Thursday, July 28, 2016

As I lay in bed, the night before my girl turns one, I'm exhausted. I'm fighting to stay awake to type these thoughts and my body is screaming at me to sleep. But nostalgia wins! It's is a powerful thing, isn't it? A whole year. My baby isn't considered a baby anymore, and that means my first baby is that much bigger too. Ive been thinking about the days leading up to her birth, and how they were filled with the weirdest, most jumbled up emotions. How every time I looked at Oscar my heart would freeze, knowing that he wouldn't be only baby much longer. Wondering how he'd adjust, how we'd all adjust to the craziness of having a newborn and getting to know this new little person in or family, while at the same time being out of my mind excited to meet this this little girl growing inside me. I cried. A lot.

The morning of her birth, as I changed into the hospital gown, Oscar's pacifier fell from my shirt where I always conveniently stored it. I cried again. 
That image of looking down at that paci on the floor is something I wont forget. 
That was moments before I became a Mama, again.

My heart wrapped around her the second she took a breath. 
Her little face; how she calmed once she was placed on my chest....She was perfect.
My love had been waiting for her. 
I now had three great loves of my life.

And now a year later, I may be more tired, and days may last a little longer, but I can't imagine life without this little peanut.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Can't stop, won't stop.

Can't stop, won't stop.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

A Note to My Baby Girl: You're 10 Months Old!

Ten months! 
You're walking!
Still wobbly, and taking about 6 steps max, but walking none the less.
You're really great at finding choking hazards. I basically live every moment in fear.
But, you get the most excited, incredible expression when you successfully take a few steps. 
It's the best.
I think your first word is hi. 
The first sound you made was "Dada", and you also say "Mama". I think you mean it sometimes, but I'm sure you mean hi when you say it. "No" is a close second. 
You're so smart.
You get a lot of the things we tell you now. 
You're a girl that knows what you want.
You love food, especially food that we eat. 
I think you're sort of over purees, despite the fact that I spent a week making a ton of them.
You and your brother are ridiculously cute.
You love each-other so much.
I don't know how I got so lucky, with you two.
I love you so much. I just want to squeeze you all the time. 
(that'll be less weird sounding to you if you have a baby one day)
I cannot wait to see what comes next my sweet girl.

Love, Mama. 

A Note to My Baby Girl: You're 9 Months Old!

You're 3 months away from being a year old and it's totally freaking me out.
You're pretty awesome at traveling! We went to Mexico and you loved it.
Also, your passport photo is perfect.
As soon as we landed you were all smiles. You loved the warmth, probably since Chicago is still ridiculous in April and you were a teeny thing last time it was warm here. You probably didn't know what sunshine was until Mexico.
You loved the pool!
You started cruising between last month and this month.
You also started standing up without holding anything while in Mexico. Big stuff.
You're lips are just the sweetest. I give you a trillion kisses a day, and you kiss back! You love kisses.
You're growing fast.
 We also went to Bloomington/ Normal.
There's your cute little bellybutton.
 This was your first time in a swing!
Loved it.
 This was such a beautiful day.
You're a multitasker.
You're joy is contagious.
I love you a trillion swing rides.

Love, Mama.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Mama Spotlight: Shirley

I remember the first time I walked past Wolfbait & B Girls clearly. I was pregnant with my son, waddling around Logan Square and in all honesty thought this shop was way too cool to carry my little magnets. After a lot of urging from my husband and a good month or so of self-esteem boosting, I got up the nerve to email them photos of my work, and I couldn’t be happier that I did. Three years later I sit here writing my very first ‘Mom Entrepeneur Spotlight’ on one of the two lovely owners. Meet Shirley.
Shirley and Jenny opened Wolfbait & B Girls 10 years ago, aiming to create a unique retail shop that also doubled as studio workspace for their clothing lines. Starting with just 12 local artists, they've grown to sell 207 artists’ work and have become a staple of the Logan Square neighborhood. On top of the shop’s impressive success, Shirley has also made two humans in the last 3 1/2 years! She has some seriously impressive Mama-work-life balance happening.
 Me: How has Motherhood affected your work?

Shirley: I’m just sort of settling in now, you know, about 7-8 months after my second child. But from the first pregnancy through now has been very difficult.

As many of us can relate, time is a struggle. While Shirley feels lucky for what she has and grateful for her husband’s support and partnership, this type of small business takes a lot of dedication and physical presence from the owners.

“There’s tons of overhead, rent, utilities, internet, gift-wrapping…. that’s why brick and mortar stores really struggle, there is not a large profit margin. It’s truly a labor of love”.

