31 July 2008

I *Heart* Felted Necklaces

Here are some of my favorite felted necklace goodies from my favorite on-line store, Etsy.

What's Happening

(Warning: This posting is slightly diary-ish) There's been so much going on, but nothing really to write home about. I'm trying to take things as they come, but those of you who know me, know I don't do that well.

I was so completely preoccupied earlier this week, that sadly (remember, no kids), it was kind of a blur. Why you ask? Because. Ever since I've had kids, I've turned into a bit of a hypochondriac. Is that normal? It drives me nuts ... I know better. I never worried about health issues before. But now? Now, I'm constantly thinking something is wrong. I find one little slightly abnormal thing, and I imagine the worst. It doesn't even cross my mind that maybe, just maybe, it's something called aging. I know Brian would be fine if God forbid something happened to me, but who would plan birthday parties? Or organize the kids lives? Make sure dinner is on the table? Or the dog fed? Who would pay the bills? Would the kids remember me? But not to worry. The fact is, I'm fine (at least physically). I found a lump near my collar bone and freaked. But in my defense, you try googling "lump by collar bone" and see what you pull up. Scary. Thanks Internet. Doctor said it wasn't anything to worry about, but still gave me a blood test and chest x-ray. It's all 100% normal. Probably not even a lymph node -- most likely fatty tissue, which is extremely gross, but a much better prognosis.

Next, we are trying to find an afternoon nanny -- which before the thought-I-had-cancer-but-now-know-I-don't days, completely kept me preoccupied. I just want to do the right thing, you know? H is signed up for a great after-school program, and C will continue where he's currently at. These are fabulous options. But logistically, I have no idea how we are going to pull it off, especially with Brian's travel schedule. So we are looking for an afternoon babysitter. Can I just say, people are total flakes. I have 40 resumes, have contacted several back, and have only been confident enough in one to interview her. And, she was great! But unfortunately can only work short term. And I'm not sure I can stomach going through this process again. So we'll keep on searching. If you know of anyone, please have them send their resume to peafour@gmail.com.

And that, is what is going on. Ahhhh, I feel so much better.

30 July 2008

Evenings Without Kids

Since the boys were in Wisconsin the last few days, Brian and I had some us time. It seems to have flown by, but we did fit in some fun outings.
We're ready to see them again -- especially Brian who hasn't seen them for a week -- but it's been really nice.

28 July 2008

Lunch Hour

It was a gorgeous Chicago summer day. So I headed to the Pritzker Pavilion with my co-worker friends for Audible Architecture: Chicago Nightclubs at Noon to see Bill Callahan. Honestly, I don't get out much (lunch time or any time). But it's days like these that I just love living in this city.

En arrière de Québec

Last evening, I had the house to myself. Besides the dog, I was totally alone. No children -- they are still enjoying time at Nina & Papa's in Wisconsin. No Brian -- he was at Velirium (a World Cup mountain bike event) on Mont-Sainte-Anne in Quebec. In 6.5 years (since H has been around), this has never happened. It was nice. Weird, but nice. Slightly lonely, but nice. I had big plans to watch some sort of chick-flick, but was busy the whole time. I walked the dog, downloaded photos from the weekend, did laundry and sorted school supplies (the sales tax in Wisconsin is way lower than Chicago). Brian got home this afternoon, and I'm so anxious to get home and see him.

27 July 2008

Another Wisconsin Weekend - Summer 2008

We had another great Wisconsin weekend. It was jammed packed with fun, and the weather was perfect. We went to the beach both days -- which is probably my favorite place in the whole wide world to be in the summer. Beaver Lake is crystal clear and had a sandy bottom -- there's really nothing like it. We also went over to Jake's house for his 12th birthday party. 12! Can't believe it. C decided to use Aunt Christie as a plate for his cake, which was rather disgusting. The next day the kids went to the playground and frolicked in the river. We also played tennis before the beach. The boys are super lucky -- they get to stay with Nina and Papa until Wednesday.

Happy 12th Birthday Jacob!

