Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Technically this was last Saturday at our ward party, but who cares?

In the tradition of Mary Martin, my daughter wanted to be Peter Pan and insisted on making her gender even harder for strangers to figure out. She repeatedly protested the idea of being Tinkerbell, despite us having the most perfect fairy dress ever. I don't really blame her though. As far as characters, Peter Pan gets to do waaaay cooler stuff. Note the most amazing boots in the world. They were a splurge for $20 but I figured I could have spent that much on a pre-made costume and at least she can wear the boots all winter. And if I have another girl someday they can be handed down.

 I spent $2 on the the green shirt and sewed two lines to make the sleeves smaller. Then I just cut the bottom off in triangles. Easy Peasy. The hat was made using this tutorial out of green felt I already had. The whole thing took maybe 20 minutes of work. I felt bad throwing away the bottom half of the shirt I cut off and thought I could easily thread a little elastic in the bottom hem to make something out of it. This little bit of craziness was born.

I know, I fully admit to being ridiculous. I was going to add felt wings to make her Tinkerbell (Peter Pan carrying around a mini Tink! I loved the image), but  J said Dolly should be Peter Pan too. The hat was another scrap and was just one seam. Really, it only took ten minutes and she loved it.

This was what M was supposed to be

"What do you do with a drunken sailor?"
 The eye patch wasn't really his thing.

Oh what mothers subject their children to!

I was able to convince Husband to be Smee. He agreed as long as he could be Sexy Smee. Since they don't carry deep V-neck shirts and short tulle skirts with thigh high tights for men, he just rocked the hat. Of course Smee wears a midriff baring shirt in the cartoon, but I didn't think the world was ready for that much sexiness from my husband :)

I was Izzy. This whole theme came from J's suggestions, prompted by one of her favorite shows, Jake and the Neverland Pirates. For awhile she was going around saying, "Yay hey no way!" and "Please give me my sword back Captain Cook please." She still puts any tube shape up to her eye and has the cutest inflection as she says, "Ahoy there Captain Cook!" I love how she says Cook instead of Hook. Anyways, after I asked if she wanted to be Tinkerbell for Halloween she said replied that she wanted to be Jake. I told her that was perfect and I could be Peter Pan. She vetoed that and insisted she be Peter Pan, every day I asked her for two weeks. So I decided on Izzy to go with the theme. Only a few adults knew who I was, despite my luck in finding the perfect shape of purple skinny jeans.

We had several Halloween festivities so she wore the Tinkerbell dress to those as a comprise :) Those pictures will be coming soon. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Katie's Kids, Portillo's, and Home Sweet Home

My cousin faithfully keeps a lovely blog and I was excited to actually meet and talk to her kiddos in real life. They have such wonderful personalities and I'm happy I can now hear their voices when I read the text of what they have said.

You saw sweet Eli at the Arboretum

Here is his big sister Ali. She is as sweet as can be and loved pushing M around in the stroller.

This is her twin brother Logan and I had no idea what a jokester he was in real life.

I adored them all and am so happy I was able to visit them. Now they just need to come to AZ! The last part of the adventure was a trip to Portillo's. 

Because I am from AZ, I first read it as por- tee-ohs, but it uses the typical L sound. It is a Chicago staple but oddly enough one had recently opened in Tempe and we'd tried it a week before my trip. Naturally I hd to try the authentic on to see how it compared. Friends, I submit they taste identical. I suppose it was a second to last adventure because I went out to breakfast with Lianna on the morning of my departure. No pictures of it though because who has time for food pictures when your kid is in a high chair unassisted for the first time? I will say that toasted coconut on french toast is brilliant.

After having a nonexistent layover in Denver and barely making the second flight, it was great to be home. It was so sweet to come home and see this sign Husband and J had made to greet us.

And the dozen doughnuts with the same sentiment written on the box :) I appreciate having such generous and accommodating family, both in Illinois to stay with and in Mesa who watch my kid. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Downtown Chi-town

I spent the second half of the week at Katie's picture perfect house in Naperville. Seriously, I should have taken pictures and done a home tour. It is simply lovely. The neighborhood is so pretty, I even went for a run. When did I become a person who exercises on vacation? Maybe it's something that happened with age, like enjoying pecans, blue cheese, and walnuts in a brownie. Anyways, I've really come to enjoy experiencing a city by pounding the pavement because you get to take a bit of time truly looking at the scenery. I don't notice the smells and unique taste of the air until I am running. Naperville wasn't quite as wonderful as Seattle's, but still much better than the desert I live in. It was interesting so be somewhere without mountains.  I wonder if I would miss them after awhile.

Katie wasn't feeling well and Korrali was sick so I hopped on the train and explored downtown solo. My #1 tourist priority was seeing the Art Institute of Chicago. You can thank a father with a humanities degree for that particular nerdism.

They had lovely sculptures on the way down from Union Station.

I walked past the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower, but didn't think 2 hours in line with an infant was worth it.

The Art Institute was too big to photograph well with my 50mm, but I loved the iconic lions.

We received this set of books as a gift and it has a train painting from this series so I snapped a picture for J.

I think this is my favorite Renoir. The red and blues are so vivid in real life.

Someday, I want to be able to layer paint like this without having it crack.

I really liked these Monet and had never seen them before. They are so different from the rest of his work

And this classic fellow is much smaller than I expected. I included the random stranger for scale (and because I'm too impatient to wait for a clear photo)

These next two are also similar to the one's in the board books so I had to take pictures of them for J. She probably won't realize it is kind of cool until she's, oh, 24 or so.

