November 09, 2007

Do You Believe in Magic?

MagicC'mon, I know you are singing along and just can't remember the next line.  It's okay though...I can't either.  The Chicago public library (CPL) has a lot going for it.  Of course it has some downsides too...what organization doesn't.  However, every once in a while they hit the jackpot.  For example, CPL offers free passes to over a dozen of the most popular, and some you may have not heard of, museums in Chicago.  That means you don't have to shell out some insane amount for parking in addition to an entrance fee.  Even better is ...

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August 27, 2007

Clicking our Heels

WendyI'm probably not the first person to discuss the storms Chicago had this past week. However, I found the storm exhilarating and exciting while also being reminiscent of the TV thriller "The Day After". I happened to be driving along the lake when the storm engulfed Chicagoland. It was eerily similar to what I thought a hurricane would be like. I drove around instant lakes, huge tree parts that littered the streets and avoided people that searched for cover and hung on to light posts so as not to blow away. The storm came in an instant and roared it's ugly head upon an unsuspecting urban oasis. I drove maneuvered, white knuckled, several miles home as I made my way through the obstacle course of the aftermath of the storm.

I arrived home to no electricity and my husband and boys who were armed with a shared flashlight under a homemade fort of sofa pillows. We didn't want to panic the kids and although we didn't have a crystal ball, we intended things would be OK and that we would make this experience an "adventure".

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August 25, 2007

Table for 4 please...

It's amazing how time flies. I feel like I refer to it so much that I should have given this blog that title. My younger son will be blowing out two candles on his birthday cake next month. I'm seeing that o so lovable "terrible two's" eeking its way into our already hectic family life. Hubs and I have decided that our family is perfect with the two babes we've got in tow and I'm delighted with the decision. However, I'd be remiss if I didn't say I had a few twinges of a third every now and again. These feelings have come more quickly recently as I watch my youngest grow and reach new independence at lighting speed.

I've always referred to my oldest as a "spirited" child. He is inquisitive and adventurous but still holds on to some caution. My youngest has been quiet and "along for the ride"....until now. For my youngest, his high chair has been a lifesaver when getting a meal prepared or even getting dishes from the sink to the dishwasher. He'd play happily, enjoy a snack or even color. The highchair is now no longer an option. This devilish little guy can crawl up into the highchair on his own. In one turn of your back you can age 10 years as you, frightened to the core, see him standing on his high chair seat. So, bye-bye high chair, hello booster seat. (with a seat belt thank goodness)

The aggravation the missing high chair has caused has allowed my heart to skip a beat and the corners of my mouth rise to make the wrinkles that smiling have developed on my round face. Last night we sat as a family around the dinner table. A Mom and Dad at either end and a child between us on either side. It was so nice. Our family of four around a dinner table, almost no whining and each participant eating their own food on their own plate. With a fork I might add. This mental picture touched me so. Have I grown to be a mother of two boys? Why does this 1950's image make me feel so validated as a mother. I have to confess, I've quickly updated this image to the 21st century as my husband actually cooked the dinner.

I secretly feel a pain as I watch my boys grow, age, learn and become independent of me. One day they will not need me in the same way and I will need them in different ways too. For now, I hope I can be in the moment, savor their childhood and help them learn to play, laugh and of course remember to wash their hands before they come to the dinner table so we can all share our adventures from the day.

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July 31, 2007

BlogHer & the Fire Dept.

BlogHer was all I wanted it to be and more. My life, y'know, reality... on the other hand, got in the way. In honor of Monk, which probably makes me really old, "Here's what happened".

It all started on Thursday Night at the awesome party that SV Moms put together with the help of Yahoo. It was great to finally touch and talk to the virtual friends I've made in the last few months. Our fearless leaders, Jill & Beth, put together bags full of swag that could make any woman cry with joy. From peanut butter to nipple cream, blouses to DVDs, they covered it all. Some highlights for me were that I met two bloggers who actually live just a few blocks from me. What fun. When I first arrived at Alina, I checked in with the hostess. I told her I was there for BlogHer and she lit up and said, "You guys are a fun group". Little did she know. Little did we know. Anyway, I met so many fun blogger sisters that it's really hard to remember. AND, for a girl who was offering to print business cards at the show, I think it's pretty hysterical that I forgot to bring some with me to the party. 2 hours flew by and we were all enjoying succulent food and libations. I was driving and still needed to finalize some details for my booth so I grabbed my bag of swag and went home. (It's hard to be a good girl all the time. The party at the W really sounded like fun)

***Note*** This is where my BlogHer fun filled weekend lets reality sneak in again and again.

Unbeknown to me the valet at Viand drove my car into something white and hard and smooshed in the back left corner of my pretty van. However, at this point, I'm so happy with my new found friends and my bag of swag and the fact that I started blogging that this little fact doesn't present itself to me and the valet, I guess, didn't fee it pertinent. I wish I could say that THIS was a big deal but ahh, this is just icing baby.

