Our Current House Dilemma

I just wrote a new post for Chicago Moms Blog, which can be found here.

There can be a short delay between writing these posts and them being put up the editorial team. Things have changed since I wrote this post.

Here is the big one: Yesterday Aunt Danielle came over to see the little guy (which is the main objective of her visits home these days) and somehow with three adults in the house the gate to the basement stairs came down and did not go back up.

We were chatting as William rounded the corner, luckily the quick-on-her-feet Aunt Danielle scooped him up before disaster. Dammit! This is the first time we've been that careless. We've worried about the "what if's?" but now that we've experienced it, I feel like we just have to put up a door. It's not worth a tumble down those crazy stairs, right?

If you have seen our basement stairs I'm sure you know what I'm saying or may have even thought to yourself: "I'm not letting my kid run around these crazy people's house."

Any other ideas?


Reasons I'm Thankful

Having a healthy, good-natured kiddo. Lattes. My mom. Wonderful friends and even some not-so-wonderful friends (hey, they can't all be winners). Laughter. The ability to make fun of myself. Tuesday nights. My mom. Wine. DVR. Tzatziki and pita chips. Kiehl's body lotion. Radiant heating in our living room. Nap time. Season changes. Books. So You Think You Can Dance. Humidifiers. Having smart, funny co-workers. Scones. Candles. Having the memory of an elephant (I think it's slowly coming back after baby brain invaded). Netflix. Tailgating.

And what I'm most thankful for... A special birthday boy. And an amazing husband and dad. He's talented, supportive, smart, kind, funny, introspective, trust-worthy, passionate yet level-headed, and as of today, kinda old. Although I have a knack for bringing out his worst (who me?), I still get to see him at his best more often than not.

Today we toast to him with a turkey leg! Happy Birthday to you...


Being Sick Is Hard

Man.... I have been down for the count since Thursday, but I've been feeling better this afternoon and evening. I got hit with a crazy upper respiratory infection. Apparently, I don't know how to read the signs of a cold or sinus infection or anything that would beg of me to slow down. So, I didn't and then I did... As I was brought to a complete halt.

You know I'm sick when I miss work. You know I'm REALLY sick when I miss work during the height of Gala season. Yikes. It was rough.

Anyway, enough about me. Let's talk about the little man and why being sick is hard when you're a mom.... It is. It's really hard.

The little ones don't get that you're sick and have body ache, a fever, and an intense head ache when they want you to snuggle up and read them a book. They don't get that they can't have a sip out of your water glass. They don't get that you're taking cough syrup with codeine and when you're laying on the couch with your eyes closed, you're not playing games. They don't get that they shouldn't try to put their hands directly in your mouth. They don't get that you need to sleep and don't think that pounding on the door yelling "mommy" is fun. They don't get that they should sleep in past 5 am (if they sleep that late). And they don't get that you are just as bummed as they are that you can't play blocks and go to the park with them.

It could have been even harder. But, Matt stepped up. He bathed, fed, played, snuggled, dressed, basically did everything for the little guy this weekend. And he did a great job. An amazing job. I slept in, laid on the couch, relaxed, coughed, moaned, complained, pitied myself, and ultimately played sick. But, I went into work today and by 2:00 was feeling much better.


Lessons on a Rainy Morning

Dear Lisa,

I know you're new to this whole train commute thing, so you get a little wiggle room on this one. However, your morning performance was pitiful. You must take weather seriously if you intend to make it through the winter. A rainy day like this is not to be taken lightly.

Here are some lessons for you to keep in mind moving forward:

1. When you're watching the news in the morning, LISTEN to your weatherman and RETAIN the information he shares.

2. The weather does not stay the same as it is when you leave the house in the morning. Just because it isn't raining at that moment doesn't mean it won't be raining later.

3. Rain = Umbrella. Come on now, this is a basic one. You have plenty of umbrellas in your umbrella holder by the front door. A hood is not the same thing.

4. Rain = Rain boots. You have two pairs sitting in your closet. Your running shoes will thank you next time, as will your feet.

5. Wearing "dry clean only" pants the morning after you get them back from the dry cleaner is never a good idea on a rainy day.

6. Switch leather purse for one of the array of other more responsible choices in your closet. You owe Michael Kors an apology.

