Lizzard Loves Blue Sky Snow Covered Vail

Friday, October 19, 2018

Friday Recap 10/19/18 - Fall Beach Time, Lounging & Dancing Lulu, Onion Puppy, Coming Home, The Kindness of Strangers

Well, today we are off on a family adventure to Ireland! I'll be late posting next week as a result - but hopefully having an absolute ball with Chris & the Bug while we're away! On to this week though....

1. Fall Beach Time
Hi hi! I'm on the beach.
We had some sunny weather this week - one day was in the low 60s! It felt really great & made me want to take Owenn pup & the Bug to the beach. It makes me happy that in the off season Owenn can romp & run & roll in the sand without too much fear of repercussions. I hardly bring him to the beach in the summer- other than pretty darn early- so its nice to have the chance this time of year!
2 of my loves enjoying the beach
Lulu amuses herself by splashing in the shallows, climbing on the plastic boardwalk, and looking for sticks to throw for Owenn. I feel happy anytime I'm near the water - there is something so relaxing about the sound of the waves & the wind. To be able to look out over the water & see....more water is somehow quite calming. We do not live in a big city anymore, but we do have an urban feel to our suburb. The lake always gives me a nice break from our small city hustle & bustle.
Beach Bum Bug

2. Lounging & Dancing Lulu
They are hilarious. Full stop.
We sometimes go to a drop in playtime at a local community center. We went this week & Lulu & her friend Alex both struck this hilarious pose that my friend (& Alex's mom) caught with a photo. They crack me up.
Go Lulu! Go Lulu! Go Lulu!

Lulu's friends needed to go home before the singing started at playtime, but that didn't stop her from rocking out some of her sweet dance moves. She pretty much slays ;)

3. Onion Puppy
Onion Puppy

My friends got a puppy! Eek! We got to meet him on his second day in their house. He's adoreable & maybe driving his human parents a bit crazy. Kind of like a baby. Angel baby terrorist. Angel puppy terrorist.....I think it works! He's tiny & fluffy & has mini dagger teeth in his head! Can't wait to see how big he gets over the coming months - shouldn't be crazy as his parents were medium size. Still. Puppies. So. Darn. Cute.

4. Coming Home
Lulu was having fun - despite her scowl!!
 Because home is where Dada & Owenn pup are!! Makes me so happy to see Chris & Lulu get to have time together after Lulu & I were away last week. Just smile worthy, that's all :)

The bug is still SUPER into teeter totters!!
5. The Kindness of Strangers
Lulu tends to be a good traveler, she's had a bit of practice & is generally pretty flexible. She also puked in her pack & play on night 1 of our CO trip last week, so I'm not saying things are all roses & sunshine - but generally speaking we do pretty well.

Yeah. Not so much "sleeping" as quite awake!
Coming home from the mountains, I hoped Lulu would sleep on our short flight to Denver. Instead she watched with rapt attention the flight attendant's safety demonstration, demanded that I open the window shade, and mowed both bags of United Airlines pretzels we were given! Which is all to say- she most certainly did not sleep. Which left me in one of those ugly travel places where I began to panic about what my un-napped toddler would look like on the next leg of our trip.........which was a full flight where we were seated in the window, not the aisle.......I figured it would not be pretty since we were scheduled to land a full hour after Lulu's bedtime. 
I figured I had to try for an airport layover nap, we've never done it before - but I had approximately nothing to lose. I wrestled the bug into submission and rocked her in a relatively quiet terminal connector hallway. I had to wake her 2 hours later so we wouldn't miss our connection! Score one for the team!
Yay! Snoozing bug!!
But, this is not about napping exactly - its about how willing to help people are when you have a napping toddler on your lap in the airport!! One woman came up, asked for my phone to take a photo of us because "it is just so beautiful, you will want to remember it". Seriously? What a nice offer! And to say anything was "beautiful" about my unshowered, just took care of 3 toddlers for 2 days, been up since 330am self was quite generous indeed!!
Thanks stranger for snapping this photo for us!

