Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Monday, December 27, 2010
Given my attention span, I am going to scale down this posting to only things on my Life List-the Chicago edition. I recently told a friend, "It's been 10 years since I moved back to Chicago and I am so happy I did. There are still so many things in the City that I have yet to experience but still want to do." She started laughing at me, however, I think she came around when she realized that there were things on my list that she too wanted to do in Chicago as well. So read away and feel free to add your own.
1. Go and see Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind. I know its been around for ever, but I have yet to see it.
2. Take an intro to sewing class at the Needle Shop and learned to make a pillow. I was inspired but never followed through myself.
3. Visit and tour Graceland Cemetary.
4. Go and see a blue show at Buddy Guys or Kingston Mines. I know, I know...I should have done this one already, but life is busy and yadda yadda. (no links as I am blocked from entertainment type sites at work)
5. Take a class at Lill Street.-A long time ago there was a girl that was a sculpture major in college. Then she started working in politics and had two kids and lost her creative spark. 2011 is the year to bring it back!!
So my list is short. It is my feeble attempt to try to feel accomplished. It's all about baby steps people.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Today I took the kids downtown by myself and got off at the Grand stop. It was nearing rush hour and it was pretty difficult to maneuver a double stroller off a crowded train and into a station with no elevator.
Instead of being annoyed that I would need to carry my stroller up the long flight of stairs, I thought of my friend Karen. She is disabled and is one of the most spirited and amazing women and mother I know personally. (She once wrote Obama a letter about how she tried to attend a fundraiser at a church and it didn't have a ramp. He called her personally to apologize and now she is invited to the White House Xmas party...cool and inspiring!) I thought this is the type of stuff she deals with on a daily basis. In this day and age, when we spend millions of dollars on high tech cameras (I know I used to work for Homeland Security), why the hell can't we put in an elevator and make this world more ADA compliant.
Then as the crowds descended up the stairs and I was left alone on the platform with two kids. This man offered to carry my stroller for me up the stairs, not just up one flight of stairs, but two. I was struck by his willingness to help a complete stranger. What a mentsh. It doesn't happen very often, but when it does...I feel re-energized by the human spirit.
So, pay it forward. It's good karma.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
So of course afterwards we grilled her:
- what was the test like?
- what kind of questions did they ask you?
- what did you answer?
- what words did you tell them you know?
- and so forth.
My daughter's response:
- Well I just made silly faces at them and laughed
Great...I am guessing that can only mean one thing. We're In! Yeah right. I have heard crazy stats that it is harder to get into a CPS selective enrollment school than it is Harvard. My brain gets so frustrated when I hear this.
It this frustration coupled with Michele Rhee appearing on Oprah to talk about teacher quality. Then it is Waiting for Superman touting charter schools as the answer. As a parent, it is ALL of these things that our children need. It is not a one size fits all answer. It is all answers.
If only teachers were paid and revered in this country like sports stars we might all be a little better off.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
A few weeks back it was raining on the way to work. I realized I didn't have any rainboots, so I purchased a pair from Piperlime. They didn't fit quite right so I ordered a second pair; those too were a bit off. (Why don't rainboots come in half sizes?)
In the meantime, my daughter has turned the box from the first pair of boots into a dolly bed and my son has used the big shipping box to make a fort.
I have tried to be responsible and hold onto both receipts, but alas one is missing. I then have to go online and try to remember my special login and password for Piperlime, which I do not. They then email me a new code to reset my password, which I do. Finally I come to the page which shows my purchase, but you aren't able to reprint the receipt, only a new shipping label. I print it anyways.
I stuff both boots into one box, put this enormous and heavy box in the car and head to the post office. In the snow, I get out of my car, take out the box and as I am standing in line reading the mailing label I notice it is prepaid for UPS NOT USPS. So....
Out of the post office and off to UPS. I get out of the car with the big box, in the snow for the second time, only to realize that it is not yet open (I was there at 8:45 and it opens at 9am).
Back in the car the box goes and now I have to come back and try to ship back both boots for a third time. I will keep you posted on my success.
Moral of the story-No rainboots for me and no more online shopping. On the flip side, at least we have a new fort and doll bed!
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
- Does Santa visit our house? Does Santa eat latkes?
- How come Daddy isn't Jewish?
- Does my holiday card look too "Christmasy" this year?
Every family does it differently and I don't think there are right and wrong answers. (Ok, truth be told, I do judge a few peoples' choices in this category, but I really try not to!) When I was getting married, everyone asked me "what are you going to do?...Celebrate Hannukah, Christmas, both?"
