Friday, October 30, 2009

Day 303.

Dylan today: "Mom, are you weared out or stressed out?"

Yikes. She's been asking me if I'm "weared/worn out" a lot lately - really - do I look that tired and frustrated? I have been pretty tired lately. I can't get myself to go to bed before 11:30 - and when Noah wakes up at 5:30-6am each day, that's not enough sleep for me.

But geesh, I hate that my daughter is watching every eye roll and listening to every sigh. I'm not that unhappy...I just may be coming across that way.

I am grateful for a child reality check.

It's hard to not act frustrated/worn out/stressed out when I feel that way. But maybe that's the problem. Besides extra sleep, I think I just need to chill out on most things. I don't need to FREAK OUT if I mess up a recipe. I don't need to FREAK OUT if they want to get another cup for water when they already have one. I don't need to FREAK OUT when someone spills the big tub of markers all over the floor. Ok, so that will be hard, but it is necessary. I need to practice my deep breathing and start smiling more and stressing less. Life's too short to stress about markers.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Day 302.

I am grateful for kid interpretations.

It's always fun to talk about what daddy does at work all day. Or in my case, what I teach my Bradley Method students. This afternoon, Dylan just started telling me what I would teach my childbirth students tonight. Here is her list of things of teaching points:

1. The first thing you need to do is push the baby out.
2. The second thing is when your water breaks, you have to go to the apartment building to have your baby come out (where did she learn about water breaking?!?!)
3. The third thing is wash your hands every time before you touch the baby.
4. When you don't have a baby, then you lay around and watch TV all day (so that's what you all do who don't have kids!).
5. Take care of your baby lots and lots.
6. And the sixth thing for your baby is you have to milk them.

Childbirth and newborn parenting in a nutshell.

Day 301.

Wednesday, October 29, 2009.

Jason has a lot on his plate right now. I hate to see him this busy and stressed because there isn't a lot that I can do to help. Make dinner for him, do his laundry...things that I already do. But I can't make his job easier or do his grad school research paper or reading for him.

I am grateful for Jason's hard work.

I know that I get selfish sometimes, because I'm not seeing what's going on at work and school for him. I only see what is happening with us at home, so I get impatient when he can't come home and relieve me from overwhelming days at home. I don't want his weekends to be filled with work, I want them for family time. And I don't want his evenings to be chocked full of grading papers, planning and reading for school. I want his time! I guess I miss the summer - when every weeknight we just sat together and watched shows, caught up on life and enjoyed each other's company. The school year (with grad school especially) is not like that. And I shouldn't expect it to be. THIS is life. We have to have money to live, so we must earn it somehow, and I'm so grateful he does that for us.

Thank you, Jason, for doing this amazingly hard and stressful work for us, your loving family. You make it possible for me to stay home and raise our children right now. We do want you home more, and we do get sad when you can't be as available as we want you to be. But, we will try and be more understanding. You have so much on your plate, and I don't want home to be another place you get stress. It should be your refuge, the place you look forward to no pressures. I am going to try and work harder to make that happen.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Day 300.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009.

We went to the Garfield Park Conservatory today with good friends Christy, Caroline and Case. We spent a lot of time indoors enjoying the humid plant weather, but did venture outside for about 40 minutes of running around.

I am grateful for unstructured outdoor play.

It was amazing - the scenery was bleak - a huge circle path with brown grass, a patch of just planted trees, and that's about it. But the kids made their own fun. They just spontaneously started this whole elaborate story line - something about teachers and school and trees. They were running around together hand in hand all over the big grassy field and having a blast. It was cold, and I had under-dressed them (no sun as promised on, but they didn't even notice cause they were having so much fun. Christy and I were the ones who made everyone go in - we were freezing cause we weren't imagining (and running).