Then Lulu chucked her little blanket stuffed animal lovey thing on the floor in her sleep. I caught someone's eye & waved them over........and silently asked them to please pick up the lovey. Thankfully the woman said, "I remember those days" and gave it to me.
Then my phone was near dead and though I was seated next to a power outlet - there was no way for me to get my cord plugged in because the outlet was on the same side as Lulu was sleeping. Insert another stranger waved down & more than willing to help. Sometimes its easy to think the world is going to hell in a handbasket. Days like last Saturday are a great reminder that people are kind and generous & willing to lend a hand. Particularly if you have your baby/toddler sleeping on your lap.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Friday Recap 10/12/18 - Colorado Cousin Time, October Summertime, Chicago Marathon Spectating

Woof. This is late, even for me! Happy Wednesday that I am pretending is last Friday everyone!!

1. Colorado Cousin (& Sister) Time

A childhood friend of my brother in law died of cancer late in September. A terrifically sad situation given that he was not yet 40 & he & his wife have 3 little kids. A family to keep in your prayers if you have the inclination. My sister & her 2 girls are in Colorado to soak up some autumn in the mountains, but that leaves her without her usual overnight babysitter, who lives in Connecticut. So Lulu & I flew out to spend a couple of days with my sister & the girls & then a couple of days just with the girls so Marg could fly to Michigan for the memorial services and celebrations of her husband's friend.
Lulu & I had some weather whiplash (see #2 for an idea of the home weather we left) when we woke up Wednesday morning to 6ish inches of snow in town & upwards of a foot on the mountain!! It was fun & freezing & all around great. I do wish Marg & I lived closer so that we could see more of each other, but at least we get to see each other pretty often :)

Lulu has started to say her version of "Hennie" which is making my heart basically explode. As far as I know it's the first name she's really trying to say. Amazing what a few days of constant hanging out can do for Lulu's little brain!

2. October Summertime

It was crazy warm at the start of the week - I mean - over 80 degrees in mid October seems insane, right??

Sometimes public nudity is the only option.

The only choice for this weather was to walk to downtown Evanston, get ice cream & check out the renovated Fountain Square. It was a bummer that the square was closed all summer for the renovations - but I think it turned out really well. I imagine it will be a gathering place for community members long into the future. And for a city without splash pads - the splash friendly fountain is a huge bonus.
Waving to passersby :)

The memorial to veterans brings thoughtfulness and reverence to the space - but in a good way - I like that public spaces can serve so many distinct functions.

3. Chicago Marathon Spectating

Watching the wheelchair races & elite field is incredible

For the 2nd year, we brought Lulu to Lakeview to watch the Chicago Marathon. The weather was cool & rainy, not the best but certainly not the worst either! We got to visit with my wonderful friend from high school while standing outside her building & cheering on thousands & thousands of runners.
Hopping on the train before it was fully daylight :)

We cheered for Chris' colleagues, my friends & a veritable shitton of strangers!
Lulu is a really good sport - she rolls with all of our "adventures" 

Lulu doesn't like when I cheer loudly it turns out. Frightening. I guess I should've known that would be the case!! That aside - it was a fantastic day. An event that makes me well up & gives me goosebumps every time.
The rain didn't scare us away!

Friday, October 5, 2018

Friday Round Up 10/5/18 - Don't Pave 10 Campaign, Simple Ways to Encourage Brain Development in Babies, Bike the Ridge

Happy Friday all! Hope you enjoyed Wednesday's blast of summer weather! 

1. Don't Pave 10 Campaign
We are so lucky to live on a community resource such as Canal Shores Golf Course. I am not a huge golfer by any stretch of the imagination - but I use Canal Shores for its beautiful green space almost daily. Lulu & I walk Owenn, we walk just the 2 of us, Chris will run the course in the early morning, we play in the snow & cross country ski there during the winter, its a fantastic, giant park open to all. Seasonally you must be willing to yield to the golfers........but that is what it is I suppose. 

Unfortunately there is a request for an easement to allow a private entity to pave much of hole #10 on the course. Once this happens, there will be no going back to the green space that was once there. I oppose the paving over of a beautiful natural community resource - I hope you do to. Click the link above to find out ways to speak out and speak up about this issue. I sent an email to all the people listed including this photo  - I hope it helps.

