Lizzard Loves Blue Sky Snow Covered Vail

Friday, March 30, 2018

Friday Fun March 30, 2018. Spring clean up, Home brew, Mini daredevil

Lizzard loves spring time. I mean, in theory anyway. In reality, its pretty cold & dreary here during "spring" we pretty much go from winter to summer.....oh well!

1. Spring clean up in the yard
I love clearing out last year's old growth on plants to make way for this year. I was thrilled to learn that our lemongrass is still fragrant when cut! 
Who would've thought this dead leamongrass would still smell lovely??
It's fragrance is serious business if it can hang around throughout a snowy winter. It was such a refreshing, unexpected smell during a morning that was filled with last winter's dog poop clean up. Oh spring cleaning. The morning also happened to be filled with sunshine & not much wind - so it was delightful to be working in the yard. Dog poop aside. 

Also- more bulbs! Yes! Bulbs! Bulbs! Bulbs!!

2. Home Brewing Beer
So the first time Chris & I tried home brewing beer, we were living at my parents house while our house was being renovated. It did not go well. When it was time to taste test the beer, we were in for quite a surprise. The beer had gone bad as they say & when we opened the bottle it sprayed all over my Mom's brand new kitchen. It sprayed with the type of force you associate with champagne in locker rooms of World Series or Superbowl champions......lots of spray. Lots of rancid, nasty smelling beer all over a kitchen that was not ours....Ugh. At least my parents were out of town & not present for the mess or the frantic clean up that followed.
Cooking the grain into the water. Adding hops. All the things!

Fast forward a couple years to last Saturday when we finally got up the courage to try home brewing again (in the safety of our own kitchen :).
Cooling the beer down as fast as possible. Ice. Lots of ice.

 So far, it seems to be going better than our first try....we'll know more in another week or two! Stay tuned!
Daddy's littlest helper checking the gravity of the beer. I don't technically know what that means.
3. This Face

Ill fitting hat coupled with strong willed baby = this face. I love it.

4. Cuddle Bug

Meet Herbert the elephant, he was Lulu's Christmas gift from Santa last year. Owenn gets along swimmingly with Herbert. Can't blame him.

5. Our little daredevil 

Yeah. So, this makes me proud & scared at the same time. According to my mom (& general family lore) I was a kid constantly on the go, testing & pushing limits, climbing, exploring, wiggling free, and generally being hard to pin down. 

It seems that our little bug might share some of these qualities with her mama. Because standing up facing the wrong way in the cart are Target. Also climbing up the new we go!!

6. This video from our fair city
I hope you feel like you're watching an episode of Parks & Rec when you watch this video. It is ridiculous. The event seems to be a giant waste of $$ (but if timing works - I'm totally taking Lulu!) and maybe ill conceived, but we'll see. For now, this video literally had me dying laughing.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Friday Round Up 3/23/18....a day late. Traveling with a baby, grandparent love, exploring Kennet Square, Mom's group book club, cousin love, spring bulbs

Oops! Lizzard doesn't exactly love being late on this post, but my usual time to write it was occupied by catching up over the fence with a neighbor (while standing in the sun) and walking the dog; 2 things I do love :)

Without further ado:

1. Unexpected bonus of traveling with a baby
I've been so surprised these last 11 (!!) months of having Lulu by the kindness extended to us by strangers while we travel. I always sort of assumed that everyone on a plane or train would cringe when they saw us coming - but I've found the opposite to be true more often than not. People smile & wave & make faces & generally make Lulu a HUGE fan of travel.
Her jam is meeting all the friends she hasn't met yet - so a crowded plane or airport packed with people is right up her alley. Other travelers offer help (especially when I've traveled alone with the bug), hold doors, pick up dropped toys, and pretty much always comment on Lulu's cheeks. I honestly don't notice her cheeks! It makes me chuckle to myself every time because I'm lucky enough to have these chubby beauties as a part of my everyday! We traveled to the Philly area to see Chris' folks last weekend & it was a great reminder of the smiles Lulu brings to travel. Not just for us, but for our fellow passengers too.

