Wordful Wednesday: The Biz at 18 Months

My blog has suffered under Extreme Busyness Syndrome. So much so that monthly updates for my sweet Isora Rose have been all but non existent. (*To Isora – Sorry sweet girl. I really would have liked to write more about you over the past 18 months but keeping up with you and how quickly you learn everything is pretty time consuming. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I love you and your Wiggle Worm ways so no complaints that I loved your sister more, m’kay?)

So I figured I’d take this Wednesday to gush show off brag discuss my sweet baby girl.

This is Isora Rose. 18 months old but just told me the other day that “I 3 year old Mama”.  Ummmm, no, you’re not. But cute that she repeats every. single. thing. her sister says, right? And yes, she talks. A lot. All day. All night. She says words that sound funny coming out of a 18 month old mouth. Like ‘remember’ and ‘medicine’. She nearly always says ‘thank you’ often says ‘please’ and her newest fav is “No. I do it.” SMH. WAY too early for that statement if you ask me. She says all her ABC’s and “1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,14,Zoomi” (cause she knows it makes us laugh). She sings along to all our songs in the car. She loves when I sing Alouette and My Favorite Things and 1 2 3. And she loves Bob Marley. Of course 😉

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This little lady has always been sweet and chill but as she’s grown she has blossomed into the most good-natured, smiling and happy child I’ve ever known. She rarely cries (though the closer we come to 2 the more she fake-cries) and if she does get a boo-boo it’s easy to make her smile again. The song ‘Alouette’ used to be her stop-crying song. Now you just say “Boo Teta”. I know. It’s silly. Cedella said it to her once when she was crying and it stuck. They both crack up. Every. Time.

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There’s something else you must know about Iz. She is completely obsessed with her sister. Whatever Ella is doing or saying, Izzie is copying. It’s adorable and funny, as short-lived as it may be. Because one day they will fight over toys or clothes or boys or life but for now they’re pretty inseparable. And that’s cool with me.

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Despite their closeness they are very different children. And that’s the coolest thing to see. All the things that Iz loves that El gets easily bored by. All the subtle little differences.

For example…this kid loves to brush her teeth. It makes her whole day. She’ll say “brush teeth” until I go into the bathroom with her and put toothpaste on her Dora brush.

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She is a Weirdo. With a capital W. In our home Weirdos are just silly people who are different and unique. Weird is a positive. She has Weird in spades. She wore this one snow boot around for hours. Hours. And would freak if I tried to put the other shoe on her. Weirdo.

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And man is she funny. She is constantly thinking of new ways to make us laugh. She’s a natural Goof Ball. I kinda wish I could roam around the house mostly nude with a basket on my head too. Sadly she’s the only one that can get away with it, she’s a trailblazer of physical comedy.

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Like the Corn-Holio. She does this one a lot. Actually she takes off her shirt a lot. When her tummy is free she’ll rub on it like she’s rubbing a Good Luck Buddha and say “Tummy”. Makes us laugh every. single. time.

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And this…her fake pouty face. She’s got you fooled, huh? Keep in mind this face was directly followed by

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a big old grin.

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Did I mention Izzie can and will sleep just about anywhere at any time? No really. Anywhere. Remember this? A booth in a busy restaurant in Chicago.

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And at the Zoo. Even at her favorite place she sleeps.

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Another thing to know about this little lady: she loves to eat. Loves. Anything and everything. The only thing she seems to have an aversion towards is fish (which is weird cause we eat a lot of fish) but she loves everything else. Current obsession? Hummus, PB&J, Turkey and Yogurt. And cupcakes. Anything with frosting is cool with her.

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Always fruit. Off the tree, don’t care. She was digging on that pear. The cuteness of her eating this pear fresh off her Jiddo’s tree just kills me. I love it so.

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She is a book lover just like her Mama and her sis. Current favs include ‘Pajama Time’ ‘Duck on a Bike’ and the Little Critter book ‘I Was So Mad’. And anything that has baby faces for her to kiss. She’s really into kissing right now.

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Though she loves to hang out at Play. she really comes alive at the zoo. On this visit she woke up just in time to chase the peacocks . It never gets old.

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She is a very intense and avid colorer. Have you ever seen a more serious coloring face? She’s doing business here.

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And she has entered the Momma and Baby phase. The second we get to Play. she goes right for the babies. At home she carries around three at a time.

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She even wears her babies while she’s watching her favorite shows (Currently: Daniel Tiger, Super Why, Team Umizoomi and Dora).

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Though she loves taking care of her babies she is still very much Mama’s Girl. I can’t get enough kisses and hugs from this kid. She’s positively delicious. She makes every single cell in my body vibrate with happiness even on the rainiest and grayest days.

