7.27.2011

I'm Not Going to Tell You a Story

For the From Left to Write Book Club I read The Costume Trunk by Bob Fuller, which inspired this post.

We read with W a lot. It's my favorite way to play with him. I'm not very imaginative in the way he and Matt are, so reading is our best way to connect. (Honestly, once when playing he asked me: "Do you know how to play trucks?" The answer: "NO.")

I don't remember being a very imaginative kid. Honestly, I preferred reading then as well, so I spent a lot of time letting the words be my imagination. In The Costume Trunk, Courtney and her friends discover the magical world of Paddywhack Lane where all they need is their imagination to have fun. After reading this book to W, I decided it might be fun to see what he thought about the experience the characters in the book had and learn a little more about what's going on in his little head.

Here is our interview:

Q: If you could dress up in a costume, what would you dress up as?

A: A bug. Mom, what are you doing on the computer?

Q: What adventure would you like to go on?

A: Uhhh, this one. Tell me some more things.

Q: What would you do if you could do anything you wanted to?

A: I would slide down a slide. Ummm, I would play games.

Q: What friends would you bring with you?

A: You.

Q: Who else?

A: Tina and Toto. (note: his aunt and uncle)

Q: Does this sound like a good way to celebrate your birthday next month?

A: Yeah!

Q: Do you want a tree house?

A: Yeah!

Q: What would you do with a tree house?

A: I would live in it.

Q: What would be your best day ever?

A: This one.

Q: What's your favorite thing to play?

A: Puzzles.

Q: Tell me a story.

A: When days break, you're don't and you walk. I would do shnooder and doodoodoo! I'm not going to tell you a stoooory... Yeah! I'm not going to tell anybody stories. Mom, that song was called I'm Not Going To Tell You A Story.
(note: this all was sung to me)

Disclosure: As a member of From Left to Write book club, I received a complimentary copy of this book for review. All opinions are my own. Visit From Left to Write to read how other bloggers were inspired by this book.

7.23.2011

Our Big Night Out: Beauty and the Beast

If there is one area that Matt and I have totally and utterly failed in the parents department it is carving out time for us. I can probably count on one hand the number of times the two of us have gone out alone in the last three years. This is one of those things we swore we would never let happen once we were parents, but as I constantly learn: Never say never when it comes to parenting.

Two parents working out of the house means that your time at home with your kids or just relaxing on your couch becomes much more precious. On top of that, we tend to have a packed calendar for every weekend and do things with friends. Then there is the whole babysitter thing... It's complicated. We luckily have my very willing family surrounding us, but we get tired of asking and had limited success with babysitters. It was hard to fork over at least $60 on top of what you're paying to eat out or see a movie. However, we both have come to the point that we realize this has to change.

So, when I was invited to see Disney's Beauty and the Beast a couple weeks ago, I thought it would be a nice way for the two of us to have a night out. The last time I'd been in a theater was to see Wicked (and I love plays, musicals, etc.), so I was so excited to have the opportunity. But, nothing is ever that easy... With breastfeeding at the last minute and still not fitting into my clothes, I was running late. We grabbed appetizers and a couple of glasses of wine on the sidewalk patio of Atwood Cafe and then hightailed it to the Oriental Theater so I could try to pump a bit before the show started. I stood in a stall with my hand pump listening to the ten minute, then five minute, then one minute warning, making it to my seat just in time.

During intermission, I again made a dash for the bathroom. The old theater has beautiful bathrooms, but not nearly enough to serve the crowd, so I imagine plenty of people were wondering what I was doing in there as they could hear me furiously working the hand pump. At the five minute warning, I stepped out and checked my phone. My poor mom was having a rough go with B, who is either colicky or cranky, and likes to scream for a few hours every night. It must have been bad if she was even texting me to begin with, so I called to check in. With him screaming in the background, my mom tried to assure me that everything was fine, to stay and enjoy the show. So, of course I went back to our seats and told Matt we should go home. He refused. I needed some time away from the baby and he was right, but when you're breastfeeding it's so hard not to drop everything when you know the easiest way to console a baby is to feed him.

I spent the second half of the show distractedly checking my phone, willing time to speed up, and worrying about what was happening at home. We had been invited to a Q & A with some of the cast afterward, but instead hurried home to relieve my mom from a baby I imagined had spent the last three hours screaming.

We walked through the door to silence. Go figure. Apparently, he calmed down not long after we spoke. Happy Night Out to us!


As for the show... I liked it, but would have LOVED it if I were a 10 year old girl. Seeing some mom and daughters there together made me really want a daughter. (Otherwise, one of these boys better get ready for some theater outings.) The costumes and set was awesome and the actor who played Gaston (Logan Denninghoff) absolutely stole the show. I would love to see him in something again. He was absolutely perfect in every way, I could go on and on about him.

I'm not sure that it was the most romantic thing we could have done for our first night out since B was born, but one thing that I love about Matt is his willingness to do just about anything. When I asked if he wanted to go see a musical, mentioning I knew it wasn't the most exciting thing for him, his response was: "Of course I'll go. I own Singing in the Rain and it's one of my favorite movies. How many heterosexual males liked to watch Gene Kelly in high school?" He had a point.

If you loved the movie, you'll enjoy the show, especially if you're looking to do something with your mom, sisters, friends, or any young lady (or theater-digging male) in your life. It's worth checking out at the Oriental Theatre through August 7th. Tickets available here.
Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets to Disney's Beauty and the Beast, but was not compensated in any other way. The opinions in this post are mine.

7.21.2011

Baby Food Making Can Be Easy

I loved making W's baby food. I thought it was a really great way to connect to W through food and know exactly what he was eating. I blogged about it here and here and here and had a lot of fun doing it. It was so much less time consuming than you'd imagine and a ton easier. I've encouraged others to give it a try and know it seems like a big project. But, trust me, it doesn't have to be!