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July 11, 2007


Cimg8681_1 I'm not the biggest Harry Potter fan but I do love a kid free night out with my husband. When you add the fact that this was free and before anyone else got to view the film....I tell ya, I got goose bumps. I'm not hard to please, I know. The icing on the cake was the fact that we saw it at the Navy Pier IMax theatre which meant that we saw it on a humungo screen AND...got the full experience of watching a portion of the film in 3D. Way cool.

Oh, I'm sorry, you want to know how all this happened. I wish I could tell you that I knew people or that I was cool or that I was even lucky. Bummer, I can't fess up to any of those. However, good news...you could be cool and lucky too. Check out Time Out Chicago, and a host of other major cities in America and several other countries as well. They have a great feature that allows them to email you free movie premier tickets. We responded to one such email and poof...we were in the VIP line.

I must say, I, like Harry, Ron and Hermione have certainly aged since the last installment of the series was on the big screen. For the movie rendition of the 4th book, My husband thought it would be great to see the first showing at midnight. I was very pregnant and at the time enjoyed myself but hated everyone, including him, the next day. This 5th book experience was a much improved... better for our marriage too.

I won't waste anyone's time giving away secrets or tidbits about the film. Go see it. You'll enjoy yourself. I did.

PS - Being at Navy Pier got me all excited for BlogHer. Hope to see you there.

**************** crossposted at www.myMOMtra.blogspot.com ************************

June 28, 2007

The Beach

Cimg6876_2 I grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan.  A pristine beach was actually just at the end of the block.  Don't ask me to tell you much about it because it wasn't a place in which I visited or found solace or comfort.  I brought my own emotional trauma to such a setting.  Feeling insecure with my self image in this otherwise perfect persona of a town was just too much for me to handle at such an unclothed location.  I felt the critiquing eye on my otherwise imperfect adolescent self and just never enjoyed myself.  In fairness, I've never enjoyed any beach but having one in such close proximity led to my "love of the beach" demise.  We all have baggage of one kind of another.  My self esteem and body image is enough for several pieces of luggage.  However, even the TSA limits travelers to a 50 pound limit.  I'm whittling mine baggage blues away but alas, this is all for another post at another time.  Back to the beach...

You'd think that after 39 years, I'd be able to figure out my issues and that I'd automatically be turned into a lover of sand and water, aka, a beach person.  Unfortunately, you'd be wrong.  Honestly, I just don't know how to "do the beach".  Forget the fact that I never felt comfortable on the beach.  I mean c'mon, you can't even blouse a swimsuit to hide unwanted belly bulge, it's usually hot with no reprieve from the sun and there ends up being sand in every crack and crevice compiling your 2000 parts.  Forget the fact that I've never found a hat that didn't make me look like I was sick.  I can list many things about this otherwise tranquil place but none of them would make me pine to return to the sound of the crashing waves.  Notoriously, I come home with more grains of sand than I ever bargained for and personally, I always find a grain in my mouth that freaks me out with the thought that I've just broken a tooth.  Luckily, I've kept my teeth in tact and it's always just been a scare.  Bottom line, I just can't "beach".

UNTIL, I met my friend who used to live in LA.  Now, there is a place where people have honed the skill of beachING.  She now lives in Chicago and has two children who are similar in age to mine.  Begrudgingly, I asked her to please teach me the secrets to enjoying the beach.  I explained that I must be missing something.  So many families rave about careless summers frolicking at the beach with their kids in tow.  The difference between these families and mine...I'm not enjoying myself. 

So, we picked a day.  We talked, planned and strategized.  I was approaching this lesson with an open mind.  We discussed locations and transportation, kids toys and beach friendly foods.  It was time, I was ready. Donned in the mother of all sun hats, lathered in sunscreen, appropriately packed ... I wiped the sweat from my brow and piled the kids in the car to go and enjoy the day at the beach.  I felt very optimistic.

We arrived and set up camp.  Two blankets and as many umbrellas, a cooler and a beach bag.  That was it.  So far so good.  The kids made fast friends with our blanket neighbors.   They shared sand toys, snacks and giggles.  The  made  grand plans to dig  a hole in the sand until they reached water.  They actually worked together and  made it to their goal.  The buried their feet and each others hands.  The bigger kids gave jobs and helped the smaller ones participate.  The Dads did swimming with the kids on their backs.  The moms coordinated additional sunscreen and endless snacks.  We even sat peacefully for a few minutes here and there. 

It was F*U*N.  I can't believe it really.  I actually enjoyed the day. I found myself relaxed and comfortable.  I even found myself smiling and laughing.  We were close enough to enjoy the visual beauty of the cities skyline but we weren't infiltrated by the audible urban reality we call home.  It almost felt like we were on vacation - cheating without the  hassles of traveling.  This was some magical beach.  I can't wait to go back.  They even had convenient and clean restrooms as well as ample parking.   Green spaces and a beautiful walking path are also options for visitors.  Personally, I loved that every body type was represented.  This is what I call a great day, one I hope is repeated in this city girl's fleeting summer schedule. 

The best outcome...I know how to "beach" now.

Enjoy another great element of the Chicago Park District when you escape to Montrose Beach yourself or with your family.