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I catch myself sometimes just staring at her. Just in awe of some new thing she’s taught herself or something funny that she’s done. Watching that sweet grin spread over her face is like medicine for a stressed out soul. I love to watch her play and explore and try and persevere.

But seriously, where did I get this blonde haired green eyed child from? Another unique and beautiful thing about this sweet girl.

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But whatever you do. Don’t take this girl’s babies or food….cause she’s a tough girl. She’ll get ya.

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See? Told you she was funny.

Do you have a hilarious child of your own? I’d love to here about what makes your kid an awesome Weirdo!! Please share stories!!

Linking up with Amanda at Dude Mom and Angie at Seven Clown Circus. Go check out their gorgeous families now. Just do it.

Happy Wednesday!!

Wordful Wednesday: Chicago Summer Fun

::patting sweat from brow:: Is summer over yet? Cause I’m exhausted.

No really, it seems like the summer just flew by in a haze of weekend trips and rain storms and car rides to Detroit.

We squeezed a LOT of action into a few short months. And we were supposed to do so much more. Sadly we got uninvited from a friend’s annual trip to her parent’s cottage in the Canadian wild. Apparently having my kids there would have greatly cramped their style. It was shitty and my feelings are still a bit bruised, but we made the best of it. We took the days off that we had already scheduled, packed up the car and headed to…

CHICAGO!!!! to visit my Bro-in-law André and his super sweet bachelor pad. Neither of us have seen André’s place. And sadly we hadn’t been to Chicago together since before we were engaged. SMH. As Cedella would say “Not cool dude, not cool.”

Now for those that haven’t already heard this here’s a little tidbit about Michael and I. We both lived in Chicago at overlapping times, he was there first and left before me and I was there a bit longer then we met a year after I moved home. Even more coincedence? We both worked on Halstead Street during that overlapping period of time. Who knows how many times we sat on the train together or passed each other on the street. Or waited in line at that same Dunkin Donuts for a coffee before work.

Isn’t that crazy? We discovered it on our first night getting to know each other. It still fascinates me and makes me love for a Tardis to take me back and discover all those small passing moments we were almost together, but not.

Anyways…we both love the city. Love. Chicago is the town I would live in again in a split second. I adore Chicago. I want to live there again some day.

So needless to say getting booted from the Canada trip was a blessing in disguise and just what we needed as a family.

Now for the picture overload…

We arrived on Thursday went to André’s and checked out the view. And it didn’t suck one little bit.

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After being floored by the view we rested for a while and then braved rush hour traffic in cab to make it to the Children’s Museum on Navy Pier because it was FREE that night. But this free museum night is not a secret. That place was bananas. Fun but totally chaotic.

As it turned out our good friend’s from Lansing were there playing too. Nicole and Randy and their little ladies Nia and Imani were a welcome sight in the mad crowds.

Izzie and Imani rolled around the baby area.

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Check out Nia, Izzie and Ella getting their groove on.

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My beautiful friend Nicole and I. (P.S. We really needed a flash for this picture! lol)

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Uncle André met us there after work and endured the ‘creeper’ pass just to hula hoop with his nieces. The ‘creeper’ pass is this bright pink badge they make you wear in the museum if you’re a solo dude with no kids in tow. André just screams creeper in his Brooks Brothers, doesn’t he?

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Check out my Mighty Girl. She was totally digging this workshop area. Just a screw driver and some screws and she was engrossed for 35 minutes. Remind me to add a workbench to the playroom, huh?

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On the way home from the museum we were starving and decided to try this little spot in André’s hood. Big & Little’s. Featured on Diners, Drive-in’s and Dives. Gotta say…it was slammin’!!

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They’re schtick is awesome tacos and po’boys. And they do them very very well. This Bahn Mi Fried Shrimp Po’Boy was incredible. Like lick your fingers and ask for more incredible.

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Isora loved the food so much that she only woke up once the food was served. She slept through the wait.

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Cedella and her Uncle appeared to have loved it as well. We may have ordered 1,000,000 tacos. Seriously. That good.

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Then we took a stroll back to the crib. And the view pretty much sucked. Not at all brilliant.

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But then you turn the corner and…the last remnants of Cabrini Green housing projects. A sad reminder that gentrification is a messed up, complicated, sad and yet wonderful thing.

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The next day we hit up the Field. Cause you have to do at least one of the big museums when visiting. Well, at least you have to if you’re in our family. I never met a museum I didn’t like.

