Lizzard Loves Blue Sky Snow Covered Vail

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Friday Recap 6/15/18 - Curry Chicken Salad, Parenting read, Pool time

Despite some of this week being cool, gray & foggy - I think summertime is here! I've had some late night/early morning time to do some thinking & reading about parenting this week, so that is a bit of a theme today!

1. "Be Careful"
Even before I came across this blog post, I realized I dislike the phrase "be careful" in parenting. It strikes me as too vague to be helpful & in constant use anyway. My hope for the Bug is to give her the space & skills so she can be smart, brave, good....which all lead to knowing her limits, stretching them and keeping herself safe while also leaving a lot of room for growth. This post made me do some more thinking about this and it made me realize how much I had already thought about it! I appreciate the writer's referencing research- not that others' opinions are valuable - but because it lends credibility to what feels right to me :)

2. Curry Chicken Salad

When we were visiting Marg & her family in CT, we bought adult snacks at the organic market near her house to take to the pool for a picnic lunch. Including in the delicious assortment was curry chicken salad. Lulu might have eaten a full 50% of the container! She's been excited about curry before - but this took it to a whole new level! It took me a bit of time, but I finally made her some yesterday. I used Ina Garten/The Barefoot Contessa's recipe which I made easier by using Costco rotisserie chicken (if you don't already buy Costco rotissserie chicken, you can do yourself a favor and start now. They cost $5 and someone else has seasoned & cooked it for you.....they are so damn easy. So damn tasty. Win win.) The only oddball ingredient that you likely don't have in your pantry is mango chutney - but she recommends a brand which I was easily able to add to this week's Instacart delivery (if you don't already use a grocery delivery can do yourself another favor & try one out! I've only used Instacart & Amazon Fresh, but the joy of not spending an hour plus of my summer days in a grocery store is worth every penny of added expense. In this case specifically - not having to wander the jam aisle, the international aisle, the "where the fuck is the mango chutney" aisle, and then wander even more trying to find a staff member to ask, all with the low grade stress of feeling like I'm missing out on minutes of backyard playtime, bike riding, dog can't put a price on that.)

3. Pool time

The cool May weather made for cold lake water at my parents' summer my sister & I joined a local hotel's pool - since they have indoor & outdoor - it is a great sunny or rainy day activity! It is so fun to see the girls enjoy the water together - a lot of cousin love happening so far this summer!!

I'm so late on this post (given that it is now midday Tuesday...........) I'm going to leave it at 3! Hope you are all having a great week so far - stay dry if you are local!

Friday, June 8, 2018

Friday Round Up - 6/8/18- Summer visit to the Platts, family family family time

It feels official: 
summertime is here! Hooray! 
This calls for time 
at the pool, 
in the garden, 
visiting family, 
at the ice cream shop, 
at the playground,
running and biking, 
swinging on the giant swing....
pretty much all the things 

1. At the pool
Its tough to get a good photo with 3 kids involved!
I'm so glad Lulu finished her 1st session of survival swim lessons. It has been awesome to see her progress over the 4 weeks of the class. What a relief not to be in the car for an hour each day to get to/from the lessons either! Whoosh, I don't love being in the car - especially not when the weather is so nice!

We went to the pool in CT while visiting Marg, Kobi & the girls - our niece Neva just finished her first session too - pretty cool to see her & Lulu practicing their skills side by side!

2. In the garden
The biggest big helper
Marg & Kobi have a fantastic tiered garden bed in their yard planted with a veritable cornucopia (when's the last time you got to use the word cornucopia?? Find a way to work it in....its super satisfying!) of veggies and fruits. Hennie is excited to help and also build houses for the bugs she sees (also known as "buggies" in toddler speak :). I have said it before, but it bears repeating - there is something so relaxing about digging in the dirt.
The first tomatoes are coming in!
3. Visiting family

 We had an excellent time visiting Marg & Kobi & their girls in their Pleasantville-esque town in CT. It is quaint & lovely & friendly & full of fabulous places to eat.

We continued Chris' birthday celebrating out there too - can't stop celebrating the big 4-4!!

4. At the Ice Cream Shop
We did our best to get all 3 girls on the bench & looking at us.....
What is it about late afternoon/evening visits to the ice cream shop that seem so essentially "summer"? Chris & I were discussing that again last night - it is just the best to have a warm day/night & spontaneously decide to go for ice cream. The town where Marg & Kobi live has a fabulous ice cream shop with a giant cow bench out front- the makings of a funny cousin photo, to be sure :)

5. Picnicking
Bobo, Neva & Liam

Neva was working really hard to help herself to pickles. Girl after my own heart!