2. The joy of a granddaughter to her grandparents

So sometimes being a stay at home mom is the best thing (most times) but sometimes it feels like all I do is wipe bodily fluids from myself & the bug, cook, clean, do laundry, repeat. In those moments where I feel overwhelmed by the amount of literal shit that occupies my days - all I need is to get Lulu in front of her grandparents. The bug is lucky enough to have 4 grandparents, a luxury which not every kiddo has. We live near my parents & see them a good bit and through a combination of travel & Facetime we see Chris' parents a good bit too. To see our daughter through the eyes of her grandparents is a reminder of what a gift she is. How incredible she is. How quickly she grows. The weight of her accomplishments. The humor in the shit (more easily viewed from the vantage point of not having to deal with it daily :) I love having the support of my parents living in our area (I can call to mind a very specific example - back in December when I was laying on the floor of Lulu's nursery sick with the flu & my Dad came to help. 

Or every time my Mom offers to babysit. Also all the times we just hang out - because being with adults I love during the day helps me maintain some shred of sanity!) 
So in those moments where I am filled with doubt about my ability to parent, keep a decent looking house, basically function in this job as a mom - I only need to get in touch with the 4 people lucky enough to be Lulu's grandparents for a fresh perspective and a good dose of love.

3. Exploring a new town - Kennet Square, PA
I love to poke around a town I've never visited before. I suppose I also love to explore towns I have visited before........but in this case - Chris, Lulu & I checked out a town new to all of us. There was a bit of a stomach flu scare at my in laws house- so we did some Lysol-ing and left for a few hours in the hopes of keeping ourselves healthy (turns out it was a false alarm - but our absence allowed Chris' parents to rest & us to have an adventure). Many of the towns in Chris' parents' area are lovely old main street towns. Many of them have cute shops, good food & enough to keep you busy for a day or more! I think Chris & I both would've stayed longer to go to some other shops - but Lulu needed a nap, so we headed home. We started by exploring WorKS a garage or auto body shop turned into shopping paradise! There were maybe 20 vendors selling everything from fresh flowers to bath products to furniture and vintage clothing. It was so fun to poke around what felt like several "in real life" Etsy shops. Airy with big windows and great selection, we did several laps before we were ready to head toward the main street. We had lunch at Philter, a coffee shop filled with light and reclaimed wood and delicious sandwiches. Quite kid friendly (which is not always the case for a good coffee shop) but not the friendliest service, maybe the barista was having an off day. 

We had fun in the kids store called Penny Lane Emporium, found some treats for Lulu & the shopkeeper was a delight - very friendly & talkative. Not to mention helpful :) A bottle shop affiliated with the Kennet Square Inn was filled with an array of local beer combined with bottles from around the country. KSI Crafts felt a bit austere for my tastes, but the man working there was more than willing to talk beer with us & it looked as though they have a tasting room for parties which is cool. State and Union is a high end (mostly) apparel shop with a slight bent towards the outdoors. Beautiful stuff, but a lot of it fell outside the price range I was willing to spend. I got a great hat for the summer & we got a fun mug. Oh the s'mores pie at Nomadic Pies was amazing. It was straight up delicious & wonderful & made me wish we could justify buying more than the slice we did. The shop was cozy, smelled amazing & had an incredibly helpful woman working there. They didn't have the mini s'mores pie - so she was willing to cut us a slice of a full size pie & sell it as a mini. Those small kindnesses from strangers go such a long way in my book. 

Lulu fell asleep while I was nursing her in the pie shop, so we knew it was time to go home!

4. Mom's Group Book Club

I love that one of the other mom's suggested starting a book club. I hosted the 2nd meeting last week. We read Donna Tartt's "The Secret History" which I would recommend but caution is really very dark. It is also long, which makes the darkness seep into you over its 550 pages. I had to take several breaks from it along my reading way!! I hated the characters but did want to know what happened to them, which I suppose is a testament to Donna Tartt's writing prowess. I adore the chance to hang out with these moms without our lovely littles around. It means we actually can converse in full sentences without constant interruption. We can eat a potluck meal and drink moderate (for me) amounts of wine & think and talk about adult topics. What a delight. The Mom's Group is less than a year old & the book club is only a couple of months old - so these are all budding friendships, but I do love the little community we are forming. Plus I love the excuse to set the table & make a GIANT pot of lentil soup with a few loaves of bread. I love having people over, its one of my most favorite things.