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And there she is, hiding in the back there behind that glorious elephant, Sue the Dinosaur. I remember being so impressed with Sue when I was a kid. Cedella was underwhelmed. But she loved the halls of taxidermy animals and was fascinated and disturbed as to how these animals got put behind glass and how they’re not alive anymore.

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I adored this exhibit on Africa. I want so badly to ride on this bus.

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Ella got to cruise on a motorbike with a jambox on the back.

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And I got to hang out and rest in Grandma Linda’s favorite spot in the Field. The Pawnee Lodge. Me and my baby in a papoose were right at home. I even got to do a quick woven wrap demo for some curious mamas.

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And I just love this photo. Outside the museum. Such a sweet moment.

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We had a lot of time in this trip to just relax, cook, visit and take it easy. This was Saturday morning while we were making breakfast. 21st century Saturday morning cartoons…on the iPad.

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That day we loaded up a cooler with drinks, sandwiches and snacks and hit up the 31st beach. It was incredible. The beach was populated but not crowded, and there was a gorgeous view. Thanks to my girl Kasey for hooking us up with this ‘hidden’ gem in the city! Seriously, best cheap family day in the city yet.

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Me and the girls. And André catching some rays.

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This view doesn’t suck either.

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An even better feature of this beach? A really cool playground we burned off some energy at before heading home for the day. This kid is a big fan of swings. Big fan.

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Pretty sure these white dudes are vampires. Just sayin’…

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My sweet active sweaty lovely adventurous girl.

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The next day this mama wanted to do some shopping. I needed a Zara and H&M fix so we headed down to State St. And then this happened. We used a Picasso as a slide. I know, I know, everyone does. And anytime I’ve been to Daley Plaza I have done this. But it never ceases to amaze that this is a Picasso statue.

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Then Cedella found her inner drum circle hippie and danced like no one’s business for this man’s drums. I really wish I could share the video, it was epic. But it won’t download from BIL’s HTC phone. Boo.

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Izzie and I found our bliss in the middle of H&M. She was the perfect little shopping buddy until the second I went in the dressing room and she decided she was starving and wanted Mama and Daddy wasn’t cutting it. She’s such a Mama’s Girl.

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But then I wrapped her up and all was right with the world. Don’t we look ready for a few more hours of spending?

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Sadly my girls are not interested in hours of shopping. So we grabbed some Garret’s, hit up the Disney store and then headed back to the apartment to pack up and head home.

We waited until late afternoon, when both girls were tired, and had a fairly uneventful, though stormy, ride home.

So we may not have gone clubbing or had any 4am hotdogs with a side of obscenities but we had a really fantastic trip!

Can’t wait to go back later this year. Chicago at Christmastime with a dusting of snow is magical. And there are so many things we didn’t get to do this time that we just have to get back sooner than later.

Thanks André and Chicago for hosting us for another incredible memory-making trip!

Where did your family go this summer? Any tips for great urban places to check out with little ones in tow?

Happy Wednesday wordless, wordful or however you spend Hump Day!

Wordful Wednesday: The Cape

So I have been so busy being on another vacation that I haven’t gotten a chance to blog about the family vacay we took when all the shit was hitting the fan in our family. If you need a refresher HERE you go.

Days following some of the hardest month in our marriage yet the four of us set off on a road trip to Cape Cod, Mass to visit with some friends. But really, and particularly after the weekend we spent there, friends is an understatement. They are family, if not by blood, then by closeness, commonality, time and affection.

Erik, one of a handful of Michael’s grade school friends that he is still very close with, is like a brother from another mother. He and Michael have been through a lot together. Girls, sports, partying, getting into trouble, traveling, you name it. Erik lives in Thailand for most of the year, that is when he’s not traveling to other far off corners of the world and chaperoning kids into service projects in tiny off-the-beaten path villages. So those few times they’re in the same country…that’s priceless.

The few times he is in the states we try to get together, our guest room is always ready for him, but his family, including his Moms and his sister and bro-in-law are out in Cape Cod, making his Mitten visits fewer and fewer. After I met and clicked right away with his sister Sara several years ago we maintained a good bond between blogging and Facebook (find her inspirational and thought provoking blog HERE). And we hosted her husband Leo for an overnight a couple summers ago. We’ve all casually chatted about making it out to there little slice of seaside life in Wellfleet for a visit.

And then Sara and Leo grew two incredible little humans and after seeing their gorgeous faces online for months wasn’t enough, we decided it was time for a visit. Erik was still in town when our store went into a summer calm mode and we could make a desperately needed escape from Capitol City. So off we went.