24 July 2008

So Much Artwork

We've been having such a dilemma lately. Every week, the kids come home from school with piles of artwork. And I love it all! We have a bin to archive a select few, but the rest? It eventually has to go in the garbage. See that to the right? That's two weeks worth. There's craft projects, ice-cream store signs, paper money, family portraits, Mr. Sun. The pile was getting so huge, I had to throw it out last night. All except a few -- a family portrait I'm bringing to work, Mr. Sun (on a stick, come on!) and this great fish hat H made. I just couldn't part with them yet.

Breakfast of Champions

For the past couple of weeks, my co-worker friend (who, unlike me who forgot her camera, has photos of our work field trip on her blog, by the way) has been eating oat groats (the oat kernel -- like horses eat) for breakfast. And you know me -- willing to try anything, especially when it's good for you, fills you up and supposedly makes you feel great. So here was my breakfast this morning. Oat groats, goji berries, cacao nibs, walnuts and almond milk. Brian was sent along to work with a little bowl of it today too. I liked it. Can't wait to hear what he thought!

22 July 2008

Great Day

Today I got to take the water taxi to Navy Pier, see The Dark Knight on IMAX and eat dinner at Japonais with a colleague of Brian's from their European office and his wonderful wife (who were visiting some friends of theirs in Oshkosh of all places). Really, does it get much better than that?

21 July 2008

When The Mom is Sick

All this triathlon spectating over the weekend gave me a big ole' cold. So this morning, H said he was really sorry I wasn't feeling good, made me a heart (see left) and said I could wear it all day -- he even supplied the tape. So C followed big brother's suit as always, and made me a heart too. Which is what that giant piece of paper hanging on the right is. You can't see his drawing of a heart very well, but it's there. I was able to convince them that my hearts would get ruined if I wore them all day, and they are better to save for home use.

20 July 2008

Racine Triathlon

This weekend, we journeyed back to Brian's home city, Racine, Wisconsin for the The Spirit of Racine Triathlon. It was a filled with racing, watching others race, and getting together with friends and family. Brian and our friends Chris and David raced the Sprint distance (750 meter swim, 12.4 mile bike and 3.1 run). Chris & Penny's friend Jessica raced the Women's only event (sprint distance). And Jessica's husband, Jim, and a couple other people Chris & Penny know who we had dinner with the night before, raced the Half Ironman (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike course and 13.1 mile run). Chris placed #1 in his age group (also Brian's age group). And Brian did incredible again too, placing 34th overall, and 6th in his age group.

C would not get in the picture, but H was an excellent spectator --
even in the cold and the rain.

Maybe we were just caught up in the moment, but Penny and I agreed to do the Women's Only event next year. Actually, I think it's a great goal (believe it or not, I turn 40 next year...), and right now, I'm excited about it. But we'll see how I am come July 2009.

Do you see this lady below? She's my inspiration. 77 years old! Amazing. I think I'm going to print her photo out and paste it on my mirror.

Roasting marshmallows at Jim and Jessica's.
Here's the scene from the Half. It did clear up later in the day,
but when the race began, it was pretty nasty out. There were a ton of people participating and watching, and it was just really fun to see.

Brian put in a special request for shout-outs. Thanks to H & C for making signs. Thanks to Mom for having our crew over the night before the event (and letting us stay the weekend). Thanks to Pam, Ian, Mackenzie and Mom for coming down to watch. Thanks to Jim and Jessica (and Chris & Penny) for having our gang and others over the night before the Half. It was a great weekend.

17 July 2008

Bear Monster

Absolutely, I'm an Etsy-addict! How can you not be? It's the best place for finding unique, creative, handmade items, while supporting people make things for a living. It's inspiring. It's just plain great. Brian's past birthday was the perfect excuse to buy a print from Portland, Oregon artist, Matte Stephens. He's quite the big deal, as you can see from the number of sales on his Etsy store. This print is the called "The Giant Suburban Bear Monster" and it makes me smile every time I walk by it ... I just love it's sense of humor.