2. Simple Parenting Advice
I read this article on "5 Simple Ways to Encourage Brain Development In Your Little One"   - it really resonated with me. What delightfully simple things we can all do to foster healthy brain development in babies, our own & those around us. I figure the more eyeballs that see this piece- the better off our babies are. Win, win, win all the way around.

3. Bike the Ridge

I'm a sucker for community events. I love seeing people come together, often outdoors, to enjoy simple stuff that makes up the fabric of our community. People, food, music, it doesn't take much for folks to have an awesome time! This event, Bike the Ridge (which I assume is modeled after the City of Chicago's Bike the Drive event), happened last Sunday & was our first time participating. 

Lots of people turned out to ride bikes up and down Ridge, which is, on a normal day, off limits to bikes because it is so godforsakenly narrow for the 4 lanes of car traffic. So for one Sunday a year- the road is closed to cars & bikes get to have their run of it! The novelty is really the thing! We biked up & down in the chilly, drizzly weather & stopped to enjoy the students from the School of Rock perform some songs. Grabbed delectable tacos from Amanecer who was out with their food car.....its a tiny little car they peddle tacos from the hatchback :) Looking very forward to next year's event & hope for some sunshine!

I hope you all have a great weekend, despite the rainy/dreary weather forecast :(

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Friday Recap 9/28/18 - Fall Fest, Garden Beauty, Happy Bug, Cookie Monster

Oh dear. I am so so so so late on this post! Oops! Oh well, sometimes the Friday recap happens on a Tuesday! 

1. Lincoln Park Zoo's Fall Fest

I couldn't be more proud of my bestie for planning & executing Lincoln Park Zoo's Fall Fest. 

It is an awesome totally family friendly event held annually throughout the month of October (starting late in September :) Because I volunteer at the zoo, we are invited to the preview party and have loved it both last year & this year! 

All of the attractions, food & drinks are free to staff & volunteers at the preview party & we run around like crazy people trying to do it all. Lulu rode the Fun Slide no less than 3 times! It was awesome. She rode on her first kiddie Ferris Wheel & her first legit adult sized Ferris Wheel! 

As much as it is family focused - aka kiddo focused - Chris & I LOVE it. It is so darn fun. Thanks Stace for all of your hard work & planning an event we simply LOVE to attend.

2. Garden Beauty

I was struck by how beautiful this hydrangea in our backyard was last week, I snapped a photo.

And check out this ridiculous bean that is growing in the Edible Garden at the Lincoln Park Zoo! Pink & purple hiding in its green shell! Love it.

3. Happy Bug

We've gotten into the habit of taking showers with Lulu just to save time for everyone. I'm not sure when we stopped giving her regular baths, but it has been awhile. Last week we had a chilly rainy day that we had nothing planned. So, we took an afternoon bath & the Bug loved it :)

4. Cookie Monster

The same bestie mentioned above wanted to order 100 cookies from me for a tailgate she hosted last Saturday. What fun it was to have someone want me to bake for their special event! It was such a treat. Yum to Salted Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk cookies all over our kitchen!!

Friday, September 21, 2018

Friday Round Up 9/21/18 - "Be an Includer" blog post, Mary is a Catholic, Fall Fun at the Lake, Free Tickets, Bday Dinner, Beach Day

Hap-hap-happy Friday to you!

The title of this blog post is misleading because I feel like it misses the fact that plenty of grown ups need a reminder about the importance of being an includer & of course plenty of parents of sons need to teach them similar lessons. Maybe even the same lessons. As the mom of a young girl, I gobble up what I see as good advice for raising a happy, healthy, well adjusted daughter. I read about ways to make sure she respects her body, is empowered to use it for all kinds of good, respects her heart & others' too. Despite opening with a critique of this post - I really do appreciate its message.

My own Mom always taught me to be inclusive. There was no space for mean girl BS in our house (except the physical fights my sister and I engaged in........siblings are often each other's enemies before becoming best friends it seems to me!!). When I complained as a grade schooler to my Mom about the annoying girl who always wanted to sit with me, play with me, etc - she showed me how to reframe my negativity & straight up get over myself. "She just wants to be your friend" my Mom would say. "She wants to sit with you because she likes you" (duh - how could I be so blind as a kid?? Though, if I am honest - I, in that moment, probably didn't want to be her friend- she likely wasn't "cool" or "popular" as I've grown up - I've learned that cool & popular aren't necessarily all they are cracked up to be).

