over to grill out with some friends, and had an awesome evening of kids playing and steak eating. Adult time is always nice but particularly when you’ve been solo parenting, no matter how short of a time. We had a break in weather for a little while and let the kids run around barefoot outside (summer!) and sat on the porch. More bad weather moved in so we put G to sleep in a pack n play and the adults waited for a lull in the storm with more adult conversation not interrupted by wee ones. Oh and I brought a key lime pie, which was made possible by this divine elixir:
Get yourself some and make the recipe on the back.
Sunday morning G and I met my two best girlfrinds from law school for brunch, where Gracie got her coloring on (again! she is a machine!) and politely helped me eat all of my chicken and biscuit (Carriage House in Wicker Park, SO GOOD) before we came home for playing, naps and a round of splashing in the neighbor’s wading pool. It turns out neither my dog nor my baby care much for wading pools. FINE. WHATEVER. I’M GLAD WE PUT SUNSCREEN ON FOR THAT FIVE MINUTE ENDEAVOR.
Anyway, thats about all she wrote, for the most part, not really, look, more words. I impressed myself Sunday by making Gracie and I a real dinner on the grill with a side of her new favorite, Annie’s mac & cheese and we read a lot of stories and played with all of the toys, including more than one joyful round of dumping all of the blocks out of the bag and spreading them around the living room. I did laundry but didn’t fold it (my usual nemisis) and we generally enjoyed ourselves despite the weather. Exccept the beagle, who protested the weather by spending much of the weekend under my side of the bed, coming out for walks and food.
Now we look forward to B coming home before the next round of sailing (with family vacation plans in the very near future, woohoo). Oh and at some point this week a blast of artic air that should drop our overnight temps into the 40’s and 50’s. GOOD TIMES.