16 July 2008

Why it Works

This morning, I went into C's room to grab his clothes and found one of these! It's freaking me out. I have visions of C getting stung in the middle of the night, or a giant swarm living in our walls. Even the thought that Storm could get stung during the day while stuck in his crate has crossed my mind. Seriously, this is how my mind works. Who thinks of these things? I can't help it. So, I found something online that said you should stick out a bowl with dish soap and honey. If you get a lot, they are in the house. If you have few, there is a small hole somewhere. (Of course, I'm hoping it flew in when H or C left the door open at some point, which is all the time.) But I emailed Brian to see if we should try it. His reply to me was "Relax. Watch this." So there you have it. The secret to our success. Me worrying. And Brian throwing some random thing into the mix so I don't take things so seriously. It actually is a good balance because we all do need a little of both.

15 July 2008

Smelling Good

I went on a bit of a splurge last week, and ordered myself some perfume. I never used to be into scents too much, but really like the lighter, interesting fragrances that are out there now. My new one is called Loukhoum by Keiko Mecheri. It's inspired by rahat lokhum, or Turkish Delight -- a rosewater candy. Honestly, I can't stop smelling myself -- even after a run in 90 degree weather. Now that's something.

13 July 2008

Trees and Bugs

It was a perfect in-the-70s day here, so we hit the Morton Arboretum. The boys and I had gone earlier this year, but things were different this time -- Brian got to come with, it was much better weather, and it was a lot more crowded. Ralph Covert of Ralph's World was having a concert, so at first, we slightly concerned. But while most of the kids were jamming to the tunes, we were strolling the Children's Garden listening to the concert from afar. It would have been fun to go to, but at the same time, was just fine by us. We even got to see a little of the concert while we were walking through the maze, and C thought it was cool that both he and Ralph were wearing blue.

Big Bugs were still on exhibit (only through the end of the month), so H & C were bug detectives. C took his job very seriously, as you can see from the pencil behind the ear (he learned it from H), and the check boxes he made in his guide book when a bug was spotted. H thought it would be a good idea for his Dad to get a photo in front of the Daddy Long Leg so C took a great photo of that. It was a really fun day, and C even got to hold a (huge) bumble bee while H and I hid behind a tree.


See that bright light in the middle of the stage? That's the amazing Lyle Lovett from our fantastic seats at Ravinia. Thanks to Anne & David, he definitely has a new fan.

12 July 2008

Dude Pins

Last night we went to Flybird after getting the boy's hair cut. H found these pins and said, "Look Mom, dude pins." So, C said "Ya Mom, dude pins," and of course we had to get them each one. We did go to the Constructor Craft Fair back in May after all. C picked one with the scissors -- it's his badge of honor for getting his hair cut.

10 July 2008

A Few Days in Breckenridge

Brian's en route in a taxi right now, coming home from a trip to Breckenridge, Colorado. Here was the view from where he had coffee this morning.

08 July 2008

Big Blue

His nose matches our new crushed blue stone patio. And no, we didn't plan that. But it is really cute when he's lounging in our back yard.

06 July 2008

Sprinkler + 2 Boys = Fun

You Say Peanut ... I Say Person

I know Peanut is a common nickname, but it's also my nickname for C. So today he was calling me over to see something. I said "What Peanut?" He said "Me no peanut. Me a guy. Me person, Mom." I've been annoying him by calling him Person now. It's one of the joys of being a parent. It's just a matter of time before he'll be begging for me to call him Peanut again.

Oak Street Beach

Brian and our friend Chris have a triathlon coming up, and wanted to do a little swim training. So our families packed the sunscreen, beach toys and snacks (I made a Watermelon Salad with Mint and Crispy Prosciutto -- really good), and headed to Ohio Street Beach, where they have an open swim area. In all my years of living in the area, believe it or not, this was my first time going to one of the Chicago beaches, and the kids absolutely loved it.

05 July 2008

4th of July, 2008

We marched in the 4th of July parade, had friends over for a grill out and went to the fireworks. Perfect weather, perfect people, perfect day.

P.S. The pie might not look great, but it was. Creamsicle ice-cream pie.