Friday, November 19, 2010

My new life...

 I am a busy momma these days. And it's not even just because of Luella! But man, do I have a new life right now. I feel like for the first 4-5 years of my kids' life I had nothing going on. I mean, I did, but I didn't. I was trying to figure out how to fill our days...our very long days. But now I feel like a chicken with my head cut off!

One day I ordered a book from the library called Real Food. That led me to the book Nourishing Traditions. Both books are about eatting healthy, but they take it to a whole new level. Don't just think "organic". Think making your own everything. Think resurecting all the old ways of cooking and preserving food. But now that I'm completely convinced that we are all dying from degenerative diseases brought on by poor nutrition, I'm obsessed. .

So one of my projects has been starting an organic meat and produce co-op program at Sammy's school. Well, I didn't start it;  I just organized making our school a drop-off for the food. The lady at this store, True Nature Foods, on the north side of Chicago is the actual woman behind the operation. She runs produce and meat co-ops out of her little community grocery store and she helped me get a delivery of the same things down to City Garden on Fridays. The vegetables from Farmer Tom are beautiful and getting a big box of random veggies every week is making me learn how to make things using foods like celery root and swiss chard.

Isn't her store beautiful? I may have bought such items as agave nectar, raw milk cheese, coconut oil, sprouted grain bread, grade B maple syrup, and a few other things at her store today. I felt healthy just looking around in that store. It smells like a smoothy bar.

. It's so nice in there. And Ms. Paula is very nice as well.

The meat is from this farm, Triple S Farm, and it is supposed to be some of the best meat around. It's grass fed and all that good stuff. So now we can pick up meat and produce at Sam's school on Fridays! Thank you Ms. Paula for helping me organize this. Now I can rest easy tonight.

 On a totally other subject, I think some part of a movie or show was filmed at the house across the street from me this past weekend! These light crew hipster guys were there all day setting up lights and stuff. I had big plans to sneak out and take pictures while they filmed whatever they were filming, but then I ended up puking all night Saturday night and missed whatever happened. Bummer.

Another project I'm into is starting a "girl scout troup" for Claire and some of her friends on Monday nights. It's not the real thing because I like to do it the way I want to do it and I have no time for doing things that require training or reporting to some scout master or anything. So we just started the "West Side Ladies" ourselves and we're going to make up our own badges and things.

To kick it off we had a little pizza party and made the rainbow cake. We made plans for badges we want to earn and the moms drank a couple glasses of wine and chatted in the meantime. See what I mean? You can't do that at real girl scouts I'm sure. ;) And our friends who have the chicken coop in Garfield Park are going to help us do a maple tree tapping this winter. Did you know you can just walk around the city streets in your neighborhood and tap trees? Apparently you can in their 'hood. We'll make a badge of it!

So, between holding and feeding Wella, homeschooling, keeping Sammy busy (lots of hammer and nails lately), teaching Sunday school (except for the morning when I was puking), starting girl scouts and doing the farm co-op, I'm SLAMMED!

So every once in a while (okay daily) Claire and I just quit any school that we're doing and play with our little Wella-Wella. Because I might just busy myself right past her baby years and not stop to appreciate them if I'm not careful.

And that would be no good.

Did I say our "little Wella"? Because I use that term loosely. She's a giant ball of chub. Giant!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Aunt Katie

My baby sister came to visit last weekend with her boyfriend, Chance.

They came bearing gifts. These light-up building things were well-loved. And Chance was very nice and played with Sammy a lot all weekend.

He was extra nice to play with Sam because Sammy's basic demeanor all weekend was something like the picture above. 'Nuf said.

We took the train downtown to do some shopping.

They are already starting the Christmas decorations at Macy's!

We hit Garrett's popcorn and Chance convinced me to stray from my usual "carmel only" policy and try the popular mix of carmel-mixed-with-cheese. I thought it would be gross, but it was actually really good! You learn something new every day....

...including the fact that our Sammy is a clothes horse. We went into H&M (where Aunt Katie did some serious damage) and Sam kept finding things he liked. Like this hat.

 Then we went over to this place called Akira that apparently has a very cute kids section and Sammy kept finding things he wanted there too. Like this coat.
Cute stuff.

Sam wanted this outfit too. He was so mad that I wouldn't buy him anything. He kept saying "but you HAVE money!"

Wella did her usual sleeping.

Except we've moved on from the Moby to this great baby carrier called the Ergo wrap. It's great on the back and doesn't require quite as much wrapping.

I got a pair of jeans and a pair of boots at H&M. The rest of these bulging bags belonged to Katie and Chance. be young again.