5. Cousin love
I love the rampant cousin love that Lulu is exposed to! I was the youngest of our 23 cousins; so I wasn't terribly close to too many of my cousins. Lulu will be somewhere in the middle of her (much much smaller) batch of cousins & so far has been showered with love & attention from her big cousins. This past week she got to spend lots of time with her big cousin Samantha in PA/DE, 

FaceTime with her baby cousin Neva & big girl cousin Hennie in CT,
and hang in real life with her big girl cousin Anne at the Zoo.
All in one week :) It makes me so happy that she will really get to know & (hopefully) be close to her cousins both near & far.


I swore to myself that I would plant bulbs the fall I was preggers. I did not plant one bulb. So in the 2 weeks that Chris & I had alone together before the bug made her debut; we walked around our neighborhood & I admired (with a significant amount of envy) my neighbors beautiful spring flower beds. Daffodils, tulips, hyacinth, crocus, oh my. A beautiful display of spring color was gracing the front of so many homes on our block. Not ours. Damn it. THIS YEAR IS DIFFERENT!
I asked both Chris & my Mom (oops) for bulbs for my fall birthday. It made me feel obligated to plant them.......because we ended up with upwards of 200 bulbs (double oops. don't ask 2 of the closest people to you for the same gift for the same holiday....the gift will rain down on you & you might feel equal parts overwhelmed & foolish). So while Lulu took naps last November (yes, we waited until effectively the last possible weekend to do this) we went outside in the chilly damp weather & dug trench after trench in our various garden beds. It was mildly miserable since we had waited so long, but see above regarding my sense of obligation.
I am beyond thrilled to announce that each day this week another area has started to show little green plants that could!! All over our (tiny) yard - the little plants who stuck it out underground all winter are ready for their close ups! We have virtually no idea what we planted where.....we were sort of dumping bulbs willy nilly by the end (see above re: damp/chilly weather) so it is going to be so exciting to see what these baby plants turn out to be! I can't wait.
I think perennials are basically magic. To plant something once & enjoy it for years to come is nothing short of a miracle. Happy first few days of spring everyone. I hope you find some joy in the bits of green showing themselves, despite our local highs in the 30s!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Friday Recap 3/16/18

Lizzard Loves book club.

And books, and reading books. Grown up books, YA books, kids books. I like most books! Stands to reason that I would like book club, huh? On that note, to the list!

1. Mom's Group Book Club

See above regarding my love of books. Its amazing to me how a great writer can make you feel like you are there- experiencing someone else's reality, feeling their feelings, celebrating their successes and mourning their losses. Its honestly magic. In some ways, great friends are similar - once you are connected and invested in the other person, you start to feel with them and for them in a way you wouldn't feel for or about a stranger. I started a mom's group a couple months after Lulu was born to answer the question "how do you make friends after college?" We had been living in our house/in our new town less than a year when she arrived and I didn't feel like we had met too many new friends outside of our amazing neighbors who we are pretty much eternally grateful for. So, I took to the internet (I figure, I met my husband on the internet, maybe I can find new friends there too?). As much as I struggle to keep my mindless usage of Facebook intact, it is great for connecting virtual strangers! The group was born & unbelievably has 140 members. There are always suggestions for new ways to get the moms together, including a book club! I hosted our last meeting and we had a great time discussing a particularly dark book "The Secret History" by Donna Tart. I love that book clubs help open my eyes to books I might otherwise never have picked up. I tend to like happy books with happy endings (for whatever reason this is even more true after becoming a mom..........who knows why?!?) So it was a great evening this week, plus an excuse to make a giant pot of soup, bake some bread & set a pretty table. Oh, and clean up the house...which doesn't get done nearly enough!

2. One Inspired Evening
You might know that I volunteer to serve breakfast to homeless & formerly homeless guests at Inspiration Corporation's cafe. I love doing it and have been doing it for years. It harkens back to my time as a waitress at a bakery in Oxford, OH while I was in college. It is cozy and casual and our guests tend to be kind (but just like the wider world, there are jerks to be found in any group of people & this group is no exception. I don't want to paint an unrealistic picture of this experience - which is why I mention it.) 

There is an annual art auction fundraiser we attend called One Inspired Evening. It hops & bops around the city, setting up shop in different warehouse style, industrial, raw spaces. They are always interesting & its a great excuse for us to check out a place we've never been before. The art is sold via silent auction on an app on your phone - it gets just as competitive as the old school paper sheet silent auctions did! The major difference is, you don't know who exactly you are competing against. We got to spend our evening catching up with friends that Chris went to law school with, staff of Inspiration Corporation as well as my friends who I volunteer with. 