For this exactly, I want a big backyard. I want space for my kids to run around free and make up stories and feel uninhibited. I don't want to be the director of playtime all the time - I want them to be inspired by nature. I guess this happened today even without us having a big backyard - we just have to make more opportunities for going to these kind of places - where they can be free and RUN. There aren't a lot of places set up for kids in the city that are this open and free.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Day 299.

Monday, October 26, 2009.

Today started like any other Monday morning. Dylan had preschool and Jason had the car, so we were walking. I carried the stroller outside and the kids climbed in. We went along our way...

Three blocks later a lady stops me (who is coming from the other direction) on the side of the road. She is calling out her rolled down window and I have to stop the stroller and move closer to hear what she is saying - she was saying something over and over again, so I knew it must be important.

I got about 4 feet from the car when I began to hear her.

This is her:
"I saw you come out of your building, and I saw that you didn't buckle your children in the stroller. I really think you should be buckling them in. It's not safe..."

And I stopped listening. Not only did I stop listening but you better believe I started talking (as she continued to explain herself). This is me:
"Are you KIDDING me that you are telling me this right now? Are you their mother? Wow." A big sarcastic thank you, a huge roll of the eyes and in disbelief I went back to my stroller muttering about her nerve. Was she stalking me and following me as I walked the three blocks from home?

Dylan and Noah didn't understand what had happened and why I was upset. They kept saying, "What did that woman say to you mommy? Why are you mad? She wasn't very nice to you, was she mommy?" They could tell I was on fire inside.

I mean COME ON. Criticize my cooking. Tell me I'm fat. But DON'T tell me I'm not a good mother. I couldn't stop muttering, "I cannot believe her!" and Dylan was obsessed with the whole situation. I finally wanted to just stop thinking about it, but Dylan wouldn't let up. I told her, "Dylan, I just want to forget about it. She wasn't nice and it's making me angry to think about it."

Well, my ever-sensitive daughter said, "Mommy, can I just tell you ONE thing?"
"Sure," I said.
"One part of what she said was nice," Dylan responded.
"What was that?" I asked.
"The part where she doesn't want us to get hurt or fall out, so she thought we should have on our belts," she replied.
"'re right," I cracked a smile. And she was - completely 100% right.

I am grateful for "It takes a village."

I've always heard that expression and in theory agreed whole-heartedly with it - communities should take a vested interest in the raising of our children. As a philosophy, I love it and know it was how life used to be, and still is in many cultures. But, here in my urban-American environment where I am the gatekeeper for my child's well being, I do not want anyone questioning my decisions as a parent. So, it wasn't a huge decision to not buckle them in the stroller. It was just what we did. They are 2.5 and 4.5 - not babies. They have NEVER fallen out of the stroller. I'm strolling, not jogging. And they aren't wiggly in the stroller...ever.

So, was I justified in being ticked off that lady X made a judgement about my parenting decision? Well, maybe. But maybe it was also no big deal. Maybe she was just a nice lady who really did care about children and didn't want to see one get hurt for lack of good advice about stroller safety. Maybe she had a family member who was hurt in a stroller-related incident and just feels strongly about this particular issue.

Whatever the reason she stopped me, my overreaction was far more embarrassing than her attempt at conversation. What ever happened to "It takes a village to raise a child?" Should I be so righteous about my every parenting move that I have to get upset if someone questions my judgment on stroller safety?

After thinking about it for the morning, I talked to Dylan on the way home about it again. And I told her I thought I overreacted. I told her that the lady was just being nice, and just didn't want them to get hurt. I shouldn't have been upset about that.

Dylan said, "Mom, isn't that what I said this morning?"
Yep, sometimes it takes adults three hours to understand what a 4 year old does in 30 seconds.

Day 298.

Sunday, October 25, 2009.

I am grateful to pay it forward (someday).

A wonderful older couple in our church took us out for Indian food today after church. We have been the beneficiaries of this relationship before, and it feels so incredible to have someone do that for you. You, the young couple without a lot of extra money to spend on the Indian buffet every Sunday.