Bump Club and Beyond is hosting a four-part series this month in partnership with Whole Foods Market and Baby Brezza to teach new and expecting parents how to create and prepare fresh and healthy foods for their children. However, I think it's also a good fit for parents looking for new ideas, a refresher on feeding a youngster, or looking to make changes in how they feed their children. This is why I'll be at Baby Food Making: Meal Times for Babies 1+ Plus on Tuesday, July 26th at the Whole Foods on Halsted and Waveland in Chicago.

After making all of W's baby food and introducing him to new fruits and vegetables every week, it was hard to think of good, complex, nutritional options for the next stage. I remember the one year mark being a little challenging as I tried to expand my kiddo's choices, yet sometimes couldn't figure out what he was ready for. So, I easily got stuck on what was easy and a guaranteed win. For W, the one year mark was ruled by avocado, hummus, fruit, cheerios, yogurt, eggs, and cheese. All pretty easy, but kind of boring.

Join me on Tuesday! Tickets are $30 each and you can register at Bump Club and Beyond.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary ticket to attend this event.

Heat Wave and a Hint of Snow

Holy heat wave! It is scorching out there and each time I put W in the hot car he starts panting and spitting and slightly freaking out. It's like he has no idea why the car is so hot and is overcome by it. The kid who usually fights to near tantrum trying to stay outside to play every time we pull him out of the car has been making a bee line for the door, demanding I open it as quickly as possible. He is not a boy who appreciates this kind of heat.

When I put him down for his nap today, he handed me these books:


The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
and White Snow Bright Snow by Alvin Tresselt

Coincidence? I think not.

7.13.2011

Windtraveler: My BFF

For the From Left to Write Book Club we read The Unexpected Circumnavigation by Christihttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif Grab. This post was inspired by the book.

When my best friend, Brittany, first met Scott (who is now her husband) she told me everything about him, including the one thing that I knew made her really swoon: He shared her dream of sailing around the world. As they became more serious I knew it was only a matter of time before she would focus on making her lifelong dream of living at sea happen... You often hear people talk about grand plans or dreams to live a more unexpected life, but she is one of the few people who puts her mind to something and does it.

As I guessed, it would only be a matter of time before they set off to live their dreams. They left in October 2010. And they're still at it. (Check out their amazing blog, Windtraveler.)

They were married a few months before they took off and I shocked both of us by spending a good part of her wedding day weepy. Not because I was sad to see her get married, but because I knew we'd never share weekly bikram yoga classes and dinner again. It was the official countdown to departure time. It was the countdown to having her a phone call or 20 minute drive away. And being away from such an intimate friend is just kind of sad.

We've known each other since first grade and have a friendship that is impossible to describe. I can tell you exactly what she is thinking before she opens her mouth and she knows how to read me faster than I'm able to hide my emotions. In a world with many different types of friendships, ours is one that very few people will experience. There is something incredibly special in knowing that there is someone out there who knows all your secrets, can laugh at all your jokes, has seen you fall on your face, shares your joys, and loves you despite all of it. Before she left, she was the only friend I knew I would chat with every day and see at least once a week.

We can have an entire conversation on the phone with barely saying a word and just listening to each other breathe. We can make a feast out of a loaf of bread and a bottle of sauv blanc. I'm sitting here, trying very hard to put it into words, but I can't. We just know each other and rely on each other in a way most people don't understand. It's hard to explain, but so is friendship.

Right now she's back home for a month-long visit. (I should call it month-short, as a month is very quick when you consider they've been away for nine months.) The good thing is when you have a friendship like ours it feels like no time has passed, as if we've seen each other through. Yet, they've sailed 4500 nautical miles, seen and experienced incredible things, and completely changed their way of living. I've had another child, changed jobs, and witnessed my toddler become a little boy. And somehow I don't feel like we had to play catch up, we just picked up where we left off.

Two nights before they set sail we said our farewells at Belmont Harbor. After hugs, kisses, and misty eyes, Matt, William, and I strolled down the dock. I didn't want to say goodbye, but knew in that moment that we were both exactly where we should be and it felt right. Best friends don't have to be in the same place if they're connected on a different level.






For the From Left to Write Book Club we read The Unexpected Circumnavigation by Christi Grab. This post was inspired by the book, which I received a complimentary copy. To read how other bloggers were inspired by this group, visit From Left to Write.

7.06.2011

Recently Heard Around Here

Things we never expected to say, but now have...
  • "Oh sh*t, he pooped in my hair." (Me to Matt during a late night diaper change and, YES, somehow he pooped in my hair and OF COURSE I had actually taken a shower and dried my hair earlier that day!
  • "I'm not sure what to do, but he peed in his ear. How do you clean that up?" (Me to Matt after B had showered himself and the room)
  • "They absolutely did not give Howie a bath. I don't know how else I'd explain what's on my shorts." (Matt to me after we picked up Howie from the kennel this weekend after wondering whether it included a bath. Luckily we realized this before getting home when a mystery brown spot appeared on Matt's shorts, so he could be put directly in the bathtub)
  • "Maybe you need to get over your own vanity and consider a minivan." (Matt to me in one of our never-ending "what new car should we buy" conversations. My reply: NO.)
  • "I really don't want to go tomorrow night. I'm not sure that I'm comfortable leaving the boys for that long." (Me to my mom when discussing her plans to watch the boys tomorrow night while Matt and I see a show.)
  • "If you come into our house, you're guaranteed to see some boob." (Me to just about anyone who comes into my house. Interested in a visit?)
Does that sum up how things are going around here these days?