7. Wear your contacts on a rainy day. You looked like a cooped up serial killer when you ordered your latte over foggy, wet glasses this morning.

Please take this advice seriously. Winter is a moment away and you've got months of this ahead of you. Buy yourself a new hat now (you need one).

Chicago Weather


Moms and Market Research

Hey, mom! Market research wants you! Of course they do. We are the *perfect* subjects as reseach shows. Take the Hannemaniacs, for example.

In our household alone, I...
-Make the general purchasing decisions? CHECK
-Responsible for decisions on baby products? CHECK
-Brand loyal? CHECK!!!!

I do all of these things and so do you (if you're a mom), which means people need to know what you think, yo! And they'll pay you for spending an hour in a focus group (or in this case in a one-on-one interview with a video camera). And, man, they pay well. (I may just quit my job and do market research from now on.)

Moms hold the key to getting ahead in the marketplace, their mind is a reflection of the pulse of America, right? So, I went to a diaper study, all ready to wow them with my opinions. However, I learned tons about diapers. TONS. When you're handed an array of various brands of diapers and are asked to rank them on whether they'll keep your kid dry, last overnight, be gentle on your child's skin, whether you would buy them, etc. etc.... You suddenly feel like a total jerk for not doing more diaper research to begin with. I'm rethinking nearly 15 months of diaper purchases!

I am brand loyal to a fault when it comes to staples. Even if the competitor is on sale, I generally stick with the brands I trust... Jif Natural peanut butter, Edy's Slow Churned ice cream, Stoneyfield Farms yogurt, Reduced Fat Wheat Thins, Daisy Light Sour Cream, Brownberry Healthy Muti-Grain bread, the list goes on. But, when it comes to toilet paper, paper towels, diapers... Costco it is. And the problem with Costco? Suddenly you're on a hunt for the cheapest deal, not the best product. I fell into that cycle with diapers. And now I feel like a huge jerk. I should have been hunting for the best diaper to last for a long time, keep my baby dry, fit comfortably, keep his skin healthy, and look great. What have I been thinking all this time?

So, while I hope that I was able to share some worthwhile opinions with the market research folks, I walked away having learned something myself... Time to take a better look at William's diapers. Well, when I get through the three jumbo boxes I have in the basement.


Happy Monday! Love, Stink Face

It's getting late on a Sunday and I'm guessing that most people will check out this here bloggity blog on Monday, so I thought I would help start your week off with a smile. I cannot stop laughing at these pictures that my sister took of William. ENJOY! Hopefully coffee doesn't come out of your nose as you view these two takes on the stink face.

Indian Summer Chili

Every now and then I find a recipe that I think is worth sharing. On paper this recipe looks a little weird. It's Rachael Ray's, so is meant to be made quickly, but I let it cook longer than she would. I've made it a few times and change it around a little each time, but it's always a crowd pleaser.

Making something called Indian Summer Chili is almost cruel on a day like today, but it's comforting and filling on a dreary day like this.

Here is the recipe. I add a chopped zucchini and use a big can of tomato sauce. I also recommend using the corn and for seasoning: Weber Smokey Mesquite BBQ Seasoning (which is awesome on everything... fish, chicken, veggies, potatoes). Then I let it cook for over an hour on low.

I'm not a big fan of Rachael Ray as a personality (I find her to be annoying in general), but I do like her soup recipes with a little embellishment. Enjoy!

Sometimes You Just Keep Driving...

Today was one of those days that would have been perfect for pulling out some movies, securing a seat on the couch, and spending some quality time with the dvd player. (Note: THIS IS NOT POSSIBLE WITH A WALKING, CLIMBING TODDLER.) We were both tired and it was cold and dreary, so a big plan to keep William occupied was not in the cards. We decided to go to the grocery store to get a couple of items for the chili I planned to make.

After a quick trip through the store, we were driving home, which takes us about five minutes. We were both thinking it, but I finally said it: "I wish we could just keep driving for a while." You see, it was warm and cozy in the car, William was in his car seat and content playing with a toy, which meant no chasing after him. A harnessed toddler is a much easier toddler. So, we drove by the house and kept going. We drove for a little while to savor the break.

My parents some times go for "a drive." Today I finally understand why.


Playing Pregnant

Nope, I'm not a pregnant lady, but I did play one at a bar last Saturday night. It seems to be the only way to get out of paying the "all you can drink" fee at a party at a bar these days. Saying you're the designated driver doesn't seem to have the same umph.

