Monday, December 24, 2012

My wish for you…

As I write this, my 18 month-old is napping, and My Guy is building an X-Wing with my four-year-old – their first Star Wars Lego set together. He’s in some kind of heaven, having dreamt of this moment from the time he knew he was going to be a father. 

It’s Christmas Eve, there’s a Chinese Roasted Duck in our future (inspired by my favorite Christmas movie of all time - “Fa ra ra ra ra, ra ra ra ra!”), as it’s our tradition of keeping it untraditional, and the last batch of cookies are going into the oven today. I can’t believe we ran out of cookies in the first place, but that’s what you get when you have cookie parties every weekend and say yes to every request for one. (Side note: It’s lovely to be able to say yes all the time isn’t it?)

I don’t know about you, but it’s been a frenzy of cooking, baking, crafting, cleaning, and entertaining in my house. Each night I drag myself to bed with achy, weary bones, but my soul? It’s singing. And I’m school-girl giddy. Honestly, I can’t recall a better Christmas.

I hope you’re having a wonderful holiday season yourself. May your days be filled with…





and wonder.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

One year later…

This has not been a good week.

First, Thumper, who had an upset, unsettled stomach, was throwing up for three hours on Monday. Mostly on me, mind you – projectile fun! After she evacuated her belly of whatever was ailing her, and a long, 13-hour sleep, she was back to her old self again.

And then it was my turn. I had the wonderful opportunity to meet a fellow blogger, Alecia, from Boise, ID, who came to Chicago for several days for work. As moms with two similarly-aged girls, we had a lot to talk about, although it wasn’t always about our kids. We met on a Tuesday night, went to Chinatown for some hot pot and then a lounge for cocktails and dessert.


Maybe it’s the shellfish, maybe it’s the somewhat daunting Szechwan spice, but my stomach was not happy with me the next day. I ended up in bed for 30 hours straight, only moving to run from the bathroom and back. Lovely. (And no pictures, here – you’re welcome).

My Guy stayed home to care for Thumper and me, taking a couple of work-related phone calls here and there, but for the most part, he was right by my side. Or rather, he was entertaining and caring for Thumper so I could rest. At one point, he came up to me while I was in what felt like my deathbed and sheepishly asked, “So...what do you do with her all day?”

I had to smile. He’s a great dad, and he pitches in with his fair share of work around the house, but as the sole breadwinner, his attention is mostly focused on how to keep us afloat financially, at least during the day.

But when he works from home, he steals some time to get on his hands and knees with the little ones. He bakes cookies and plays hide-n-seek with them, and except for the occasional late-night networking events, he has always been home on time to do dinner, bath and bed time with the girls. He is also the family breakfast chef and my biggest supporter when it comes to my writing, running and yoga practice, making sure that I have time for all of them each week.

He has been able to do all that and more because of the decision he made a year ago to quit his full-time job so he could spend more time with his family and pursue his goals on his own terms as an entrepreneur. Honestly, it has not been completely smooth-sailing, namely late – sometimes sleepless –  nights, difficult clients, and money worries, but for the most part, he has made it work. For all of us.

I was home to care for Thumper because I didn’t need to be at work, thanks to My Guy, who made my own lifestyle change possible. And he was home with me while I was down, without having to answer to anyone but himself.

All because he took a big risk and a leap of faith a year ago.

This week may not be our best, but this year? Absolutely. Without a doubt.

Financially, we are still trying to figure things out, as we both came from pretty decent-paying jobs and that adjustment will take time. We’ve had to make sacrifices this past 12 months, but we were still able to take vacations, enjoy the occasional dates, throw birthday parties, have a social life and keep our four-year-old in her Montessori school. And for all that, I’m truly grateful.

It’s been a challenging year. An uncertain year. But it’s also been a really, really good year.

All because this one man chose to follow his dreams, and took his family with him.


MultiTasking multi-tasking at the home office

* * *

Happy one-year anniversary, my love. I am so proud of you. Thank you for this amazing life.

For those who are new to my site, here’s the beginning of this story, from a year ago.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Standing guard

These are the lions that flank the grand entrance to The Art Institute of Chicago.


These are the ones that guard our home.




source: bronze lions (1894), Art Institute of Chicago, 111 South Michigan Ave, The Loop, Chicago, Illinois, USA by lumierefl.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012



It’s December 4th today, and it’s nearly 60 degrees out. Yesterday, it hit 70. So what, you wonder? Well, we’re in Chicago, where it’s normally frigid this time of the year. Snowing, even. See the picture above, with my girls in un-Decemberly clothes? That was taken yesterday. Mind. Blown.

I had a lot planned for us this past weekend because finally getting to the last month of the year also meant Christmas decorations! Christmas cookies! Christmas crafts! Christmas music! Christmas shopping! In short, holiday on crack.

But we hit a snag. Warm weather. Yes, I’m actually complaining about the glorious 70-degree weather. Well, that’s because it totally messed with my vision of the holidays, like decorating trees in our sweaters, sipping mulled wine, then admiring our effort on our couch, basking in the glow of our beautifully lit tree, and snuggling together under warm blankets.

None of those happened. I was in a tank top, the windows were opened, and we felt foolish being inside the house when we should have been outside, inhaling the unnaturally warm and humid spring-in-December air. Half of me was determined to continue – This is our tradition, dammit! We finish the tree, drink wine, snuggle under blankets, sing carols and admire the bloody tree! But the other half fought back – Are you kidding me? What are we still doing in here?

Thankfully, My Guy agreed with the latter. We left our tree to be continued the next day and made an impromptu trip to the Lincoln Park Zoo Lights. It was an activity we looked forward to every year – an array of Christmas lights in a dazzling display amid animals and kids’ rides, what’s not to love? – but it was always in 30-degree weather, so imagine our delight when our fingers weren’t frozen for the first time since we started this tradition.


The next day, Monday, the freakish weather continued. I picked Little Miss up from preschool early so we could finish decorating the tree. We took a long, leisurely stroll home, with the ground still wet from the rain. Rain! Without cumbersome jackets and mittens, they even held hands, although frankly, that part isn’t new. Thumper, the one-year-old, usually insists on her sister’s hand when we walk together, but being able to take the time to capture it instead of having to hurry back because of the cold was a lovely luxury.

In the same evening, Little Miss also surprised us by clearing the table after dinner, unprompted, while we were on the deck with Thumper, who was prancing without pants. The weather had to be doing some strange things, because pants-less in December is one thing but a table that’s spotless? That’s just too much.

The tree was finally completed that night, three days after we brought it home. This year, we found one that we thought would look fine, except by the time the branches settled, it took up half our living space! We (well, My Guy) had to improvise, moving furniture around to accommodate the tree that ate the living room.


But it’s here, it fits (somewhat), and it’s finally complete. It didn’t happen the way I had envisioned, but I realize now that it’s a good thing. Because – and I begrudgingly admit this – it turned out even better than I had imagined.


* * *

What do you do to prepare for the holidays? Are you as excited about Christmas as we are? What’s the weather like where you are? Any anomalies or business as usual?



This is a Wordful Wednesday post. Check out this week’s links here.


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