Category Archives: Chicago

The Up and Up

These pictures are from Friday when it felt a whole lot like spring instead of winter. It was one of those days that idealistic moms-to-be daydream about as they rub their pregnant bellies

Benton and I woke up and he gave me a bunch of kisses and said “I ooou.” This is his short version of “I love you.” We had breakfast  and then went out to Grant Park.

He is completely obsessed with stairs since it is his latest skill, so I thought it would be fun to go to the statue of Grant and let B loose onto the hill. He went nuts for about an hour or so. It was nearly 50 degrees outside, and the sun was almost warm.

I offered him my hand a few times to see if he wanted help on the way down the stairs. Denied. BIG KID. I get it.

After all those stairs, we went to a new restaurant in my south loop hood called Waffles. I was so happy, just sitting there on my date with little B after a fun morning in the park. The waffles were perfect. Sometimes life is so good and simple.

Benton then passed out in the stroller on the way home, and I transferred him to the bed without any trouble. We both napped. Then we went to another park in the afternoon with a million other neighborhood kids. This is completely bonkers in January. The sunset blew my mind. I ended the day with a fabulous tapas dinner with good friends and stayed out way past my bedtime. Just a really sweet day, no?

Not every day is like last Friday. Especially in the winter. Today, I found myself in the familiar winter funk again today. I wish I could say that it wasn’t common for me to feel this way, but I can’t claim that. I don’t like my mood to be so dependent on the weather and I would do almost anything not to feel this way. But it’s extremely hard for me to control. So grey is what I felt. This winter has been so mild so far, that it makes me feel even more silly to feel so low.

I have probably written about winter sadness every year on this blog. I’m tired of writing about it and certainly tired of feeling it. But I figure I may as well stick a few paragraphs in here at the end of some pretty pictures and get it out-of-the-way for 2012. So there you go.

I know that getting out of the house and getting exercise helps. Seeing friends and not being alone too much helps. And sometimes comfort food really does help. Taking photos and posting them here helps me end the day end on a good note. So thanks, little blog. You do me good.

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Mittens are Dumb

This is such a picture heavy post, that I think I will just talk via captions. We went to the park. It was cold, but not freezing. B hates his mittens.

How does he already have smile wrinkles? What an old man. This picture gave me baby fever, even though I am pregnant.

Toddlers need to burn off A LOT of energy in the day. Or at least mine does. This can be tricky in the winter unless you are paying a mortgage for kid classes/activities in the city. If the temps are above 30, we are going to the park for sure. Maybe he will sleep through the night? (heh)

Ah, yes. One of his favorite park pastimes is Big Kid Creeping. He is enthralled by all things big kid. They generally ignore him because little kids are boring.

Speaking of big kids, he is obsessed with steps and learning to jump. Many hours a day are spent on this skill. Many.

I can't tell you how tired I am of this ball. It is always in the laundry room, blocking the doors to my washer and dryer. Since we have about 6 bajillion trajillicats more, I donated yet another to the park. It will be loved. Don't feel bad for it.

I was lucky enough to capture his first I-Can-Walk-Like-A-Big-Kid-Up-And-Down-The-Stairs success. He usually needs to hold on to something or crawls up. Whoa.

More creeping. Now with mouth breathing. :-/

"OMGAHHH mama! Are you seeing?! The Big Kid is playing with me!! Mouf Breaving worked!!"

And then it got dark and I had to pee. This is generally how the day ends.

 

The Museum

Hi there! You want to go on another walk? You want to Go GO GO GO on an adventure? You and Benton have a lot in common. Poor guy never knows if he is getting into the stroller for a ride to the dry cleaner or a museum. It could be the PARK!…or the grocery store.  The stroller is the equivalent of toddler gambling. He participates because he knows it could be his ride something really good.

Lucky for you and him, today we had plans to meet friends at the Field Museum.

I adore the museum campus. The Shedd is my favorite building, but the Field is a respectable behemoth of a place. The park that they reside on is outstanding (in the summer).

Look how pretty the Shedd is, sitting with the best view of the city and the lake.

Back to the Field. We met up with Kate and her littles this morning and let the kiddos run around the stuffed animal exhibit before feeding them a lunch at the in-museum Corner Bakery. Please enjoy these blurry photos. The museum is…dark. And toddlers are fast.

He repeatedly ran towards the whale hanging from the ceiling. BIG FISHY. BIG FISHY. He woke up from his nap requesting said fish.

Next, we always visit the bears. This place is better than a zoo for little ones, because there are no crowds and the animals are super close. They are just dead is all.

Then comes the hundreds of stuffed monkeys. Kind of creepy and yet another good place to show off the always cute toddler skill of "What sounds does the (such and such animal) make?" See also: more running.

Boy howdy, these are blurry and terrible photos. But how cute is this stroller maintenance in the African exhibit? Elise is master of her umbrella stroller. Don't mess with her. Don't.

Then after lunch, it is a race against the clock to get the kids home to nap. This is Benton's face about 2 seconds after being snuggled into his stroller palace. He fell asleep 5 seconds after this was taken. Stroller naps are dangerous beasts for us, but I had luck with the transfer into the bed today.