I want to remember these acts of financial kindness that others give to me. Because I want to be that person someday too. When Jason and I have the money to take a young family out to dinner, I hope we do it. The young couple will really appreciate it, for the company, for the care it showed, and for their bellies full of Chicken Tikka Masala. Yum.

Day 297.

Saturday, October 24, 2009.

I am grateful for Karen.

Karen is my mother-in-law and it was her birthday today. She spent some time at the Morton Arboretum with us for Trick or Trees and we helped her celebrate with date bars, some gardening presents Noah helped me pick out, and a smiley face balloon that Dylan picked out.

Thanks, Karen, for loving me like one of your own, opening your arms to me (even when you met me for the first time and I had an eyebrow ring, if you were questioning, you didn't show it!) and for accepting me completely.

You are an incredible grandmother to my two precious babes and they adore you. You get on the floor and play elaborate made-up stories with them and the fisher-price people and last much longer than I claim to. You make them large bowls of ice cream which they adore (and I try to ignore! :)) You buy them special books and extra underwear to have at your house since I always forget an extra pair. You are a wonderful person and a fabulous grandma. Thanks for being you!

Day 296.

Friday, October 23, 2009.

Book club was tonight. What a fantastic group of women I have the privilege of calling my friends.

I am grateful for book club.

I didn't do well in my last book club. In that one, I felt like I wasn't smart enough to be a part of it, which really made me feel angry. I didn't work for NPR, I wasn't an urban planner, and I didn't live in the west loop in a loft. So, I wasn't very cool I guess. Oh yeah - and the first book club, it was decided that there would be no alcohol served during book clubs. I should have walked out the door then and there...not because I have to have a glass of wine to talk about books...but they didn't want the discussion "impaired" in any way. Yikes.

But THIS book club? This mom's book club? This is ABOUT the wine. It's about the good conversation, the relationships, and the literature. And oh yeah, we all love to read the books and love to discuss them, but if we don't discuss them, we live. And if you don't even read're still welcome.

That's the kind of book club I like.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Day 295.

Being gone at a birth yesterday all day, I didn't think about my kids much. I was focused on my job - to protect the space of the laboring couple - to be their right hand woman. It was an amazing experience that I will never forget. But when that baby came out and I remembered that moment in my own past, I wanted to hold my precious babes right then and there. I wanted to look into their eyes, pray for them, bless them, and revel in them.

I am grateful for my two births.

Today I replayed the birth from yesterday many times again in my head. They had given birth in the same tub as I had birthed Dylan. It was a really cool experience being back in that room again.

Dylan's birth was so fast and so perfect. The journey to motherhood seemed to catch me by surprise. I was two weeks early, and the midwife barely got there - I remember them sending in an OB to stand watch until she arrived, and later we found out that the midwife had gotten pulled over by the cops on the way to the hospital cause she was trying hard to be there in time (no, they did not give her a ticket). She made it, and we only were at the hospital about 45 minutes before she was born, underwater, in the middle of the night, in the wee hours of Monday morning.

Noah's birth was also in the middle of the night, also in the wee hours of a Monday morning. It was also perfect in it's own way. We were only at the hospital for 30 minutes this time before he was out. The tub was being filled, but I never made it in before he was born. His labor was also fast, and even more furious, but the midwife was there ahead of us - my chart had a "fast labors" tag on it, so they had learned their lesson from the first time. Noah's birth had such a horrible aftermath, finding out about his bladder exstrophy, and not knowing how to cope, what to think, or who to turn to. It was a whirlwind of desperation, and those first few hours after his birth are the most surreal and confusing I've spent on earth. But looking back now, it was exactly as it should have been.

Both births were natural. Both births were miracles. Both births were hard as hell! And both births were perfect.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Day 294.

I am grateful for birth.

