quality time

Let me start by saying, other than holiday time, I haven’t taken a week off in years. In addition, I’ve never taken a week off…to stay home!

Whether you stay at home or go to work, you enjoy spending time with your children. But my time with my girl is limited, so I always try to make the most of it. I try really hard not to be on the phone. Not to turn the TV on. To be present. And that’s what I planned to do for the week we shared together.

I also know it can be exhausting to watch a child, 24 hours, seven days a week. Frankly, I was nervous about it. Could I handle it?

But that’s what Ellie and I did. And it was FANTASTIC!!!!

Memorial Day Weekend was packed with al fresco brunches…


long city walks…


family friend reunions…


 graduation parties outside on a lake…


and we kept the party going all week long with lots of family time. We were blessed to have excellent, sunny weather.

It was a time to slow down and enjoy the small things in life. Hanging out in my sister’s backyard, watching the kiddos run around the yard together, walking my nieces to school, meeting their teachers. On Thursday, my niece Emma asked if I could drive her to school, just me. It made my heart do cartwheels!

The highlight of our week was Wednesday, our city day. My mom drove into the city in the morning (something that’s special in and of itself), and we headed to Lincoln Park to visit the Green City Farmers Market and the Lincoln Park Zoo.

The strawberries were sweeter and more delicious than any I’ve ever purchased at a store…


and we spied the cutest succulent arrangements!


After picking up strawberries and rhubarb, we went to the Zoo, riding the carousel…


 and enjoying the animals.


We also walked through the Lincoln Park Nature Boardwalk. It’s become one of my favorite gems of the city, my urban oasis. 


Ahhhh…

On our way back to the car, we stopped back at the farmers market for a loaf of bread, and headed home to eat lunch and get Elle Belle down for her nap.

It may seem simple, but it was perfect. To share my city with my mom and my daughter was perfect. I had two of my favorite people to share the morning with, and it was lovely. 

There’s something to be said about parenting and time. I may not have the quantity, but I’ll be damned if I sacrifice the quality. My little girl is a gift, and I am so grateful for our time together. It also reminded me that I need to find more work/life balance, to make sure I don’t miss those special, simple moments. Xo

make time for dates

My title pretty much says it all…because Nate and I are not very good at this. And we only have one child!

You could list off endless reasons why you don’t have the time. The money. The energy. But you just have to do it. Even when we met with Pastor Mike before we got married, he mentioned the importance of going on dates. Wise words from a wise man!

So…I decided that it’s time to go on more dates. Starting today!

I telecommute on Thursdays (the absolute best, so productive!), and Nate works from home, so we decided to use my lunch time to pick up some tacos from the take out window at nearby Big Star.

The day was beautiful, my al pastor tacos and horchata were perfect, it wasn’t crowded, and–best of all–we knew Ellie was in good hands.

Good for the stomach, better for the marriage, best for my heart. Xo

happy birthday, Chicago!

I would be crazy not to wish my love, Chicago, a happy 180th birthday today!!! (Not to mention it was my handsome hubby and his twin’s birthday on Thursday!)

In honor of the Windy City’s big day, I thought I would share some (13, because it’s my lucky number) of my favorite city moments in the past year:

Celebrating our buddy Graham’s first birthday at A Little Photo Studio.

Chicago farmers markets! Any and all!

Having pear sorbet for the first time at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream.

Impromptu lunch at Green Street Smoked Meats! One of my favorites.

Breakfast dates at Summer House Santa Monica.

Checking out the street art in our neighborhood.

Moving! (Ok, not my favorite at all, but a big moment nonetheless…)

Watching my brother run in the Chicago Marathon!

Trick or treating with Wayne and Snow White on Halloween!

Taking in the view from the rooftop at our apartment building.

Celebrating the Cubs winning the World Series with my friends/co-workers!!!

Visiting the beautiful Christmas tree with friends — a tradition! — at The Walnut Room.

Parents night out at a private holiday party at Publican Quality Meats!

Happy birthday, Chicago. Can’t wait to see what this year has in store for us! Xo