A wonderful excuse to get dressed up in grown up clothes & eat delicious food & have extended adult conversation. Plus we came home with 4 pieces of art & a gift certificate for a professional photography session - so I'd say we did our part in supporting a cause we care about! It was also fun to remember 2017's event because I was 9 months pregnant, life was very different then :) 
What a difference a year makes....this is from 2017!!

3. Saturday beach walks

I love how close we live to the beach. I love that we walked there on Saturday, enjoyed the playground & walked on the sand. I love how much Owenn loves the beach. I'm excited for Lulu to start loving it too. A sunny (if cold) March day meant there were few other people out, but I was struck yet again by how completely beautiful it is. It is always a treat to go on long walks with Chris on the weekends, I like to walk by myself, but I really enjoy his company.

4. Visit from a dear friend

Oh man how I wish we still lived near each other! My wonderful friend Sarah & her husband relocated to Traverse City, MI 3 years ago. Rather than living 5 miles away from us, they now live 335 miles away. I don't have to tell you; but I will: that is far. It made my heart so happy when I got her text last week that she'd be driving down with her kiddos for the weekend. Yippee!! I was so excited to introduce our daughters who shared a due date! Her little love arrived a week early & the bug arrived a week late - so they are not birthday twins; but being pregnant together was something I was so so thankful for. 

It is simply glorious to spend time with old friends. There is no pretense, it is not work. There are shared memories to laugh about but no worry of saying the wrong thing. It was a tremendous several hours and it pretty much made my month. I think I don't allow myself to realize how much I miss my distant friends (probably to protect my heart from hurting) in my day to day life. Then we get together and it is as though a hole is filled that I didn't realize was there. After our visit we agreed that we must get serious about visiting each other more regularly, which seems like a pretty great thing to get serious about.

I hope you've had a great week with at least a few things to feel grateful for. 

Friday, March 9, 2018

Friday round up 3/9/18 - there's poop in here.

Lizzard Loves thinking the big thoughts.

Parenting a baby makes it hard to think the big thoughts very often, so I guess that's the theme of this week!

1. Came across this post today, a good read for partnered parents of little people. It resonated and made me feel not alone in all these feels I've been feeling lately. These are good things that make me happy.

2. A friend from my moms group invited me to go to a talk last night titled "Enough as she is: how to help girls move beyond impossible standards of success to live healthy, happy, and fulfilling lives" by the author Rachel Simmons. I so enjoyed spending adult time with my friend, the speaker was engaging, hilarious & fun but also touched on themes that I needed to hear as a grown up (that will hopefully also influence how I parent the bug). Its worth checking her out on Facebook or reading one of her books - lots of interesting information & helpful steps for raising a daughter in a world that tells her she's never enough. But frankly, I often have the feelings of "never enough"  - it was really reassuring to know that I'm not alone in those feelings - that the are in fact, pervasive in American culture. See what I'm saying about thinking the big thoughts?? Another theme that the speaker touched on was helping our girls find their purpose. I aim to do that with the bug, but what about my purpose? Not sure I know what mine is, but it bears some reflection, no?? Again - the big thoughts are getting thunk ;)

3. At the talk last night, the speaker showed this cartoon by Gemma Correll. Its hilarious. 

This woman's cartoons are hilarious. She is worth a follow on Instagram, when her cartoons pop up in your feed, they will make you giggle! Maybe laugh so hard you snort. I hope so, for your sake!

4. So this is long winded, but I love that the talk last night made me admit a white lie I told to Chris (& my Mom & sister- sorry guys), I lied about what I was doing when, moments after this photo 