Marg & her girls flew home with Lulu & me and we all got to have a lunch picnic at my parents/GR & Tara's house yesterday! What a wonderful treat to have 7 cousins all in the same place at the same time for the first times this week!!
All 7 cousins! Age 3 weeks to 8.5 years!

Picnics are hugely messy when little kids are involved - but I wouldn't trade being covered in avocado, pickle juice, & watermelon juice for the fun of relaxing with my parents, sister, sister in law & all 7 kids. It was a glorious, warm, sunny, perfect day for a picnic.
Aunt Margaret & Baby Mary
Sometimes I have vague anxiety about having too many summer plans and not enough time to just be. Yesterday was impromptu, spontaneous, and perfect. We worked in a couple hours of fun while all the kids were awake (well, our family's newest addition isn't yet 1 month she slept through a lot of it!) without any effort at all. We ordered sandwiches to be delivered, which my Mom generously treated us to, we made the mess outside, and everyone had fun.
What a simple, summery win it was.

6. At the playground
Lulu bean loved this thing at the CT park

The teeter totter is more fun with your cousin! Also while wearing a medal ;)

I think Lulu would take up residence at the park if we let her. She adores going to the playground! We visited an awesome one in CT with Hennie & Neva; the girls had a ball!
Back at the Bug's home park, a block from our house!

Standing up on this spaceship thingy because why would you sit on it?!?

7. Running & Biking
Lulu loved the medal!

Marg finished 2nd in her age group!! Woo hoo!!

Chris & I did our first ever duathalon while in CT! It was a success! 2 mile run, 13 mile bike, 3 mile run! Whoop! We didn't exactly train for the race in the hills of Connecticut....but we survived & had a great time doing it! Marg is much more of a triathlete - she rocked the swim, bike, run option!
Chomping on some string cheese on the bike

I've decided this will be the summer of biking - I don't want to use the car to go places that the bike will work just as well; so Lulu & I rode to my parents house for our picnic yesterday. Despite the fact that I arrived sweaty with bangs plastered to my forehead in all kinds of wonky ways - it was a ton of fun. I swear Lulu said "bike" when we went outside to hop on for our ride! She seems to want to talk more than ever & we are seeing glimpses of language emerge, which is astoundingly cool.

8. Swinging on the Giant Swing
How many is too many on the swing?!?

GR & Tara have a most excellent giant tree swing in their yard & yesterday was Lulu's first ride on it! It became a ride with 2 of her cousins too! #summer
Note my filthy feet!

Friday, June 1, 2018

Friday Recap 6/1/18- Memorial Day, Chris' Birthday, Gardening, Backyard Bath

Memorial Day weekend was a great way to kick off this week - particularly because Chris got a half day at work, so was home by 1pm!! Summertime, we are READY for you!

1. First visit to the Lake for the summer

It was a busy fall & not a terribly snowy winter, so we had gone many months without going up to the Lake. Which is a bummer since we love spending time at my family's home there.

It was great to be back, the weather was in the 90s and pretty sunny for our visit. We worked hard on getting the deck set up, everything swept, getting organized, etc.

There is a fair bit of work that needs to be done when no one lives in a house full time.

We had delicious meals, so much time outside & the satisfaction of checking a few things off the to do list!

We also seem to have avoided the stomach bug that is ravaging our family, which we are eternally grateful for!

2. Memorial Day backyard hang

We were so happy to have been included in our friends' backyard grill out for Memorial Day! We left the lake early to 1. avoid the stomach bug germs & 2. go to Lulu's swim we were home on actual Memorial Day, which we typically aren't....because of our love of a long weekend at the Lake.
But we also adore being home! We rode bikes to our friends' house & had a fantastically summery evening of watermelon, playing in the sprinkler, burgers, corn & fun with neighbors.

3. Early morning blogging

So lemons into lemonade - I did last week's Friday round up this week on Tuesday..........which admittedly felt like Monday because of the long weekend - but still - Tuesday is 4 days past Friday....oops! Lemon = 4 days late, lemonade = a beautiful morning to blog in the backyard! Coffee, computer, early morning sunshine. What a delightful combo.