Being a doula is the best job in the world - how can you top being there for a couple in the most intimate and wonderful day of their lives? It is an incredible blessing to watch a baby being born into this world. It is hopeful, miraculous and an amazing privilege. I feel honored to have witnessed this little girl born into water this evening. She is perfect. Birth is amazing, no matter the details of the journey.

Now if I could just fix the spontaneity. I'm just not spontaneous...I'm realizing that as I approach 30. I like to plan WAY too much for this profession...

Day 293.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009.

Dentist! It's been almost a year since I've been to the dentist. At some point in my young life, I wanted to be one. What was I thinking? The dentist is quite possibly my least favorite place to go. I cringe just thinking about the cold air and water they spray on my sensitive teeth and how that buzzing machine makes my skin crawl. YUCK. I hate the dentist (not the man, just the experience).

I am grateful for no cavities!

I have not been blessed with good teeth, so I never go to the dentist without having to return for some follow-up work. This time was different - "Come back in 6 months" was music to my ears!!

Day 292.

Monday, October 19, 2009.

It's going to be a cold, wet week...not so much October-weather. That stinks for me, because I love love love fall. I love 50s and 60s more than any kind of weather. I love jeans and sweaters, not winter coats! I love fall colors, not rain clouds. I love pajamas, but don't want to throw on the afghan quite yet. I love pumpkin everything, and am not prepared for christmas cookies yet. But even though it's cold and yucky, I still have something to be grateful for.

I am grateful for heat.

I often complain about our heating system - we have radiator heat and we control the heat for our whole condo building. That may seem like a wonderful privilege, but it ends up being a curse, because our unit is the hottest in the building (for an unknown reason). So, we have to crank up the temperature so everyone else is warm! The kids run around the house naked all winter cause it's pretty hot for clothes. So, it could be a downside, but when I come into our home from being outside on a cold, windy, rainy day, that moist radiating heat surrounds me and I am so very grateful.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Day 291.

I was at my mom and dad's church (formerly MY home church) in Champaign-Urbana today and was treated to a wonderful worship service.

I am grateful for The Parables.

The Parables were the worship team from Goshen College, where I also went to school. And realizing that these college students were 10 years younger than me was pretty eye-opening. But, it was more than that of course. The worship experience they provided was even more unbelievable than how far I am from college-age. There were several times when I found myself tearing up at their testimonies and even more so, their music. When they broke out with "O Happy Day" (fond memories of Sister Act), I about lost it. There is no way you can listen to that song, sung like that, and not believe whole-heartedly in the love and forgiveness of sins in Christ.

My Spirit is full.

Day 290.

Saturday, October 17, 2009.

My best friend from high school got married last week - and her reception in Champaign was last night. It was incredible to see her in a beautiful wedding dress, so happy with this new man beside her...whom I'd never met! That was weird, let me tell you - I now know what she must have felt like when she came to meet Jason at my wedding - it's weird to see someone who is so a part of your life - close and intimate with someone you don't know at all.

I am grateful for roots.

Monique and I had a really special relationship in high school. We were inseparable. I had a guy (whom I had liked during high school) tell me after graduation that he never asked me out because I was just always around Monique all the time - that we were too close...a bond that couldn't have been broken by stupid high school guys I guess.

I realized again just how special this friendship was this morning, when my kids and I went to a brunch at Monique's family's house. We wanted to get to know her new husband better, and to just celebrate with the whole family. What a blessing it was to be there. Monique's family is Mormon, and I have never been or ever will be Mormon. But, I am accepted into their home like one of their children. When someone showed up at the brunch, they actually asked if I was one of "the sisters" (Monique has four sisters). Both of Monique's parents did not hesitate and said confidently, "YES!" It meant so much for them to say that about me, 11 years after Monique and I graduated from high school and really 11 years after I was in their home regularly. I knew the impact their family had on my life, but I hadn't thought about the depth of those roots...with this family that wasn't even my biological family. They had given me so much during those four years of potential high-school angst. I hadn't thought about that time for awhile, and the emotional impact it had on me. These roots in love and acceptance from Monique and her whole family, along with obvious roots from my own biological family have helped me to grow into the woman I am today.