was taken, my lucky little lady not only pooped in the tub, but put said poop in her MOUTH. Fuck.My.Life. So why didn't I prevent this from happening?? The story I told the 3 people I trusted enough to tell was that I turned around to get a towel. Lie. I was texting while parenting. I was too ashamed to admit that I was tied up on my phone while one of the loves of my life was ingesting her own poop. There's a lot to feel bad about in this scenario- but I felt doubly bad because for Lent I've resolved to keep my phone out of my hands/pocket/face while Lulu is awake. I want to focus on her & not teach her that my phone is more important than she is. Its one thing if I'm making phone calls, but in reality, the time I spend on my phone is often spent mindlessly scrolling through my social media feeds. Insanity. Why waste the minutes I have of awake Lulu time on inane shit? Hence the Lenten promise. I clearly fell off the wagon & had my phone with me in the bathroom before "the incident" happened. I was horrified at the consequences of my phone use, called her doctor to make sure she wasn't going to die, and then lied to 3 of the most important people in my life about it. THE COVER UP IS ALWAYS WORSE THAN THE CRIME!! In my case, not crime, but mistake. Still. This is all a long way of tying back to the talk I went to last night, where one theme that was touched on many times was self compassion. I'd read some about it, heard some about it, but had fallen off of the wagon on self compassion too. I'm back on it. Its important to know that I will make mistakes & I do not have license to beat myself up over them. Soooooooooo, the poop in the tub & in the mouth did not make me happy, though now that Lulu is clearly fine & not infected with something terrible- I can, and have, laughed about it. Because, well, poop. The learning something & applying it immediately made me feel so relieved. It felt so good to admit to Chris that I had told me a lie. I don't want to lie to him, or anyone really. So coming clean was a good thing indeed.

5. Spring is coming. If slowly, but coming! The snowdrops are out in full effect in our neighborhood (even a few in our yard!) and other plants are forcing their way up through the freezing ground to delight me with their spring green! This time of year in the Chicagoland area is dreary. Oftentimes rainy with temperatures in the 30s and 40s, "Spring" if you can even call it that, its my least favorite season. Cold dampness seeps into your bones and sucks your energy. But, (a VERY important but) there are these bits of beauty that promise good things to come. There will be flowers, there will be warmth, the sun will shine for days on end. Spring is a time of hopefulness for what lies ahead and these snowdrops always help me remember that. 

6. This sunrise.

Friday, March 2, 2018

TGIFriday Recap 3/2/18

Lizzard Loves Fridays.

Is there anything more obvious that I could say?!?

1. Fridays are wonderful
This is not unique to this week per say, but since Chris changed jobs last year - our family has actual "2 days in a row with no work" weekends ever single weekend. Every.Single.Solitary.Weekend. Since October! I went ahead and counted, that is 21 weekends, 42 days of uninterrupted family time. Our old weekend normal included an awful lot of work hanging over our heads. Chris constantly said things like "I'll read the paper for another 30 minutes before I need to get back online" at 8am on a Saturday. It was ridiculous. It was unsustainable. I honestly don't know how we lived so many years with the expectation of 7 day work weeks for him. All that said - our new normal is blissful. Friday evening to Monday morning without that work cloud looming. I've said it before, but each weekend still feels like a mini vacation to me. Clearly I adore spending time with Chris (we are, after all, married to each other!) but it is also fantastic to get some time to myself without needing to coordinate with (& pay) a babysitter. It makes me happy when Chris & the bug get time to themselves, since so much of the work week, Lulu & I hang solo. So yes to weekends. Every time. Friday means it is so close I can pretty much taste it. Cheers (with my umpteenth cup of coffee) to that.

2. Beautiful sunrises
The lights on the right are the city (& then the path lights :)

Also when I see them while running. I had the Owenn pup with me today, because I feel guilty if I go running without him, but if I have the luxury of an early morning run truly by myself - whoosh. It is glorious. To be totally quiet for 30 minutes, not telling anyone (dog included here) what to do, or feeding anyone, or cleaning anything up. Bliss. This morning the waves were crashing and the sun was waking up over the lake. It was fantastic (even if I was constantly pulling Owenn away from all the good smells he wanted to smell and rabbits he wanted to chase). 

3. Clean sheets and a made bed

Chris typically makes our bed, I appreciate him doing it for 2 reasons; I don't really like doing it & I loooooove when its done. It didn't get done today which was a perfect excuse for me to change the sheets & make it myself. As much as I don't like the act of doing it - I truly love the final product. 

4. Sunny & 60 degrees

The Chicagoland area has bonkers weather (maybe everywhere does?) but in the final stage of winter, we are often graced with a day or two of unseasonably warm & lovely weather. We had one of those days on Tuesday. If it is not going to be cold enough to snow; I'm happy for these days! The sun on my face, no jackets for anyone, a long walk along the lake, the dog & the baby playing on the tennis courts, people out everywhere & people in great moods to boot! These tiny little tastes of spring are pretty wonderful. So what that our actual spring involves a lot of 40 degree rainy days?? I'll take the beautiful ones when we get them.

Happy Friday everyone! Hope you get to enjoy your weekends!