My most recent Chicago Moms Blog post discussing my exciting night out can be found here. Check it out.


William Gets Jumped for a Balloon

Today I witnessed my first experience with a kid getting physical with my kid. I think this is a major milestone for a new mom, seeing some other kid do something that may possibly hurt your baby. We were in the kids shoes area of Nordstrom. A little boy (maybe 2 or 3) was running around without anyone watching over him. He came over a couple of times to hand William shoes and then would run away. Awww, sweet, I thought.

As I was paying, William was about six feet away from me checking out the line of Converse when the little boy approached. He took the blue helium balloon that William received for being such a good boy when his feet were measured and then smacked William in the face with it. My little guy went down fast.

My feet were moving before my brain was actually working and I was sternly saying, "No, no, no. No hitting!" I pealed William off the ground and looked the little boy in the eye and again told him that hitting is not OK. Then I frantically looked around for his mom/nanny/grandma. I have no idea where his caretaker was, but William started to cry and the boy bolted with his balloon. I returned to finish paying and the sales associate offered William a new balloon. I took a yellow one for him and went back to the stroller. He wasn't happy and continued to whine for the blue balloon.

A moment later the little boy was back, holding out the blue balloon to William. I thanked him and told him what a nice boy he was and then looked up to see if there was anyone watching, hoping to lock eyes with someone looking after this boy. And there was no one. That's when I realized exactly who his mother was... She had been yelling at the sales people when I first arrived while texting on her blackberry and impatiently rocking the stroller that held a little baby. I think she was Russian and had limited English when I heard her yelling earlier, so while I wanted to take this little guy's hand and walk him back over to her and possibly mention that he had jumped my kid for a balloon, I didn't. I would get no where and I knew it, so I used restraint. Can you believe it? I still can't, but I know it was the better thing to do.

I was so pissed when I first saw him go after William, but I realized it wasn't because he was a nasty kid. It wasn't his fault, it was his caretaker's. And I'm still pissed at that person, whoever she may be. My heart hurts for this little boy, who will knock over another kid sometime soon and see the same anger in another mother's eyes. He's too young to just know better and too young to understand why other mommies are yelling at him. If I could do anything different, I still wouldn't have yelled at his mom, I would have given him a hug.

(Seriously! Look what having a kid is doing to me!!!! I'm getting all soft.)

Have We Taken Stink Face Too Far?

As most people know William's signature move is the Stink Face. It started innocently, he made the face, we named it, and then he figured out how to do it on command. This usually resulted in some laughter, which has only encouraged him to do it more and more and more. Now the stink face is given to friends and strangers alike.

Not everyone appreciates it. When he gives it to people that don't know him, perhaps little old ladies fawning over his eyes or cheeks, we usually hear an "Oh my!" or "Oh no!" There have been some moments of embarrassment as we tell him to stop stink facing and encourage "Happy Face!"

We think it's a riot, but as he does it more and more to people we don't know I'm starting to wonder if we're the only people who are going to find this funny much longer... And it probably doesn't help that we take pictures of it.
Trying to be a somewhat responsible parents, I think we need to consider whether we should cut the stink face (so he isn't still doing it when he's six) or continue to encourage the behavior. I'm all for encouragement, but I'm all about a good laugh. Man, being a parent is so hard! Sometimes you have to think more long term rather than what makes you laugh right now. Boo! That being said, I think Stink Face still has a place in the this world, for now.


Bear Down!

Lesson of the Day: Don't ditch the kid when you think it will make life easier. (Well, do that sometimes... But, give 'em a chance every now and then.)

Today W went to his first Bears game. Britt invited us a while ago and we went back and forth about whether we should bring him. We finally decided we weren't going to since he's mobile and we thought that it would be a pain. There I said it. We just thought he would be a pain. We wanted to have fun and not chase him around, were worried that he would be annoying for other people, and thought that it would mess too much with his nap schedule.

But, this morning Auntie Britt called and said we should reconsider as she needed some cuddle time with her little Buddha. We were thinking the same thing. So, we packed him up and brought him with us.

He loved it! The Bears were beyond disappointing, but W provided plenty of entertainment. So, while sometimes leaving the kid at home is a good idea when you just want to have fun and do your thing. But, when you think twice about it, give your kiddo the chance. And in the end, two missed naps and snacks for lunch didn't even matter.

