Seeing Chicago Through A Child’s Eyes

It’s been a month since our mother/son trip to Chicago. What an amazing five days! I have always known Lucas was an extraordinary child but this trip proved it ten times over.

Since his very first airplane ride at only two months old, my son has been a great traveler provided I have his favorite snacks and activities and a full battery on the iPad. This I knew going in to this trip together, but what surprised me was the amount of patience he exhibited as we waited. We spent a lot of time waiting, from a two hour delay at the airport and long lines to enter most attractions to Uber cars and taxis, we waded through throngs of people at the breakfast buffet each morning at our hotel and waited for our names to be called at restaurants, we waited for it to stop raining so we could go back outside and have fun, we waited and waited and waited. I have decided my five-year-old has more patience in his entire body than I do in my big toe.

momsontriptochicagoLucas also behaved well throughout our trip and when other children around us were falling apart, kicking, screaming and carrying on and getting reprimanded, he kept it together. He also asked pointed questions about our surroundings, wanted to know everything he could about the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 (it wasn’t because a cow knocked over a lantern, by the way) and the meaning behind the different colors that lit up the skyscrapers at night. Lucas also let me take as many photos as I wanted of both him and the sights.

Chicago is perfect for children and it was a lot of fun seeing my little guy in such a big city. We didn’t walk as much as I would have liked but only because little legs can’t walk very far. We took our time getting from here to there and stopped a lot along the way to shop or eat or meander through a park.

There is so much to do in Chicago and we tackled a lot! From meeting Sue, the best-preserved T. rex on display at the Field Museum, eating stuffed pizza at the famed Giordano’s, running through the water pads at Millennium Park, taking goofy photos at “the Bean”, enjoying incredible views of the city from the 103rd floor of the Sears Tower (now known as Willis Tower), spending hours at the awesome Children’s Museum at Navy Pier and having a lot of down time in our hotel room. We shopped a little (I kind of went nuts at the Nike store) watched very little TV, and talked a lot, mostly about the upcoming school year and how much we missed home and our precious little Lola.

momsontriptochicagoLucas may have dragged me to the Lego store at the beautiful Water Tower Place more than once but I’d buy him all the Lego in the world if I could. I’m grateful for the bonding time I had with my son this summer and look forward to taking an annual summer trip with him. 

Where to next year?

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BlogHer 2014 Recap

It’s hard to put into words a lot of things but I’m finding it especially difficult to describe my feelings post BlogHer 2014.

It’s been over a week since I returned from San Jose and my second BlogHer conference and I’ve gone through a roller coaster of emotions.

I was on a high as soon as I got home, buzzing with ideas and inspiration and then re-entry was rough and I jumped in head first, back to my normal routine.  I posted a couple of things just because but felt my writing fell flat and not up to par and I certainly didn’t use any of the tips I had just learned in either of the two Writing Labs I attended. Then I felt depressed because I missed my blogging buddies and now I know if I don’t gather my thoughts, I never will or I’ll forget.

This year’s event felt a lot smaller, which was a very good thing and I didn’t put any pressure on myself to rush from event to event. I also wore flats which was a huge relief to my feet.

This time around I felt like I belonged and not like such a fish out of water. I didn’t spend much time on the exhibit floor and didn’t bring home a lot of junk swag.

The best part for me was seeing old friends and meeting women I had already come to know and love and I did learn a few things about writing and editing and the future of personal blogging, which I hope to implement. 

I sat in awe as I listened to blogging royalty, Jenny Lawson and Alexandra Rosas and real celebrities, Kerry Washington, Tig Notaro and Arianna Huffington. And talk about a roller coaster ride of emotions, this year’s Voices and Photos of the Year had me giggling, laughing out loud and dabbing tears from my eyes. 

I didn’t want to write just another highlight post or flower it with photos (because I didn’t take that many) and share soundbites from what was an incredible weekend.

I’d rather convey to you the importance of support and friends and laughter. I laughed a lot! I had fun and was once again reminded that we each have a story to tell, an inspiring, magical, perhaps heartbreaking story within us.

I will share one photo… my favorite from the weekend. I love these women so!


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Sip & See: Update

It was a celebration three and a half years in the making.

I bought new dresses for both of us.

There were beautiful platters of croissant sandwiches, quiche, colorful macaroons, mini cupcakes and delicious salads.

Gorgeous flowers and my favorite people filled the room.

And the champagne was free flowing!

The gifts were generous and heartfelt, especially a Dave Matthews Band-themed diaper cake, which included diapers, of course, a Rockabye Baby! Lullaby Renditions of Dave Matthews Band CD, framed lyric, monkey onesie, Anti Monkey Butt diaper cream and monkey rattles (see photo below).

It was a day to celebrate; a Sip & See for Lola hosted and attended by my best friends and family.

Back in December, I wrote a post sponsored by Minted about how we had opted for a Sip & See after Lola’s arrival instead of a baby shower/sprinkle beforehand.

As promised, here’s the invitation:


Click on image for more details and ordering information.