We are lucky to have the Field and other museums as our neighbors. So many exhibits to see, especially as Benton gets a little older. His brain is absorbing and analyzing more than ever, and I can’t wait to see what happens when he starts telling me what’s in that growing mind of his. I think he is going to be a pretty cool kid.

A Little Walk

I wore a hat indoors all day. It kept my brains inside and trapped a bit of heat. Today was one of the first really cold days here in Chicago. It seems like we Chicagoans have gotten away with something for the icy air to wait until January to smack us. Things are CRISP out there. Or frozen if you will.

I had to pick up dry cleaning today, which can only be done via stroller, so Benton rode in his cozy Arctic Bundle Me thingy and I pretended my stroller muff was going to provide sweet precious warmth for my whole body. It did not, but it is still pretty sweet. Probably the best winter accessory I own. You should get one if you walk around in temps under 30 degrees like I do. *Waves to other crazy person.*

For being so cold out, it was still kind of pretty because of the time of day I chose to go. My eyes were a bit watery from the air, so everything looked kind of like a fun house. These photos are from my phone of course, but they document our little insignificant walk pretty well. And we didn’t get hit by any cars running red lights at State and Roosevelt. So there’s that. *Shakes mittened fist at stupid cars.* 

Thanks for walking with us. Wish you were really here. Bring a muff.

Doing Stuff

Awhile back, I wrote down everything Benton and I did for a day. If I recall, it was when he was still a floppy new person. My day looked pretty similar to anyone else’s that was a new first-time mom of relatively easy-going baby. It was a story that was not unique to a city mom vs. a small town mom vs. a suburbia mom.

Now. We have moved to the South Loop in Chicago, and Benton is anything but floppy. He is a busy toddler who likes to do ALL THE THINGS all the live long day. We have a couple of rooms in our apt, but he is mostly limited to the living room. Basically a big play pen. Smeared in avocado.

I like our apartment just fine, but it was not why we moved here. We are here because of the location.

B and I take full advantage of being a short walk from:

  • Two parks with jungle gyms and a sandbox
  • Grant Park
  • Shedd Aquarium
  • Field Museum
  • Target
  • Whole Foods
  • Trader Joes (!!!)
  • The beach
  • Millennium Park
  • The CTA
  • Starbucks

This is why we pay the rent we do. We don’t have a yard. And yes, I still long for a yard someday, but the two parks are only a block away. It seems like we have more space than we do. It is not private, but it is entertaining.

Most days we wake up, eat breakfast, and then go out. I used to take him in the Ergo, because it is was the easiest way to travel around the city when he was light enough. Now, I use the jogging stroller because B is getting huge, and I am trying to walk more to keep some pregnancy weight at bay. I would love to get a smaller umbrella stroller that can fold up on the CTA.

We usually head east to Grant Park and the Museum Campus. We are now members at the Shedd and the Aquarium. They are the perfect distance from my apartment, because I am usually in need of a restroom upon arrival. We don’t feel pressure to see all the exhibits, we can just pop in for an hour or so and see our favorite fish, dolphins, stuffed bears, mummies, or dinosaurs.

Sometimes I have to run errands in the morning, and those can usually be accomplished within a couple blocks and clipping bags to the stroller. Done!

After lunch and nap, we go out to the local park again and B runs around all he wants and watched big kids. That is his favorite activity. Big kid creeping. 

DADA comes home in between 6-7 and we eat, bathe, and read to the B. Then he is asleep at 8.

So that’s about it. I know that some Twitter friends had requested I post about having a toddler in the city, but I can’t think of anything super juicy to tell you. It is the only lifestyle I know, so maybe you can ask me specific questions in the comments if you have a burning quandary. Let me know!

Such a different life than just a few months back. Toddlerhood in the city has been good to us.

Here

We moved! We survived.

We got to sit in one of the new parks. With warm legs and bare feet.

We watched the big kids play. There are so many kids in this hood. It still seems odd to me. In a good way.

We have been exploring. We have been eating (not pictured, but much enjoyed.)

But mostly? We have been looking for spring. Have you seen her? Can you send her by my place if you have? She does wonders for my mood. These photos were taken on the rare warm days we have had. Actually, I think there have been two so far. It has been the cloudiest April on the books and one of the rainiest. Sad trombone.

I have also felt a bit disconnected from my online life since we moved. Baby mobility and home change coincided. Benton is everywhere! It is amazing and exhausting and cute and dangerous. I have to keep my eye on him at all times, so that means less time for…anything else. I love this new phase, but it also means that naptimes have been consumed by organizing and cleaning, since it is difficult to do this things when he is awake. We are just now settled enough for me to feel like I can write again while he is dreaming. So that is the plan anyway.

Apologies for being out of the loop. What did I miss?

BOOM

 

What's this?

Hmm. Seems to be a baby child on the beach in March.

Yes. He has been here before, but this it his first sit in the sand.

The first time he has really touched it.

Interesting stuff. It can't really be gotten. And flows through tiny fingers.

I feel so lucky to witness these firsts. To spend the day with my buddy. To be part of his life as he takes in more and more of this world. My friend's mother who said 'the first six months he is yours. And after that? Your job is to introduce him to the world' was so right. Spring is such a fitting season for this age. One day there is nothing to see, and the next the buds are bursting. New. Wow! Look! This! That! Go! BOOM.