I hope someday I can be that family to one of my children's friends. It's not like I needed a stable home - I had it. It was just a bonus for me - to have a second family that loved me like one of their own.

Day 289.

Friday, October 16, 2009.

I am grateful for humble pie.
Isn't it yummy?

I take Noah to a soccer class each friday morning while Dylan is at preschool. He absolutely loves it and looks forward to it all week. He runs like crazy, kicks balls around and enjoys being part of the group, listening to the coach.

As you will sometimes have in these little tot classes, there is one child who has a really hard time staying on task...okay, that's a major understatement. He does exactly the opposite of what the coach wants him to do - for the entire hour. Now, I have had that child before - namely Noah in gymnastics! He never wanted to do what was the proper group activity at the time, and it was hard for me. I just wanted to encourage him to be a part of the pack and listen and follow directions. But it was hard!!

So, fast forward to soccer when he is totally the kid who is at coach's heels all the way through class. When coach says sit on your spot, he is the first one with his bum on the floor. When coach says run to the other side, he waits for "go!" When coach says wait your turn to kick the ball, he patiently waits. But not Christopher. Christopher is "that kid" that every parent doesn't want to have in a class situation like this. And I was trying to be empathetic for the grown-up (which I think is his grandma)...but it was hard for me to do because of one thing. She was making empty threat after empty threat, and never did he see the consequences of his actions! See, I just have a really hard time with that one. I am NOT a perfect parent, and never will be. I make many many mistakes, admittedly, every hour of every day. But, my parenting pet peeve is empty threats. I have witnessed how empty threats lead to such disrespect for adults, and I just can't stomach them. (If you ever see me give my child an empty threat - kick me in the face.) So, I was having a really hard time with this situation - watching the kid misbehave and disrupt the class (which is small - only like 4 or 5 little kids) and watching the grandma shout out empty threats.

At one point last week, I had this thought, "Geesh, I'm sure glad that kid isn't mine!" What a terrible thought, no? So, guess what came back to bite me? Yep, who's kid was running away from coach this week?

You guessed it...Noah.

But, at least I wasn't making empty threats. :)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Day 288.

Thursday, October 15, 2009.

Dinner was made by 1:00.

I am grateful for crockpots.

Crockpots are genius. And I want to thank the Crockpot Lady, Stephanie O'Dea for making a really cool blog that got me super-inspired to break out my crock pot and cook some amazing meals. She did a blog in 2008 where she used her crockpot EVERY day for the whole year. Sometimes it was delicious, sometimes it tanked, but she was always honest about the verdict, and shared a side of humor with every dish. I recommend you check it out.

So, today I did not make one of her recipes. I found a yummy spicy sausage soup online that I modified to what I had and it was STELLAR. Here is that recipe. I used precooked brown rice (3c.) instead of instant, left out the pepper, used mild breakfast sausage instead of spicy, upped the chili powder, used double the tomatoes (and no green chiles in them), and cooked it on HIGH for 4 hours, then low 1 hour. So, it was different from this.

BUT, it still turned out great! DELICIOUS! I loved it, it was hearty, and pretty healthy (minus all the red meat of course). That's why I love crockpots - they are really forgiving. You don't have to be exact - and things are still delicious, most of the time.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Day 287.

Craft projects are fun, especially if they involve nature. On the walk home from preschool today we stopped to climb a favorite tree and we noticed it's beautiful PINK (like HOT pink, yes!) leaves. It was gorgeous! So, we decided to collect some leaves to take home and do a project with.

I am grateful for crafts.

Dylan and Noah put the leaves on wax paper in their own designs while I shaved crayons with a fine grater. Then they sprinkled grated crayon over the paper however they liked. Lastly, we put another sheet of wax paper on top and I ironed the whole thing. Instant beauty! I wanted to hang them in our windows - they would be gorgeous there - but the kids want to give them to Grandma and Grandpa Cindy and Clark since we are eagerly anticipating a visit to Champaign this weekend. Guess we'll have to make some more to decorate our windows!

