Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Bayless Kind of Birthday

A couple months ago I came home to a fuming husband. Mad.
Red in the face, solid use of explitives, the whole deal.

Now anyone who has met Troy can't imagine this. It's few and far between the number of times I've seen him upset in thirteeen years. This one? It ranked right up there.

After a few minutes he was able to explain to me that he had found what he called "the perfect birthday gift" for me. After four hours on hold (not an exageration) the phone died and he lost is place in virtual line. Four hours. On hold.

When he finally connected to someone again the event was sold out. I never asked what it was. Ignorance is bliss. He put himself on a waiting list and we crossed our fingers.

A month later still nothing. We had some friends over and we were rehashing the above story when I finally found out what said event was.

Fast forward to 5 days before "the perfect birthday gift". We are sitting on the porch outside getting ready to for an evening walk when the phone rings. An enthusiastic "YES!" from me and we were signed up.

Now, for the details:

We checked into the Blackstone hotel downtown Chicago. Yes it felt a bit funny to pack a bag and stay 3 miles from home.

Once checked in we made our way to our room, changed clothes and then met in the lobby. We boarded a bus, along with the rest of our group......and arrived at our destinaiton. The home of Rick Bayless!!!!!!!!!!!

We enjoyed a gobs of margaritas (or water in my case), a cooking demo, a discussion with his gardener, and a small chat with his wife on the charity work that they do.

After all of this we boarded the bus once again. Our next stop was Topolobamco for dinner. Wow. Amazing food. Amazing wine (says Troy, the non-wine drinker).

What an incredible evening. One for the books.

Thank you Mr. Haigh for a truly unforgettable birthday celebration!

Sunday, July 28, 2013


We've been asking our dentist for a while now when we should bring in Charlotte for her first visit. The answer was always 3 years old at the earliest but closer to 4 unless it seemed something was bothering her. We should have listened to our gut.

We found a highly reviewed pediatric dentist and booked Charlotte for her first visit.
Ugh. Where to start.

A bit of good first. I was amazed at how well she did. She crawled up in the chair and acted like a pro. Probably a good thing for as much time as we'll be spending there. She loved the stuffed animals they had there and even told the hygienist how to brush the lion's teeth.
And that's the end of the good.

Just minutes after having her teeth brushed she got sick. Three times. But a little rinse of the mouth and she recovered.

Apparently Charlotte has an enamel deficiency that a majority of premature babies are born with. She wasn't premie, but she was a couple weeks early.

Sooo....our two year old, TWO year old, has a cavity. And 2 more that are very close behind. This deficiency effects a family of teeth. Hers are are first molars. There are 4. One of which has a cavity, two in bad shape and one still ok.

We now have an appointment to have her cavity filled, and over the course of the next couple months we'll address the other teeth through a series of sealants. In addition we started using fluoride toothpaste. Teaching a two year old to spit is entertaining.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Birthday Berries and Beauties

Last year for my birthday we made a last minute decision to load up the car and spend the night in Michigan. It ended up being one of our most memorable weekends to date. 

This year our schedule was shorter but our car was fuller. We had two beautiful girls from Texas in for the weekend. We crammed as much as we could into 3 days - striving for a delicate balance between relaxation and adventure. 

Friday we spent close to home. We ventured to the park for a short outing, played with bubbles, had a tea party, and brushed aside bedtimes in favor of movie night. 

Saturday morning started early. Buckets, sun hats, our favorite quilt, and swimsuits packed and we were ready for a day in the sun. We picked 12 pounds of blueberries. Delicious Michigan blueberries. The girls had a great time picking and eating...probably more of the latter. 
The farm was beautiful and it felt amazing to get out of the city and spend the day surrounded by fresh air and green fields. 

On the way home we stopped in St. Joseph, a small town on the coast of Michigan, and took advantage of the warm weather and water park. The girls had a blast running around in the water in a half-delirious-four-hour-post-nap-time sort of way. 

It was a quiet ride home with naps all around. Sunshine has way with naps. 

Thank you girls for a fantastic birthday weekend. I can't imagine a weekend with more smiles.  

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Swimming Lessons

Charlotte started swimming lessons this month.

She floats, and goes under water for rings. She kicks and splashes, listens well, and best of all wears a smile the entire time. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013


One of the perks of living in Chicago is day trips outside of Chicago. Last weekend we drove to Michigan to check out the infamous tart cherries scene. These cherries are only in season for a few weeks each year. They can't be found in your local grocery store, and only grow in a couple areas of the country. One of them is less than 2 hours away. 

We made an early morning of it packing breakfast for our drive. We picked, we washed, we pitted, and we ate. A quaint restaurant called our name for lunch and 2 hours later we were back home in time to enjoy the rest of our Saturday afternoon.

Pie cherries warrant a pie. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Letter to Charlotte: 2 1/2 Years

I've been sitting here staring at a pulsing cursor and blank screen. Putting into words the person you are and the impact you have on our daily lives is impossible.

Simply put, you are amazing. But that definition is lacking. It doesn't describe the way I feel when you wrap your arms around my neck and nuzzle your face into my shoulder. It falls miles short of explaining how you look at your Dad and me when you are discovering something for the first time or the way my heart melts into a perfect puddle at my feet when you utter an unprompted "I love you".

You are fiercely independent and yet before bed each night you ask to "cuddle in bed a little bit". I'm thankful for this balance. It teaches me to let you grow. I fear I need that push more than I like to admit. You don't take yourself too seriously; laughing when you fall down or make a mistake.  You do exceptionally well in new places and around new people. I hope that you always feel comfortable walking into a new situation. It's not something that comes easily to many people. Also remember how much one friendly face can make others feel at ease. Be that person for other people. 

It's because of you, because of these last two and a half years that I've grown to understand that my heart has no limits. It's because of you that your father and I have learned how rewarding and purely immeasurable the gift of being a parent is. Thank you for that.  

I love you, 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Fourth of July

We spent the day close to home. 
Ate breakfast outside, baked a blueberry pie, played with bubbles and ended the evening with a picnic at the lake watching fireworks. 

Happy Birthday to America....unplugged version sung upon request by Charlotte. 

Sparklers. We thought Charlotte would be enthralled. That lasted about 2 minutes. Running circles around the picnic blanket is more her speed.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


It's been rainy. Really rainy.
We're waiting patiently for our summer weather to arrive but in the mean time we're enjoying the cooler weather that comes along with spring showers.
Also enjoying these days: puddles