Friday, May 27, 2011

The Bachelorette

Last night, we dragged my crazy Japanese sister around to some of our old bar haunts, in the name of celebrating her impending nuptials. Aka - bachelorette party. Since we aren't penis-hat-wearing, dollar-bill-tucking kind of gals, we kept it on the lowkey side - just a tiara with a veil, a few great girlfriends, and two bars. I stayed sober so I could drive, take photographs, and avoid the hangover I get if I even look at a glass of wine. Hey, some people have to work today.

It was a good time - even though by the second bar I was wondering if the volume level of our party was going to get us tossed out on our hot asses, but we gotta face facts: we just can't party like we used to. It's a good thing, actually, because it means we've grown up and moved onto having mature, adult-like lives, with husbands and babies and functioning livers. Anyway, Wendi did us proud, drinking just enough to be FUN and LOUD but not enough to PUKE or CRY or FALL DOWN. Perfect!

Wendi with the stripper

Wedding tomorrow! Guess I should start writing my speech.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Holy Hives!

Little E had an ear infection a couple of weeks ago, so the doctor put him on a 10 day course of amoxicillin. Standard Operating Procdedure, right? He took the meds for 10 days, and then promptly broke out in a terrible case of hives on Day 11. Our pediatrician (whom I normally HEART) tried to tell us it was viral hives, brought on by a cold. However, my super-internet-sleuthing skills lead me to believe that is not so! I turned up a whole forum full of moms who have the exact same story: ear infection > amoxicillin > hives. So maybe it is some sort of allergic reaction to penicillin? The hives looked horrible and scared the daylights out of me, but they didn't seem to bother him all that much, and a dose of Benadryl sends them packing... at least temporarily. So far they keep returning, and the doctor says they can for UP TO FOUR WEEKS. Maybe I will become one of those hippie moms who treat all their kids' ailments with boiled dandelion leaves and hogwart.

Poor guy! Here he is cute and post-Benadryl, enjoying some quality time on the swings.

This is frigging hilarious. Also, I am pretty sure I had those same pants.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Can You Dig It

Last weekend's gardening plans were thwarted by weather and my office (booooo to working all weekend) so we've got a little catching up to do. Hanging plants for the porch, hydrangeas for the yard, and planter boxes for the herbs and veggies are all on my wishlist but we'll see what our budget can handle. I'd also LOVE to get rid of that damn hot tub. I'm happy to give it away for free but the yahoos who frequent the Craigslist Free Section are possibly the most annoying people in the world, right behind telemarketers and the teenage couple having a dramatic fight right next to me on the el this morning.

GUY: Who are you texting?
GIRL: Shut up I hope you die!
GUY: Baby don't be like that.
Fine, you B*TCH!
I'm sorry, I didn't mean that, don't be mad.

Josh dug up all the crap the relocation company planted (and then failed to water) last summer, including the ugly red landscaping rocks.

I am thinking to pull out that one lonely white hydrangea (maybe pot it for the patio) and plant a row of blue or pink ones instead.

Or maybe azaleas?

I don't know. Something easy, that I can't kill, that will come back every year.

If I was less lazy, I would do this.

But I am lazy. Alas.

When I live in a country estate in France, my driveway will look like this:

Ah, magnifique!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Happy Half-Birthday!

Six months old already - man, it has FLOWN by.

At six months, Elliot sits independently ... but his balance isn't perfect, so he still flops over from time to time. He eats 2 meals of baby food a day, but also mashed up foods like avocado and banana. He enjoys gumming little meltaway puffs, but he still makes a sour face when he tries anything new. He wears 9- or 12-month clothes and size 3 shoes. He rolls like crazy, won't hold still for a diaper change, and scoots all over the place. I think he will start crawling within the next month. His eczema is under control (thank you, Cerave and Cetaphil!) but I had to stop washing his hair with any soap or shampoo at all to get rid of the cradle cap. He takes baths in the kitchen sink because he despises the baby bathtub. He LOVES to jumpjumpjump in his jumperoo. He blows raspberries, and squeals, and laughs - but not much, you really have to eat his ribs to get the giggle going. He says "Bababababa" and loves to pull the dogs' ears and scratch the upholstery on the couch. Loud noises scare the bejesus out of him. His favorite thing in the world is to take a walk on a warm sunny day. Little old ladies and big burly men stop on the street to coo at him. He goes to bed between 7:30 and 8PM every night, sleeps until around midnight, eats a little bottle, then sleeps through til about 6AM. He's rocking the EASY routine during the day. He has had one ear infection and no diaper rashes. We're not cloth diapering anymore but I'm thinking about trying gdiapers. No teeth yet. 10% of me still wishes his name was Clark Elliot, but I'm 100% glad we added the second L. I love love love his babysitter, and am so happy with the way that turned out. He's my little buddy, and I'm totally crazy about him. Can't wait to see what the next six months bring.