I am still a work in progress, but I do strive to be an includer in all aspects of my life. When I take the time to think about what my life's purpose might be, I come back to the idea of connection. I think making connections might be my purpose - whether it is connecting me to others or facilitating connections for others. It is my sincere hope that the Bug will learn to be an includer and relish the positive role she will have in her community as a result.

2. Mary is a Catholic!

Chris & I were honored by the invitation to serve as Mary's Godparents! She was baptized on Sunday surrounded by 4 generations of her Mom's family & 3 of her Dad's plus some close friends. 

The weather was beautiful, she was a rockstar & didn't so much as bat an eye when Father Foley poured water over her head! Tara & GR had a fantastic dinner party to celebrate after the ceremony was over. Congratulations to sweet baby Mary & welcome to Catholicism dear girl!
Sometimes you need a rib. I get it Bug.

Too bad I didn't take anymore photos. #fail

3. Fall Fun at the Lake

We hosted our first guests in our home via Airbnb last weekend! Eek! I feel really happy with how it all turned out, the family was great & had an awesome time in Evanston! But it meant we needed to not be at home since someone else was staying at our house :) To the Lake we went & enjoyed ourselves quite thoroughly! The weather was all summer but some of our activities screamed fall!

We have started going to the Apple Barn Orchard & Winery to pick apples - its closer to the house than the Elegant Farmer  & though we still love the Elegant Farmer - at this stage of the game, less time in the car is a really great thing.

Then we headed over to Pearce's for their customer appreciation weekend. Lulu took her first hayride (though there was no hay.........) to pick a pumpkin! She was still so little last year when I took her to the zoo's pumpkin patch.......she didn't really get it! But this year she was all about it. Picked out an acorn squash & a nice looking pumpkin!
Lulu's 1st (hayless) hay ride!

Trying to find the perfect pumpkin

This one. This is THE ONE.

4. Free Bears Tickets
Pretty great seats!

What a pleasant surprise to get free tickets to a Bears game! I hadn't been in years & the weather was ridiculously warm & summery (opposite of the last time I went when I couldn't feel my fingers or toes because of the cold). 

Unfortunate shot of strangers' butt & crotches...
A last minute date night was a great time. A good reminder to say yes to things even if it seems like a lot.......we had just gotten back into the house post-Airbnb guests checking out, we'd run around having fun all weekend, we were tired. So what? Free tickets don't come along everyday! I'm so glad we motivated & went! 

Brian Urlacher was inducted into the Hall of Fame during halftime
5. Birthday dinner with friends
I adore Mexican cuisine & am quite certain I would happily eat it weekly. So when we planned a dinner with 2 of my great friends, the restaurant here in town Taco Diablo came immediately to mind! They have the most ridiculously good chips & salsa, chunky flavorful guacamole & stand out tacos. The bartender was knowledgeable and friendly, the service is always top notch, and it has funky, fun decor. Check it out if you find yourself in Evanston - you won't be disappointed!
I appreciate the fact that these friends & I have been consistently celebrating birthdays together for the better part of 10 years. Despite the fact that life is hectic & busy & jobs are stressful  & one friend has 3 kids, we make it happen - dinner out 3 times each year!

Oftentimes we will make or buy birthday cake or cupcakes for each other's special day. Oftentimes the restaurants we choose offer their own desserts - so they don't particularly want us bringing in outside dessert. Oftentimes we eat the treats while sitting in a car together!! The weather Wednesday night was comfortable - but it had POURED rain before we met up & who wants to sit in a puddle? Not I! So birthday cake, complete with candle, in my friends car topped off a great night of catching up & delicious food. Pretty great indeed!

6. September Beach Day

It was 90+ degrees outside yesterday! Crazy hot & quite humid too! So the Bug & I went on a bike ride to the beach. What a treat to be swimming in Lake Michigan in September! We also ran into a friend from my mom's group who was having a beach day with her daughter - added bonus!
7. These Two

Total I suppose its three - but the Owenn pup rocking out with the Bug & snoozing with Chris both make me smile from ear to ear.