4. Early morning gardening
The Mother's Day clematis is blooming!
Coffee, early morning sunshine, & gardening. Another truly delightful combo I got to enjoy this week. I bought 1 each of tomato, strawberry, spearmint & lemon balm plants on Memorial Day Monday (along with 16 bags of mulch....12 of which I spread.....still more to do) and got to plant them in their pots on Tuesday morning. 
I had a helper in the garden
There is something so relaxing about digging in the dirt & caring for plants. I don't know what it is exactly - but I have grown to love gardening in the last few years. I suppose there is a big part of my personality that is a caretaker. I like taking care of people, details, food, and so on....plants also need to be taken care of! I love the process of getting the pots ready and adding compost to the soil, fertilizing, mulching, and watering the little plants and then waiting & watching to see them grow! I'm still a super newbie - but each thing I try I learn something, so that's good!
Part of the fun of gardening is getting totally messy

 I still haven't tried to grow anything from seed - I buy seedlings from the store or farmer's market......would love to hear about your experiences growing from seed! I am intimidated by it for whatever reason.
Some of my mulch work
5. Chris' Birthday
Hooray for my love's special day yesterday! I am quite grateful to have a partner who I trust so much, have such fun with, and can be confident parenting with. It's bonkers that this is the 10th birthday I've celebrated with my love! There were cupcakes, delicious pizza takeout, even more delicious beer (which we drank in our front yard - we moved our adirondack chairs to the front since they were virtually never used in the back!), cards from family, gifts & dinner together just the 3 of us. I hope my love enjoyed his day- though the celebrating will continue this weekend when we visit my sister & her family and started last weekend at the Lake! Here's to birthday celebrations that last more than a day!

6. Backyard bathtub
This is why you always need a random, empty storage bin in the basement!
 Lulu & I made a painting project for Chris' birthday & it involved Lulu's hands & feet in paint. I knew full well I would be covered in paint if I tried to bring her into the house to wash her off - so I took yesterday's hot weather as a sign it was time for Lulu's first backyard bath! Oh the adventures we have on Grant Street....
Happy Happy Lulu Bug 
The cutest

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Friday Recap May 25, 2018 - Grilling, 1st Birthday Party, New Niece, Edible Garden

Well, summer is here! 
Given what a lame/cold/rainy/windy spring we had, that is hugely exciting!

1. Breaking in our new grill
I may have left the peppers on a touch too long....

We felt so lucky to get our new (to us) grill this winter from my uncle & aunt who were moving. They were planning to junk it, so gave it to us for free. It is giant & wonderful & we feel really lucky (REALLY) lucky we didn't need to invest in a new one this year. Now that the weather seems to be on the upswing, we've been spending time in the backyard & on the patio enjoying delicious grilled food.

2. 1st Birthday Party

It is so fun to see Lulu's baby friends growing up alongside her! We had a blast at her bud Theo's 1st birthday party, the weather cooperated & we got to enjoy our friends' backyard while Theo enjoyed his first taste of cake!
Lulu enjoyed double fisting cheese.....

3. More time with our newest niece
Proud & capable big brother!

You can see more photos of our sweetest little lady Mary here, but we had a great family dinner Sunday night & loved to be with her!
Smitten Bump with his newest grandchild
Mama, big sister & big brother with Mary

4. The funniest bug
She was cracking me up this week!
Just plain happy

Relaxing in the laundry basket

Dare devil Lulu

Who needs a water table when there is a dog water bowl??

5. The Edible Garden
This doesn't do justice to the size of the main garden! Its giant & full of organic produce!
I took all of the 2017 season off from the Edible Garden at the Farm in the Zoo at Lincoln Park Zoo because it was right on the heels of Lulu's arrival. I guess it was my volunteering maternity leave :)
The strawberries are coming! The strawberries are coming!
It was so nice to be back there visiting with curious guests, digging in the dirt, sweating in the sunshine & generally loving every minute of it. 
I don't give much thought to volunteering being my "me" time away from Lulu, it just happens to be a hobby I value quite highly, so I spend money on a babysitter to do it. It was interesting to chat with another mom while I was in the garden this week. Her toddler daughters were helping us move compost around & exploring the earthworms that had made their way into the compost piles. The mom seemed shocked that what I was doing was my "me" time. Its not really so shocking, is it? A few hours in the sun helping other people learn about where their food comes from, organic gardening, &composting? I guess its because I pay someone to watch Lulu while I don't get paid? Maybe. The thing is, as I mention above, volunteering & gardening are both you commit to finding time to pursue your hobbies, right? I have & I am convinced I am a better person because of it.
This view on my walk to & from Hondapants isn't too shabby
There are SO SO SO many veggies, fruits, herbs & flowers planted! As things mature & ripen, they are available to sample which is always a bonus. You can expect to help spread compost, water plants, dig in the dirt, harvest & hopefully learn something new!  It is worth a visit if you are ever in Lincoln Park on a Wednesday, Thursday or Saturday morning.

6. Swinging with friends
Kalil is enjoying this swing session more than the Bug!
I love that the warm weather encourages evening park dates with our friends who live on our block. When the weather is nice I want to squeeze every single solitary last drop of fun out of our days! Lulu is starting to want to get out of the swings and be on the move; but I can usually get her to stay put for a few minutes.