Day 286.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009.

I am grateful for the simple, yet amazing, discovery of new things.

I spend at least part of every day cracking up at the creative things that come out of their mouths. Seriously - it's funny stuff.

Today I took a shower and Noah was playing in the bathroom while I was washing up. I opened the curtain and was grabbing for my towel, when Noah made a sour face and pointed to my "hair down there" and said "What is that yucky stuff?"

Wait...did I just write that? Yes, I did. It was too funny not to document. I guess he never took a close look before. It's so amazing to watch these little people discover new things...even things as simple as pubic hair.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Day 285.

Toy Story in 3D, in honor of it's 10th anniversary. Really? 3D? I like 3D movies when it's a special treat - an IMAX maybe - or some show at Disneyworld where water gets sprayed on you when you think a bug is peeing on you or something. But not regular old movies that were good before 3D glasses entered the picture. 3D glasses are not fun to wear - even though they are plastic now instead of paper. But when you are 2, the glasses don't stay on your face.

We did take the kids to this 3D adventure this afternoon, and I can't say I recommend it. It was their first theater-going experience, and Jason and I were pumped - we LOVE movies, so we've been waiting for this day for awhile now. But I have to admit, I think we should have waited longer.

I am grateful for innocence.

Note to self: don't kill the innocence with cartoons of all things. I had looked at and thoroughly scanned what about Toy Story was violent, scary or inappropriate. It gave it great reviews as far as that went and they considered it a "green light." And, I knew I liked the movie, remembering it from when I watched it 10 years ago. But I was 19 - and at 19, I already knew that people said words like "stupid" and "shut-up" and "idiot" and "kill." And I knew that the toys in the movie were just toys, so when they talked mean to each other, they were just TOYS...and so I shouldn't take it too seriously. And I had seen people (or in this case TOYS) physically fighting before, and so it didn't phase me when Buzz and Woody roll around under the car at the gas station and punch each other out.... But my innocent little four and two year old? They haven't. They've never seen anyone (or thing) punch each other out. They don't have words like idiot in their vocabulary. And they don't know that little nasty boys (girls?) blow up toys with explosives in their backyards.

So, did we make the wrong call? I don't know. It was still fun - they got to have ice cream and popcorn at the movies (note: since when is ICE CREAM at the movies a good idea? Especially with 3D glasses - it's impossible to sit in the dark with 3D glasses on and not be covered in drips - even if you aren't a 4-year old). We did something fun together as a family, and that's the important thing. Now for tomorrow, I just have to figure out how to talk casually about what they saw - you know, just work it into the conversation - so I don't let these new words and actions roll over them like normal fare. Uggghhhh...being a modern parent is hard work. I wish we were Amish.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Day 284.

I'm not a career woman. I was a graphic designer in my past life, and admit, I do enjoy design a lot. I know I have an eye for it - but I also know I struggle with being creative on demand. And I wasn't thrilled with being a designer for a JOB. So, every once in awhile I get some freelance graphic design work that really feels happy to do. I find passion in doing it, and I remember why I graduated with a graphic design degree.

I am grateful for work.

I am happy to be doing some work right now for a couple of different clients - and it comes at such a great time. We have some unexpected condo building expenses on the horizon, and I was pretty worried about where we would get the money. It feels pretty amazing to be able to contribute to that.

So, while I've spent my whole night working instead of hanging out with my hubby, it feels good to be working.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Day 283.

I love cooking. It is a real joy of mine to look up a new recipe, find something spectacular and cook it for family and friends. I love making new things. We had some friends over tonight that we went to college with - we hadn't seen them in a long time, and it was wonderful to reconnect.

I am grateful for entertaining.