The Hannemaniac Halloween

This felt like our first real family Halloween, so we were really excited to hit the streets for some trick-or-treating with neighbors. It only took two blocks before our little dragon fell asleep.

We figured we wouldn't wake a sleeping dragon, so we wheeled him into the living room and watched him sleep while we enjoyed some spiked apple cider and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.

Happy Belated Halloween!


Every Now and Then You Step in Poop (Sometimes Even in Your House)

This morning I was rushing in a towel from the bathroom to the kitchen to grab my coffee to the guest bedroom/my dressing room when.... "What the hell?!?!"

I stepped in a tiny, pea sized soft matter. It squished between my toes and I instinctively pulled up my foot and shoved my fingers to feel what it was, looked at my fingers to see it was brown, and then of course had to do the sniff test. What the???? Poop? In the hallway? I screamed.

Matt came running as I gagged and wildly looked around for the rest of it, as this was a pretty small piece of what I could only imagine was a bigger problem. Whose could it be? W had a nasty diaper this morning that I vividly remember changing, but it stayed contained. Howie! Matt grabbed him and did a thorough search, coming up with nothing. Nothing between the paws, nothing stuck to the tail. I washed my foot and hand, so I could inspect the floor. Again, nothing. No sign of where poop may have previously been hiding. A bunch of nothing.

Matt had one foot out the door to catch the train. I had about 10 more minutes to blow dry my hair before the Grannanny showed to give me a lift to the train. So, I was left with only one option: Lock myself (and the boy) in the bathroom for some hair drying. There was no time for me to wash down the floors. In retrospect, I probably could have been late for work, but it just didn't seem like a real option. "Oh, sorry I'm late, I was searching for invisible, mystery poop."

Lucky, lucky us... The floors were wiped down by the best mom in the world (not me, my own) during W's morning nap. So, now we just live in wonder and fear of when the poop will strike again... And whose poop it was anyway.


More One Year Photos

A few more for your viewing pleasure...

One Year Photos

I have trouble with doing those "regular things" that moms are supposed to do. Example for today: Professional Photos. I just can't really get into photos of kids laying on a white fur rug or holding a large number signifying their age. Yeah, they're adorable. I just don't really like posed photos for myself or my house. I don't have a wedding album nor do I have any photos from our wedding framed in anything larger than a 4x6, which the photographer printed for us.

And I digress... So, I never had the professional photos taken. I planned to do the one year photos, but after spending some time looking into photographers I became overwhelmed and then annoyed that sitting fees alone would be atleast $200. I know there are less expenisve options, but I think I can take photos just as well as those options. If I am going to get photos taken, I expect art. But, I expect it at a deal.

I'm a fan of Janie and Jack. Before you judge about my taste in what can be considered expenise kids clothes, know that I am sale rack junky. Besides, have you met my mom? Preppy is kinda her life. Anyway, she was in Janie and Jack looking around for a new piece of ridiculously adorable garb and they explained the photo promotion. Free sittings for kids to come and have their photos taken at Janie and Jack. She jumped on it, probably knowing that I would never get around to it.

A week later, Grandma B and Aunt Danielle took William for his photos. The following week Grandma B and I went back to see the photos. They showed them to us on a computer. My little guy smiling, playing, stink-facing, hamming it up for the camera. Then they bring out the price sheet... It wasn't TOO bad, but I said to the photographer, "So, this is kind of like a test of how much you love your baby, huh?" She agreed.

I narrowed it down to the best to share here. Still don't have any framed, but I'll get around to that some day.


... And He's Off!

We're walking! The little guy has been cruising furniture for months and started tentatively stepping between two pieces of furniture a couple weeks ago. Then he was able to hold onto one finger and navigate his way through the house. Now he toddles for lots and lots of steps.

One of the things I love about little ones is that they act like they're constantly tripping. They like to touch everything, roll around on the floor, spit their food out for no reason, throw their head back, laugh then cry then laugh... You get the picture.

Now it seems our little guy has kicked his acid habit and turned to the bottle. The drunken stumbling is brilliant. Almost like when you were trying to get your college roommate home and they kept stumbling then falling, then laughing and doing it again.

We're hoping he sobers up soon, so we can let him loose in the wild!