After our shopping we headed home for a little Wella time.

She's still cute! And not slim.

They also went over to Sam's new soccer class with him. I actually haven't been yet. Is that bad?

On their last night here, the happy couple had a date to the Signature Room at the top of the Hancock building, (the restaurant is on the 95th floor and the food is I hear). They had a table by the window in a corner so they had a great view. We were so glad they came to visit. It was fun to meet Chance and get to finally spend some time with my little sister. Love you Kates! Thanks for making the epic drive to Chi-town.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What we've been up to

We've been....

...carving pumpkins


...spending Halloween night in our typical way with Bridget, Scott and Annabel. Our tradition is that the moms sit home with whoever is too young to trick-or-treat and pass out candy (and maybe sip wine) while the daddies take the kids around the neighborhood. Sammy actually attended a party this year in lieu of trick-or-treating and Claire and Annabel actually trick-or-treated by themSELVES this year (but just on our block). It's a good thing I have Luella or I'd be depressed that my babies are getting so big. Bridget fed us deLICIOUS curry chicken with great toppings like coconut, peanuts, cilantro, and a chutney something-or-other. Bridget also has beautiful Halloween decorations which I tried to capture, but my substitute camera stinks.

...throwing our own Halloween party 2 weeks ago and it was a rockin' party if I do say so. It was so rockin' that I couldn't get many pictures taken. I think our house was definitely at capacity. I don't throw many really large parties, but when I do I always learn important lessons.

Important lesson for the night #1: If you try to serve your chili in a hollowed-out pumpkin (as a serving bowl) don't roast the pumpkin first as the recipe suggests to make the pumpkin look all shiny. If you do, the bottom of the pumpkin will be soft and when you fill it with 10 lbs of chili, the chili may fall out the bottom of the pumpkin while you are removing it from the oven.

Important lesson #2: If you are serving sangria, don't put it on the table with a ladle in it if you haven't marked it as alcoholic. In the hubub of scooping up your spilled chili, you may forget to tell people it is alcoholic and a few children may get slightly intoxicated on the "punch". But really, it went quite well and we had a blast. Well, at least I know that I, and the kids who drank the sangria had a good time anyway!

...taking classes! Sammy started soccer class at Lil' Kickers last week and he L-O-V-E-S it. The Harris family is not known for their soccer skills. They are a die hard football family. But at least for now, Sammy is content with soccer and he loves that he has a "coach".

...doing a few random projects here and there. I took profile pictures of my kids so as to create these silhouettes of my kids like the one you see here, (this is an example...not my kid). They are pretty cute, except for the one of Wella. Apparentlly, when photographed from the side, Wella has zero neck and when transferred into sillhouette looks a bit like a tomato with a nose. But they were fun to make anyway. I hung them in my kitchen.

...buying a piano. Claire and I went to this place called Keys 4 Kids which sells used pianos in a huge warehouse just south of our neighborhood. We bought her this Wurlitzer piano (I don't know if that's a good kind or anything. As usual, I did zero research, but it was relatively cheap and it arrives tomorrow!). I don't have a piano teacher yet, but that's to come.

...going to chicken-coop-raising parties. Actually, we're not because we have plans this weekend, but I just had to throw out there to you all that I was invited to help build a hay bail chicken coop in our friends' side yard in Garfield Park this weekend. If you knew Garfield Park, you'd know how funny it was that I was invited there to build an eco-friendly chicken coop. Our friends, the Von Kondrats, are completely amazingly interesting people. He is on the swat team, she has an Abba band, they homeschool, they live in the inner city, and they "acquired" the empty lots next to their rowhouse-home and have turned it into an organic farming project. There is nothing this family can't do.

...congratulating my brother-in-law, Ben, who works for the newly-elected Governor John Kasich of Ohio! Ben has worked for John since college, when he was a congressman. We were very excited on November 2nd when he was elected Governor.

...reading this blog, about a family who adopted this sweet little girl, Zenish, from Ethiopia this month. The mother of the family, Kim, went to highschool with me and was in a sorority with me at KU for the one year that I went there for college. I tear up reading their story. Isn't she a beautiful girl?

And, last, but certainly not least, we are EAGERLY awaiting the arrival of my little sister, my kids' Aunt Katie with her very serious boyfriend Chance this weekend! We have not yet met Chance and poor Katie hasn't been able to get time off work to come meet Wella until now. It will be a whirlwind visit of only 3 days, but we're super psyched for her to visit! Yay Aunt Katie!

And, I may have celebrated my 31st birthday this week as well. Okay it was yesterday. I'm officially "in my thirties". That's old.