In reality this is the easiest part of an interfaith marriage. We never have to split our time between two families on the holidays. We spend Xmas with his family and hannukah with my family. We have tried really hard to teach our kids that it is about helping our family and friends celebrate their own traditions while creating our own.
The really hard questions about an interfaith marriage might be...so will we have bris? Will your family come? How come we always have to have lox and bagels for every brunch, can't we have a quiche lorraine (ham and cheese)?
Monday, December 6, 2010
As if getting out the door in the morning wasn't tough enough, throw in boots, hats, mittens and oh yes and the windchill of 5 degrees. Do I live in Alaska?
Usually I don't feel the winter blues until late January or even February on a good year. This year, it is December 6th.
So here are my Monday suggestions to beat the Winter blues.
1. Drink some Glogg. It just so happens that I live near Andersonville, which specializes in this holiday libation. Might I recommend visiting Simon's.
2. Put on some sweats and curl up with a good book. I am currently reading Freedom, by Jonathan Franzin. Normally I would chide away from an Oprah selection, but this book is too good to care.
3. Cook some soup. I recently bought all the ingredients to make Balthazar's Cream of Mushroom soup recipe. A year ago this December I was in NY for work and my husband came to visit. It was freezing and had just snowed about 8 inches. We didn't care and headed to the Village to eat at Balthazar's. It did not disappoint.
4. Perhaps a little retail therapy can help? A cute new sweater? I really love this one from Banana Republic. Stocking stuffer anyone?
5. Volunteer! I am always reminded that no matter how cold it is outside, I can go inside and lay in my warm bed. One organization that is close to my heart is Inspiration Cafe. They provide meals to the homeless with dignity and also run an amazing social enterprise called Cafe Too.
So stay warm everyone. The high tonight is 10 degrees.
Friday, December 3, 2010
My solution, along with superstars, Terri Versace and Jacqueline Edleberg-get involved in your own local school. Don't bet on the magnets and make public schools a great option in your own neighborhood so you don't have to play this silly game.
So in my effort not to get too caught up in this whole process, I have decided to home-school, just kidding (not that there's anything wrong with it).
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
So I love great home designs and think Apartment Therapy is just an all around great site. It is pretty often that I see a home tour on this site that is in my own neighborhood. There are of course profiles of the most amazing lofts in Tribeca, as well. AT has spun off several other super fun cousin blogs such as Oddeedoh, which is cool design for kids.
Who doesn't love Etsy? But I have to admit, even as an avid blog reader, I often get lost in the vast blogosphere of this site. So along came Etsystalker and my life has changed. To be totally transparent, this author of this site is also my blog mentor. Shout out to Julie here.
So many in this category that I am often overwhelmed...but to mention a few in this genre..mamapedia and cool mom picks. I honestly don't think these are the best, but I enjoy the ones where real people post everyday questions and then other moms can post answers. I often prefer these to the so-called, "parent expert". Cool Mom Picks shows me the coolest stuff that all the Wicker Park hipsters get their kids.
My most favorite of all...food writers. There has been an explosion in this category, added to my recent repertoire. I adore Gluten Free Girl. She is so fun and of course reminds me that being GF doesn't mean I can't eat and cook good food. Her recent post about the top 10 cook books of the year had me drooling! I even sent the link to my husband with a note..."Hint for Hannukah!"
Anyone here read Smitten Kitchen? Umm, hello the most wonderful brisket I have ever eaten (sorry mom!). She is great and love that she talks about her kitchen failures as well.
And then there's Heidi and Dorie. Heidi from 101 Cookbooks is beautiful, artistic and cooks yummy, uber healthy and vegetarian food. Dorie Greenspan is a living legend. No more information necessary. Hint: Check out Dorie's fantastic recipe for a baked pumpkin. Not gluten free, but definitely worth cheating for this one.
So there you have it a sampling of how I spend my time, hope you find them as fun and time wasting as I do. Feel free to send me some of your favorite blogs.
Monday, November 29, 2010
So for those unfamiliar with the process, I will describe:
Step 1: Browse the programs online before the regsitration date
Step 2: Create a log in and password
Step 3: Add the programs you want into your online shopping cart and convince a friend, a spouse or relative to add the programs to their carts as well. This increase the probability of getting into the desired class.
Step 4: log in at the precise moment the registration clock strikes 9:00am and hit submit
I failed to actually mention the step when I start getting nervous about not getting a spot. Or not getting both of my kids into the class.