I admittedly do stress out a bit right before we have company - I enjoy it immensely as I prepare and then right when they are about to arrive I freak out that I won't have everything ready and perfect. We always survive.

This is the menu for tonight
(minus the rice pudding - I did this dessert instead).

Friday, October 9, 2009

Day 282.


I caught up. I was almost a week behind - and I was watching the days go by and not wanting to catch up and worrying that this blog would slip away from me!

I am grateful for catching up.

Now I'm back on track and even though I say I was worried - I knew I'd do it. This blog is non-negotiable for me. I have heard enough from others that it is helpful and enjoyable to you for that reason alone, I must continue. And for little old me here behind the screen - it has been an incredible year for me. A year of delightful surprise - at how this silly little idea has become something inspirational and in fact has changed my whole outlook on life. Gratitude is really the way I am beginning to live my life.

So, I may have had to catch up with the written word, but gratitude is there, whether I write about it or not.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Day 281.

I always hem and haw about haircuts for my two little blond curly-head children. There curls are wonderful, I am the first to admit I love how they look, how they feel between my fingers, and all the wonderful comments we get while out. People love blond curls! But I hate...H.A.T.E. combing hair battles. And I dislike how their hair looks when it grows out to the point of straggly curls and not cute little tendrils. So, it was time.

I am grateful for haircuts.

I should have taken pictures. I guess I still can. Nothing all that miraculous or new - just clean and cute looking haircuts. That just makes me happy to look at their cute little faces with shapely hair surrounding them. I like that.

Day 280.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009.

I really wanted to go see Children's Poet Laureate, Mary Ann Hoberman, tonight. She was reciting poetry in hyde park - an event especially for children - only about a mile from our house. It felt like a no-brainer and something I really wanted for my kids to be at.

I am grateful I listened to my daughter (by way of my husband).

Dylan has been playing really nicely at home lately. She gets into the grooves where she just plays and plays and is so happy and interested in what she is doing and even fun things we have to go do - are disruptive. So, when I announced that we were going to this, she was negative about it. Jason happened to be home for a moment before he headed out for grad school, and he offhandedly commented, "Dylan might just want to stay home." Something about that clicked for me in that moment, and I knew he was right. So, I immediately adjusted my own expectations and canceled our plans. I knew it was really me that wanted to go - not my kids. And that they would be just as pleased (more pleased) with staying home, playing together and taking a bath.

So, that's what we did. It was a nice evening, and instead of rushing around (like I was trying to avoid only a few weeks ago...amazing how quickly I can rev up our schedule again when given the opportunity!) - we stayed home and enjoyed each other. Who needs Mary Ann Hoberman in real life when her books will suffice.

Day 279.

Tuesday October 6, 2009.

We met dear friends today at a wonderful little children's indoor fun place in Indiana. It had been open only 2 weeks and so everything was brand spankin' new.

I am grateful for BellaBoo's.

They had thought everything through at this place. It seemed like the things you usually say "they should have done this..." at these types of places - they did. For example, they had hand sanitizer, kleenexes and little sinks (with automatic water and towel dispensers) everywhere. They had a cooking class area - where they have on the hour almost every hour a mini cooking class where they have the kids make something for a snack. It was healthy, cute and well thought out. The U-shaped counter around the sunken kitchen (so the kids at the adult's eye-level when they are cooking) had little tiny bar stools for the kids to sit on and "work." The dress up area was chocked full of costumes. The play kitchen area had very last cabinet full of something. There were comfy benches everywhere for parents to sit on and watch/talk.

My only complaint is we were told (since we did this) that you aren't supposed to bring in outside food. Well, with my gluten sensitivity, it's easy to get around those rules, but for the rest of our crew not so much. What do they expect you to do when you want to stay all day but don't want to buy the cafe food? Leave early then? Not come at all? So, I hope they revise that policy. But, overall, it was a really fun day! I had to tear the kids away from the fun and they both totally crashed on the way home - anything that wears Dylan out to the point of napping is quite awesome!