CONGRATULATIONS to my lovely friends Julie and Andy on the birth of their baby boy Alexander Clark (see, Clark rules) on May 3! xox

Friday, May 13, 2011

Laid to Rest

When you start your Friday the 13th at a funeral, you know it's not going to be a great day. Especially when it's the funeral for someone who, at 26, died way too young. And especially especially when she died in a horrible, pointless moment of someone else's carelessness.

Last Tuesday evening, a girl from work was walking home from the office. She was crossing a busy street, obeying the traffic signals, probably thinking about what to have for dinner, or maybe a project she was working on. Four or five steps into the intersection, she was struck and killed by a bus, one of those huge white tour buses that hauls sightseers into Chicago all the time. The driver says he didn't see her, but he was charged later with a DUI and had cocaine in his system. Even though passersby immediately ran to assist her, there was nothing they could do. She was pronounced dead at the emergency room a few minutes later.

To say it's been a bad week would be an understatement. Justyna was very popular in our office, one of the our most talented designers. She saved my butt once, right after I started, by bailing me out at the last second on a really important project. She was a pretty girl, soft-spoken with a lilting German accent, but a total hardass when it came to design. Nothing irritated her more than when the client went with the safest, most boring version. Which they do a lot in advertising. She was sweet, and friendly, and though we were 10 years apart and not really socially connected, she always had a smile and a hello.

I think, deep down, we all suspect that if the worst happened to us, everything and everyone would grind to a halt. That the people you see every day would be too devastated to carry on. And while people were terribly upset, there was still the hard fact that everyone had work to do. There were still meetings to go to, deadlines to be met, projects beginning and ending. It was business as usual, and that newly empty chair in the middle of the room could do little to change that.

The thing is -

the thing is, one day you're here, and the next day you might not be here. Today at her funeral her brother said, Live every day like it's your last, because it might be. Your last day on earth could be filled with mundane crap like talking to someone about shoes in the ladies room, figuring out if you have time to grab lunch, chatting about logos. And then, a few hours later, you could be crossing the street, minding your own business, following all the rules, with a bus bearing down on you from behind. One minute you're here. The next minute, you're not here, and you literally never saw it coming.

Justyna was an amazing talent, a really lovely girl with a beautiful bright future. There's nothing else to say, except that I hope her family can find some peace.

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Tree Grows in Irving Park

Yesterday a tree-cutting crew from Chicago's forestry department showed up to cut down the 40ft dead tree hanging over our house. I was ecstatic. They asked if they could also cut down the live tree in front of my house. I thought they were kidding, but they said it would make it easier to get to the dead tree. Um, NO, dumbshits! It's a healthy, mature tree that shades our attic so it's leafy and green in the summer, not hot and steamy.

So they didn't cut it down.

They just cut down half of it.

Thanks guys!

I called the forestry department this morning, and they are going to just come next week and cut the whole thing down. It pisses me off, because there was nothing wrong with this tree, but the way it is right now is absolutely ridiculous. Either the city will plant a new sapling (dammit) or we will pay to have the stump drilled out and a new flowering tree planted (double dammit). Then I will send the city this bill since they are the idiots who caused this mess in the first place.

Tax dollars at work, my friends!

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Thanks for finally cutting the dead tree down! And for instantly lowering our curb appeal and property value by maiming the live tree in front of our house!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Almost There

So I read a couple of books on sleep training. One was useless. One was actually really helpful. But not necessarily the sleep-training part. What I liked about the Baby Whisperer book is that she doesn't just address sleep problems, she looks at the whole picture - daytime routine and eating issues included. That is turning out to be the key for us.

Up until a couple of weeks ago, Elliot was eating 4 ounces of formula every two hours, then taking a tiny nap afterward. As the Baby Whisperer kindly pointed out, that is the correct schedule for a newborn, not a 5 month old. Maybe all the snacking and catnapping could be the reason for all the night-waking and night-feeding? Interesting. Also, when I added up all the formula he was eating (per her suggestion), it turned out even with all those little bottles, he wasn't eating enough during the day. He actually needed those night feedings to meet his recommended amount of formula (27 - 36 oz).

So, we put him on her EASY routine (Eat, Activity, Sleep, You-Time (whatever)), with bottles every 4 hours. This has been a revelation, my friends. I really wish I'd read this book before he was born and started this routine sooner. Changing the order of things so that sleeping doesn't immediately follow eating is helping him learn to fall asleep on his own, without the prop of a bottle. Convenient when he wakes up in his crib at night. Spacing out his feedings was easier than I thought it would be, and pushed him to start eating 6-8 ounces at a time. Now that he's getting almost all of his food during the day, he's not so hungry at night. Baby Whisper Lady calls that "tanking up." I call it magic.

He does still wake at night, but since he's not starving, most of the time he ends up falling back asleep on his own. We're still giving him one small bottle in the wee hours (instead of the BW's recommended dreamfeed) but we're gradually decreasing the amount of that bottle every night until it's gone. If that doesn't work, we'll try the dreamfeed.

I think we're finally on the right track.