This may seem easy but it is anything but. Today, my husband and I accomplished an amazing feat...we registred both kids online and GOT IN!!! I feel like I just won the lottery. I tell ya, it's the little things in life!
And if, God forbid you don't succeed online, then it's off to wait in line at 5:45am for the class of your choice. (Which I have done once before). As I said , I have turned into those people that I have mocked all along. Those silly shoppers who stand outside Best Buy at 3am to score a new plasma TV.
The only silver lining to this whole process is that at the end of 45 minute gymnastics class my kids get a hand stamp, which to a 2 and 4 year is the best thing in the whole world. I guess it is all relative, right?
Monday, November 22, 2010
So yesterday, during the craziness of the holiday shopping my daughter decided to check out the toy section BY HERSELF. It was the kind of panic you never want to feel. It rises so quickly from your stomach into your throat and you go into "flight or fight" mode. Luckily the Target team members were on the scene helped with the search and rescue operation. I wish I had a witty remark right about now...but safe to say it was scary stuff.
Perhaps those little backpacks with an attached leash aren't such a bad idea after all and I take back all the judging I have done in the past about parents who use them.
Friday, November 19, 2010
Most things in NY tend to start so much later than in Chicago. Meetings that are called for 9am, don't really start until 9:30. I knew this would be the case and so I found myself in the rare position of being able to sleep until 8ish and only have to get myself ready in the morning. From a distance, I am sure this sounds completely pleasurable to all my mom friends. However, in reality I miss my family and don't sleep as well knowing that they are right down the hall.
So tonight being Friday, I am happy to be home, but know I will probably want to retract this post at 6am, when my youngest calls out for me from his crib.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
She refused to eat dinner tonight and insisted that she have something else to eat. We held our ground pretty firmly, by mentioning,no less than 15 times that dinner was what was on her plate.
I am always conflicted in the situations when food is involved. We did the old-"you should be grateful to have any food, let alone this delicious meal." This age-old wisdom did little to comfort her tantrum.
In my role as a Jewish mother, second only to guilt, is putting your child to bed hungry. She has already figured me out and of course prolonged the meltdown and bedtime by insisting that she was now hungry. I felt like whispering, "I told you so." (Even though I know that is pretty immature!) However, in all my parental wisdom, I refrained, knowing that one day in the not so distant future, that phrase will come back to bite me.
Friday, November 12, 2010
Another question out there, how come I need to pick up before she comes? Perhaps I can outsource that service too?
Now if only I could outsource my laundry, cooking dinner every night and sleeping training my 2 year old (again!)
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
I am keenly aware that I often put these pressures on myself, as many of us Type-A mommies do. I have tried to follow the 80/20 rule. (For those unfamiliar, eighty percent of the time we try to follow the family rules, but twenty percent of the time, they go out the window.) This is one way that I have found internally to relieve some of the "perfect mom" pressure.
The article also talks about how attachment parenting can be isolating and add undue pressure on the mom. I have often thought to myself the difference between the mom role and the dad role in our society, and I guess in our family. Don't get me wrong, my husband is super involved and a great dad, but there is a difference.
Ok enough intellectual psycho-babble...now for my deep thought of the evening. Wouldn't it be great to be in a polygamist household, where there were multiple moms around all the time helping out with the children related responsibilities? Remember it takes a village.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Tonight my husband and I took a cooking class to get us in the mood for the holidays. It was wonderful except I was a little bummed that I couldn't eat the dessert (pumpkin bread pudding). So, I decided to come home and search through my recipes for one that was both pumpkin flavored and gluten-free. I found this oldie-but-goodie. I also love this one for entertaining as you can make it ahead of time.
Enjoy this amazing Frozen Pumpkin Mousse with Walnut Toffee Crunch.
So if you have a friend, relative or you yourself are gluten free and love pumpkin and desserts this ones for you.
Saturday, November 6, 2010
On a different note, we had an intellectual conversation tonight about being a helicopter parent. It made me think, but I have to admit, I was also daydreaming during the conversation about what I was going to make for dinner tomorrow night.
Friday, November 5, 2010
I know many other working women feel this too, on a daily basis. I know I should cherish this time of my life and I do. It is just a bit draining at times. I haven't really kept up with my kids baby books, or their journals or even their photo albums for that matter so this my latest attempt to chronicle these wonderful years.
(BTW-I just put up my first posting all while pretending to participate on a conference call.)