I know modern art has a bad rap because everyone thinks they can do it, but there are some subtle things that make it stand out. I remember this Jackson Pollack piece from kindergarten (Way to go Mom and Art Masterpiece volunteering!) because we had to give awards to all the pieces at the end of the year. The award for the one we didn't like was shaped like a dog bone and I gave it to this piece. Then I saw Kevin gave it the award shaped like a star indicating it was his favorite and I just couldn't believe anyone could like it. Of course it was Kevin and it was a very Kevin like choice. Now I completely understand.

They had some nice Rothko pieces too. These definitely make me think I could paint a copy, but I like to look at them and try and see why some critics found them exceptional. I get irritated when they are untitled like this one because it gives me no clue as to what the artist is trying to convey.

 I really like this one and want to figure out a way to do something like it for my house. Not everyone's cup of tea, but it just catches my eye and I want to keep looking at it. Is it angry or exuberant? Did he layer the paint on when it was wet or dry or both? Was it planned or just free formed?

 At this point, M was done with the museum and was making it known. Do you know how those open galleries echo? M made sure all the patrons knew. It was also the least stroller/ handicapped accessible museum I've ever been in. There were 3 buildings but only connected on one floor. Then there were dozens of sections raised by 6 or 7 stairs and no ramps. You had to wander through three rooms to find an elevator just to move forward 20 feet. REALLY annoying, especially when you have a baby that needs to leave right away to preserve the experience of everyone else. Everyone there was so kind and I was surrounded by smiles and kind words than anger. The entire city seemed so friendly and I always had several offers to help me lift the stroller up onto the train and back down again.

He refused to be consoled so we went outside so he could cry his little lungs out and hopefully give into sleep. Right next door is the famous sculpture officially called Cloud Gate but more affectionately known as The Bean.

I always like touristy spots because I don't feel dumb doing touristy things.

The underside of it has some sweet distortion.

M was still unhappy so I indulged in some delicious hippie food to go and had a little picnic. Pain au chocolate makes baby crying much easier to deal with. I even snuck M a few flakes of croissant.

He was skeptical of my intentions.

He had been crying for almost an hour (despite being fed, changed, pushed in the stroller, held in my arms), just fighting sleep and wouldn't stop freaking out until I set him in the grass. That calmed him down almost instantly. So naturally I sat the camera on the ground in front of him and took some pictures blindly.

I loved how they turned out.

After I put him back in the stroller and checked out this interesting fountain art thing, he promptly passed out.

I figured I might as well go back into the museum and get my $25 worth. One of the docents was complimenting M on how sweet he was. I told her she probably wouldn't have thought so an hour ago when he was awake and crying. She said, "That was him?!" I was slightly embarrassed, but more amused. Mostly I was just happy he was asleep so I could see a few more of my favorites. I'm still annoyed Sunday at the Park was in a special exhibit that cost an extra $15. And the Picasso I wanted to see was in a gallery closed for renovation. I never win. But I did manage to find these guys you probably recognize. 

And a pretty Georgia O'keefe. She often has something sexual transcribed into her nature works so it's fun to try and find it.

I rather liked this Sargent. There is something fun about a painter painting someone painting.

Overall it was really fun to be able to wander around on my own and spend as much time looking at things as I felt like (minus M's opinions) and I can't wait to go back some day without a kid.

Sunday, October 27, 2013


Back in September (yes I'm still backlogged to September) I went to visit two of my dear cousins who live in the Chicago area for a week. J spent the weekdays with her grandma and I took M with me. J pronounces the city as Avocago and I think it's pretty much adorable

M only cried for about 20 minutes of each flight as was pretty good for the rest. We spent the first half of the week with Joe and Lianna and their sweet daughter Korrali who is just two weeks older than M. I'm kicking myself for not getting any pics with all of us. How did we let that happen Joe? Disappointing. It's probably because we had so much fun snapping pictures of the babies. I mean, look at these two!

They were even holding hands!

We had to get a close up of Korrali and her gorgeous 1/4 Chinese face.

I was expecting to have it feel like a bit of a heaven having just one babe, but I was surprised to find I spent about the same # of hours each day on childcare. Typically one child was just getting neglected at any given moment. It was also a bummer that my little man wouldn't sleep unless I was next to him so I didn't get my typically 2 to 3 hours in the evening without him. Although, like they say, a change is as good as a rest.

We met up with my cousin Katie and her youngest Eli at the Morris Arboretum.

Eli is actually about the same age as J.

I've always admired Katie because she just manages to exude a love for whomever she is with. I noticed it even as a young kid and felt so special every time she talked to me. I liked looking through these pictures because you can see some of it with her son.

M spent a significant portion of the outing like this.

So I had more fun taking pictures of the fun scarecrows for the contest they were hosting.

Eli loved the minions

My pacifier-hating child decided he liked the particular brand his cousin had. I tried 4 other types previously and determined he just didn't like objects. He showed me.

He also showed me in no uncertain terms that he was happier pushing the stroller.

Part of the fun of having three of us was actually getting to be in pictures instead of taking them.

The children's garden was fantastic and I wished J could have been there to experience it. I snapped pictures of the telescope and wading pond, but didn't get any of the fantastic winding paths, rope bridges and play structures. Eli enjoyed them all.

After such a fun day, M was happy to stay asleep long enough for me to slip away and even snap a picture.  Babies are always so sweet when they are sleeping.


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