Tag Archives: Chicago

Big Fish

I’m typing this with one eye open, wearing glasses that I found in the back of the junk drawer. My eyes burn like coals from the fires of Hades. I assume it is because they are wind-burned. Because I live in the windiest city this side of the Mississippi, near a lake. I also assume that if I stopped going outside on all these outings in the winter, my skin and eye problems would cease to exist. *googles: hibernation, hermit, gollum how-to* It’s just so dry up in here that I have even resorted to washing my face with oil. Desperate times. I may also have to pee as usual, but I thought I would try to delay that to see if it makes me type faster.

Speaking of wind, I was actually blown off the sidewalk with the stroller today. My hood acted as a parachute and nearly took my head off in its attempt to take flight. CHOKE. I silent cursed the wind, which I am rather pro at. I have much practice whisper-cursing terrible cats during nap time, so I am an expert at screaming WTFSTOPin my head or at barely audible levels with frightening effectiveness.

Do not be deceived by the apparent calm.


This post was actually supposed to be about the aquarium. We go there a lot.

A couple of weeks ago, Justin and I took Benton on a weekend. The above photo was taken in the Shedd Oceanarium submarine, just across from the Beluga whale tank. This may be in Benton’s top three favorite spots that he has yet to discover on Earth. So we returned to the Shedd today, mainly for this part of the exhibit.

I get to sit under these fake icebergs while B creeps older kids and PRESSES ALL THE BUTTONS ALL THE KNOBS. He is so excited and adorable. Occasionally he will squat and bounce with his arms in jazz hand excitement. He stomps his feet in the submarine and announces to all the other littles: DOOOT doot BWAHHHH Doot! GAH. Then runs to me, sitting under the fake icebergs, clings my legs for two seconds then sprints back to the BUTTONS.

*pee break* *fail at fast typing* *apply more face lotion and chapstick*

Then we went over to see the Belugas that I have been singing about for 18 months. Guess what? MORE BUTTONS! BIG ONES! Toddler heaven.

Then he whispers in wonder “Big fishy.” I die.



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.

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.


Spring is busting out all over. I have almost forgiven Chicago for such a long winter. She takes my breath away when she is in full bloom.

I celebrated my first Mother’s Day with my little family in the sun. It was perfect. All the iPhone photos we took depicted the most amazing spring outing together. Everything all in a row and lovely. It was.

Even though it all seems like a fairytale life, I don’t want to project that image all the time. I don’t mean to say that life isn’t good, because it is. It appears especially good on the surface. On paper. In photos. In this blog. But there is certainly a balance.

Staying home and watching Benton turn from a baby into a kid before my eyes is a blessing. It’s truly the best job I have had, even though I am never off the clock. I am capable of feeling more love and joy than I could have ever imagined. I feel lucky. I do. This is why I don’t like to voice my sorrows or struggles. It makes me appear ungrateful.

I hate being a complainer, especially when I have it so “good.” But I give 125% of myself everyday, and sometimes it doesn’t feel like enough. I don’t like asking for help, even though I could use it. I hate to admit that I can’t do it all and my perfectionism is often a curse.

I don’t like admitting that I have been struggling with anxiety in the middle of the night. That I have conversations in my head in the early morning hours that would not be considered remotely pleasant. That I worry about things in the dark that would never be given a second thought in the light of day. That I often feel alone, even when I am never actually by myself.

I have started talking about these things with other moms who have been through similar things. It is helping. If you are one of the ladies I have been conversing with on this subject, thank you so much. It means the world to me.


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?

Social Butterflies

As I am naming this post, I’m picturing actual butterflies in flight. They are very lightweight and flit-flit-float, aren’t they? So maybe I should call this social dung beetles or something. Because going on a million outings with baby-in-tow is less flit and more rolling crap uphill.

NOT to say it wasn’t fun though.

It was.

This week we left the house to meet other humans and tiny humans four out of the seven days. That means I talked to other people in real life for 57% of my time rather than the normal 0-10%. Huge pat on my back from my own hand. High-fiving myself!

The thing about motherhood during the baby stage (and other stages??), is that it can be quite lonely sometimes, despite never actually being alone. However, Benton has decided to begin his rapid stage of development and becomes more fun/tiring/exciting/giggly with every day. He is increasingly interesting to observe and hang out with, because he is trying all kinds of weird things. Standing for one. He is so stinking proud. And I think I only have a few days left before he is fully mobile. Life will be different to say the least.

Here are some shots from our fun week. A mix of iPhone and real camera, since I can only seem to remember it about half the time we go out. And it is one more thing to carry around.

I am kicking myself for not bringing the camera to this meeting. Newly mobile twins Peter and Sarah had fun leaving B in the dust. And their mom is one of those people I miss from my old office. Fun was had.

Benton and Sophie hanging out at the Garfield Park Conservatory. I learned how to birth with her mama. In burfing class. Sophie promptly removed B's sock after this photo was taken.

Deep breaths in the fern room.

My friend Erica and her boys also met us there. I love them a million. The fern room makes little boy's curly hair even more outstanding.

The next day, I took B on the Metra for the first time. He agreed that it is way more fancy than the CTA and he approved. Although you can't tell that by this photo.

We went to the French Market at Ogilvie. Love it there.

We met up with Elise and her mama, Kate from Big City Belly. Yogurt melts were shared and storytime was had. The adult humans had decadent lunches.

This morning, we tried our hand at going out to brunch with the ladies. As you can see he likes to reel them in and then reject them at unexpected moments.

Sippy. Sippy.

Oh. My.

It was a good week. More photos here.