Day 278.

Monday, October 5, 2009.

Tonight was a potluck at Dylan's school. We got to meet many of the parents in her class, and getting to see everyone in a big room together, kids running around tables and parents chatting it up while they try to keep an eye on their running was homey.

I am grateful for community.

When I think of what close-knit community that I belong to, I think of my church community. They are the ones I share the most with on many levels. But now, we have this preschool community with whom we share this wonderful nursery school. No one at my church knows what KAM Isaiah Israel is. Nobody at church saw me crying the first day of drop-off and comforted me with stories of their own first born separation troubles. I don't see anyone at church as often as I see these 18 families who share pick-up and drop-off schedules three days a week. I'm not replacing my church community in any way here, but I am adding a really nice dimension to my circle. I feel more tied to my neighborhood because my daughter is in school here. Which also affects my thoughts about future schools/kindergarten options. So, I have a lot of thinking to do. But, in the meantime, I'm enjoying this new found community that was dropped right into my lap.

Day 277.

Sunday, October 4, 2009.

My church has been going through some conflict in the past year, regarding accepting same gender relationships into membership or not. It has been a really rough time on the church leadership team and while I am ready to move forward in our work together, I wasn't sure if much of the congregation was ready to trust each other again.

I am grateful to be able to look people in the face again.

I didn't realize it until today, when we had a day's worth of meetings with a faith-based conflict resolution team, that I often haven't been able to look people in the face in church and really be myself. I have avoided conversations that seemed to loaded, and while I myself felt trustworthy, I didn't know if the congregation saw me that way anymore. Today I realized I had been sort of metaphorically holding my breath...and I began to exhale today.

Thanks to the rest of the congregation who showed up for this work together. I know there are good things in store for us all. I continue to pray especially for the people who have left, including the couple for whom this whole issue was central - it was about them, even when we tried to make it not. I hope they are in a place of peace.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Day 276.

Saturday, October 3, 2009.

I do love Hyde Park. I know I go on these Hyde Park love binges every once in awhile on this blog, so I guess it's time for another. Just when I get annoyed with city living, I have a lovely day in the neighborhood and feel at home right where I am.

I am grateful for Salonica breakfast.

Salonica is our favorite breakfast spot in Hyde Park - at least it's the best breakfast spot with good service in Hyde Park. Actually - it's one of the best places for customer service in all of HP (which is not saying much since this is one of the neighborhood's biggest faults in my eyes). We had a wonderful morning enjoying eggs, hash browns and sausage (french toast and sausage for the kids) and then headed over to Nichols Park for Halloween in the Park by the Chicago Park District. The kids decorated pumpkins, had hot chocolate, went on a pony ride, and jumped in inflatables. We wrapped up the day at home, enjoying our house and grateful for a day together as a family.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Day 275.

This is the first weekend in forever where Saturday is wide open. It's not even Saturday yet, and I'm already excited about the lack of plans.

I am grateful for the end of the week.

Friday, I love you.

Day 274.

Thursday, October 1, 2009.

It was cold today - I guess Welcome to October. I do love the fall, so I'm not really going to complain about it. Sun with the cold would have been even better, but I'll take the closed-toe-shoes, vest and jean weather alone.

I am grateful for the fall farmers market.

Hyde Park's farmers market was still going strong today. The kids and I walked there this morning, a leisurely stroll that turned more into a nature walk on the way home - which then turned into a collecting twigs and leaves and making a home for bugs in plastic ziploc bags. But, back to the farmers market, we got a lot of great stuff. Big tomatoes, green beans, butternut squash, plums, honeycrisp apples, baby bella mushrooms, farm eggs, free range/grass fed chuck roast, chicken legs and ground beef, and grape tomatoes. Yum, yum, yum!

There is nothing like coming home and making a lunch out of your farmers market finds. Happy fall!