But that’s just it, the love. You feel that love from the second you walk through the doors. They’ve made Wolfbait & B Girls more than just a shop, it’s a beautiful representation of the city- a pride filled room. These women welcome patrons into their creative process, and elicit this incredible 
Me: What’s your favorite part of being a Mom and an entrepreneur?

Shirley: It’s given me a new pride, because I’m going to be proud to tell my girls about what I do and the ethics of what I do. This is the whole reason why we’re about shopping local, shopping small, stopping sweatshops, you know? Creating a new sense of individuality… So it kind of reminded me of why I do the things I do.

Me: What’s something that you wish was a little easier in balancing everything?

Shirley: It’s hard for me to find a flaw in it since I’m just more of a half full kind of person, but I guess the only thing I do genuinely dislike is pumping. (AMEN)

I originally wrote this post for Mumzy Blog as a Mom-entrepreneur spotlight. 

Monday, March 28, 2016

A Note to My Baby Girl: You're 8 Months Old!

Girl you're my angel, your my darling, angel. Closer than my peeps you are to me, baby.
Ok, not the most conventional mother-daughter song...for example, I've never been incarcerated. But, you're totally my shorty and you are a queen and that's how you should be treated. 
Nora, I have so much guilt not being up to date with these monthly posts, and not doing a little photo shoot each time. So. Much. Guilt.
Everyone tells me you wont care, and that I'm being neurotic (Ok, I'm adding that myself)...Just know it's just because I'm doing a trillion things at this point in our lives, and I'd rather hang with you than sit on the computer. I binge write when I get 5 minutes. 
 You are zero to sixty my friend. 
Happy and giggly to sobbing in minutes. 
You just have a lot of feels, I get it.
 You look so much like your brother. 
But you definitely have your own look.
 You are beautiful beyond words.
You take my breath away daily.
 You love being carried.
If I set you down you freak out.
Sometimes it's troublesome because there's like, a mountain of laundry sitting there, but when I'm away from you I crave that closeness. 
I don't know what I'll do with myself when you're too big to carry.
My girl, I could not be prouder.
You're a dream.

Love, Mama.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Happy Play Cafe

If you're a Mom in Chicago, you've probably heard of the play-space with birds and bunnies. And if you haven't?.....Oh man. It's so good. Here's what we thought of Happy Play Cafe:

Oscar (3 years): Quickly warmed up, loved the train table area and the birds the most. He LOVED the birds. I was shocked. He can be easily overwhelmed in certain situations, and I thought a room with 50 birds chirping and flying around would do it....nope. Surprisingly, the bunnies were not as big of a hit with Oscar and his friend. Weird.

Nora (7mos): Girlfriend will have fun anywhere. At 7 months old, there wasn't a ton for her to actually do, but she did enjoy sitting in the little toddler area and watching all of the bigger kids play. The small toddler area had some cushioned obstacle type things (I cant think of what they're called), which I'm sure she'll be really into once she can crawl.

Mama: I really liked it! We had met friends there and they liked it as well. There's an area with bar-stools and a counter where you could work (if your kids will let you) and a ton of comfy chairs throughout the place. The room is big enough for kids to play, but small enough where you don't have to worry about your babe running off. I loved the bunnies, I did not love the bird room......but it's not them, it's me. Irrational fears aside, the room was kept very clean and the birds seem happy and well taken care of. My only only issue with this place, was that the name was a little misleading- there's no cafe. There is one next door which is convenient before or after play but not mid. I was able to leave Oscar with our friends and run next door with Nora, but I would've been stuck sans coffee if our friends weren't there. Which would have made me pretty unhappy. My wish would be that they would offer some sort of connecting door, but if not, now I know to just stop in before the bunny party.

Parking: Easy! I was surprised, I was worried because of the location but there was a ton of metered parking right in front.

Price: Reasonable. I like that one adult is included in the kid price.

Overall: We'll definitely be going back! This place has made it to our top 3, and our friend's agreed. The staff is super sweet, the animals are happy and healthy, and kids love the activity areas. All good stuff.

I am a proud ambassador for a new company here in Chicago called Pearachute Kids. Pearachute was recently started by a few Mama's who wanted options for classes, flexibility in scheduling/canceling, and a way to try out classes without investing a ton of money when there's a risk that a class may not be a good fit. Because of Pearachute, I'm able to try out all the amazing studios, classes and play spaces this city has to offer, and come here (and to Instagram) to give my honest and unbiased opinions. Pearachute has a lot of integrity and has made it clear from the start that their goal is to provide a fun, safe and easy service for families while supporting local businesses and the community they serve. If you have any questions, please let me know! Or, if you're all about it- click here to sign up with $10 off your first month! It's worth it, I promise.