Todd took the children home after a while and the game Cards Against Humanity came out. There was laughter and a few tears as I fumbled through a toast trying to express how much the day meant to me, but mostly there was love.

sipandsee2It was lovely afternoon.

Thank you, again friends and especially Leah, for getting me home safely.

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20 Questions, 22 Months Later – Update

I seemed to have forgotten/put off/overlooked a follow up questionnaire to my 20 Questions post from November 2011, which I had wanted to do every year, so here it is, Lucas at 4 years, 3 months.

See if you notice a theme… 

1. What is your favorite color? Red

2. What is your favorite toy? Cars movie cars and Planes

3. What is your favorite fruit? Grapes

4. What is your favorite TV show? Paw Patrol

5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? PB&J

6. What is your favorite outfit? My red Cars movie shirt, light brown shorts and red rubbers

7. What is your favorite game? Sorry!

8. What is your favorite snack? Cereal bars

9. What is your favorite animal? Zebras

10. What is your favorite song? 22 by Taylor Swift

11. What is your favorite book? Once Upon A Time…The End

12. Who is your best friend? Wyatt, Jackson, Mommy and Daddy

13. What is your favorite cereal? Fruit Loops

14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Scooter, skateboard and play soccer

15. What is your favorite drink? Chocolate milk

16. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas

17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Lovey

18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Cereal

19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? Breakfast

20. What do you want to be when you grow up? A race car driver

While I’m not thrilled by my decreasing best friend ranking, I loved this exercise and how much Lucas’ tastes have both changed and stayed the same.

Questionnaire originally found on Pinterest.

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One Year Ago

I love the old adage, “the more things change, the more they stay the same” because in life there are many, many things that should never change.

For example and just to name a few: my favorite bagel shop should never under any circumstances stop making their scrumptious cinnamon sugar bagels because even though I don’t indulge in one very often, I love just knowing they are there and they smell insane.

I believe champagne should always be popped when there’s something fabulous to celebrate and even when there’s not.

I think goofy games should always be played at baby showers no matter how much the guests and typically the guest of honor bitch about them.

Sesame Street should never go off the air, even though my son has never been a fan.

I especially hope my husband never ceases to make me laugh and my son always prefers to sit next to me instead of across form me when we are at a restaurant.

Dependability is nice, tradition is comforting, being surrounded by people and things you can trust and count on is very good and support and unconditional love is priceless, but looking back just one year ago, almost everything in my life is different, some WAY better, some WAY worse. 

Exactly one year ago today I posted Letter to my Blogging Buddies by Alison of Writing, Wishing as part of my weekly series, Letters For You, I was desperately in love with and getting to know our new puppy, Charlie Pasta, I was trying to find the good in myself and making lists. I wasn’t sharing much else.

Only six of the 11 posts I published last August were mine, all the others were guest posts. So far this month, I’ve written nine posts, including this one so I’m sharing more, which can only be healthy for my psyche.

I think.

Since August, 2012, we have moved and are now living miserably uncomfortably in a teeny tiny apartment as we search for our dream house and I’m still getting to know our dog, who turns out is A LOT more work than my four year old and I regret getting almost daily.

Charlie Pasta and I are NOT in a good place these days, although as he sleeps peacefully at my feet as I type this, I realize I really do love him.

How has your life changed in the last year?

And what are some things you hope never change? I asked this on Twitter the other day and all I heard was crickets, so won’t you please indulge me?

This post was written for Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop Prompt #3. What were you blogging about last year at this time? What has changed?

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Listen To Your Mother: Before, During and After

Feeling equal parts terrified and exhilarated, I pressed send.

It was almost six months ago that I e-mailed my Listen To Your Mother submission. I waited on pins and needles for 10 excruciating days, waited for an invitation to audition or not.

Either way, I’d be fine. I took a chance by submitting a piece. And one of the grittiest posts I had ever written.

When the invitation came, I felt more validated that I had in a long time.

Validated and nervous.

My audition went better than I could have ever hoped. I felt good. I nailed every word and left not only proud of myself, but very honored having been asked to read my piece at all.

Even if I wasn’t cast I had already stepped way out of my comfort zone by sharing a part of myself that only few get to see. Sure I had shared it here first, but reading it out loud, owning my words was very different. It put me in a place of intense vulnerability.

More waiting…

Three days later I learned I would be a member of the 2013 inaugural Sacramento Listen To Your Mother cast. I was elated. This was the best news I could have received, especially on that particular day, having just found out we had to move and that our current round of IVF had to be postponed. Again.

What transpired over the following next weeks was life changing. I met the most amazing women, heard their stories of courage and strength, humor and sorrow, wisdom and love and took the stage with them and for one magical night we were united and shined together.

My knees shook as I took my place at the podium on Mother’s Day and read this:

I haven’t been able to write about my LTYM experience until now and I haven’t been able to watch my video yet either. I’m too afraid to explore why, but I believe it has everything to do with the fact that I am still battling my secondary infertility and even though it feels like I’m winning most days, others it feels like anything but.

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