Google said it would be 13ish hours if we drove through Canada. With two toddlers we added on roughly 4 hours in stops to that equation and decided to stop for the night in upstate NY. The road to get to Wellfleet was bumpy, tense and at times unbearable, it may have ruined me for family road trips for good, but we survived. And made in one piece to the Cape by early Thursday afternoon.

First order? Meeting the babies. God was it lovely to finally hold those two precious ones. And though it took a day or three for Sofi to warm up to me…

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Isak was my buddy from jump.

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Next order of business? The Beach. The Ocean. The Cape. The next day was spent chasing the water and the sun.  It was a cool and foggy day but that didn’t stop us from hanging out on the beach for a while. Cedella even talked her Dad into running into the water with her. Sucker.

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Then we went to the Wellfleet Harbor to check out some oyster boats and grab some lunch.

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The restaurant was also a book store and housed the coolest local dive bar in its basement. Could I be ANYMORE at home? I think not.

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And even better for the kids, there was a super sweet playground next door to the restaurant where I nabbed this incredible photo. This. Girl. Is. Killing. It.

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The best part of this trip was just how much we got to chill and talk and catch up with our dear friends. And maybe drink a couple beers. Izzie was very helpful at cleaning up all the beer bottles with Uncle Erik.

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Cedella really loved helping with the babies (doesn’t she LOOK thrilled?). And so did I. Sara and I talked about how nice it was to have to mothers (and grandmas, dads and uncles) around all day with all those young kids. There was always a helping hand about if one of us needed it. Communal parenting FTW!!!

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Someone, well, actually two someones, formed pretty serious crushes on their Uncle Erik. Window kisses. He’s a charmer ladies!!

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And how could I forget to mention these ladies. The Moms. Dikke and Tina. They are so in love and so lovely. They are parenting superstars and just really great people. It was really nice to get to know both of them.

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In fact we got the chance to celebrate Mother’s Day with them in high style thanks to Chef Erik! But first…we visited Provincetown. And while we only scratched the surface of what P-Town had to offer I would go back in a heartbeat to visit. Michael would not. We had a fight there that didn’t end well or quickly and he thought the town was full of pretenious assholes. Did I mention he hated it. But it was so charming. It had an older and more eclectic feel than say Charleston…

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And a healthy dose of nautical charm. Yes, that’s my Ahoi wrap on the pier. Had to do it, it was too perfect not to.

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How cute are they? Such a beautiful family. And another win for babywearing…even got Sara with one on the front and one on the back and her walks were revolutionized!

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After all the drama in P-Town we all needed to chill, regroup and unwind. And this is what we can home to. Chilled white wine and fresh Wellfleet oysters. Oh. My. Goodness. Divine. Could it get anymore East Coast than this?

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Uncle Erik let Cedella name all the lobsters before they went to their Final Death. And the silly thing wouldn’t touch them. She said they were scary. Izzie went right up and touched it and walked away, unimpressed. Someone’s girlie side is showing…

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So our Mother’s Day dinner was a lobster and scallop feast!! It was so delicious. I even learned how to crack open the tail and get all the meat out. And sucking on the legs. And melted butter with lemon. I’m drooling on my keyboard. It was so good.

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Poor Uncle Leo was working and studying his ass off while we visited so we didn’t get to see very much of him. But this moment, after dinner, with him and Cedella in a food coma watching Animal Alphabet? So sweet. She really liked him.

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Sadly our visit was a short one but made all the more special by how well all of us get along and how much we genuinely enjoy each other’s company. Erik has a really strong connection to all the kids, the little ladies love him so.

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And Sara was just born to be a mother. Her instincts and intuition are incredible. Sofi and Isak have brought out even more intelligence and strength from her. I watched her juggle these two and their nursing, diapers, naps and bedtimes quite seamlessly. I’m in awe. Izzie was too. She just loved how calm and quiet Sara was with her. That and she loves to be read to…

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And here’s us. Fast friends, mommy role models and peers. Sisters in our own tribe. And all these crazy smart silly kiddos. I hope they grow up knowing one another as cousins and family, how lucky would they be.

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Though the road home was even harder than the road there, again, we made it back alive. All the wiser for having connected with really great people, in a really positive environment and had the chance to step out of our daily stress to be with our tribe.

Many and more thanks to the Moms, Sara, Leo and Erik for your hospitality, your help and your friendship. Our home is always open to you. Here’s hoping for many years of family visits and celebrations!!

Whew! That was a long one…you still there? If you are…Happy Wednesday whether you be wordless, wordful or hopeful. I’m hopeful today is a day for change and recognizing that love and marriage should be equal for all of our citizens. What are you hopeful for today?