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

grateful

It’s the unofficial start of summer and to that I say, “Amen!”

My little Eloise has been sick for about 2.5 weeks (cough, cold, pink eye?!?, ear infection…), so, needless to say, it was wonderful to get outside this weekend to soak up the sun. 

We dined al fresco for brunch with great friends at G & O. (My classic breakfast and mimosa hit the spot without leaving me too full or too tipsy, the staff was friendly, and we can’t wait to go back!) 


We walked around the neighborhood, trying new routes each time. Ellie loved watching the tour boats on the river.


We had a pizza party with family friends from growing up. We’ve been trying to get everyone together for a year so it was fantastic! Ten children, 10 adults, and a pup! Always a great time when we get together, and so fun to watch our kiddos make new friendships together, too.


We had a family graduation party for two of my cousins, Brittany and Kyle. I’m so proud of them and excited for their next big adventures (the real world for B and college for K!). 


And all the while, the sun was shining. Weekends like this remind you that life may not be perfect, but we are free and shouldn’t take that for granted.

My thanks to all who serve to protect us and our freedom. I don’t say it out loud enough, but I am forever grateful.

Terra & Vine

Yesterday was busy, and I got to spend it with a few of my faves. 

After lots of time with my little girl, I headed out on a rainy day to Terra & Vine, a rustic Italian-Mediterranean restaurant in in downtown Evanston, to celebrate one of my oldest friends.

Google Maps failed me so I was the last to arrive, but I liked what I saw when I walked in: a friendly hostess, a gorgeously-designed restaurant, and my friends chatting happily.

But I have to confess a secret: I took two photos during lunch. Two. One of the massive pull apart cinnamon roll we had for our first course,


 and my beautiful Italian Cobb Salad (no cheese, champagne vinaigrette dressing instead of creamy Italian). 


Bonus: In the first photo, you can see the sweetly-detailed glass that my Diet Coke came in. If you know where I can find those, I will buy you a coffee. I mean it. I need those glasses. (Sidenote: I have a glassware addiction. It makes moving often difficult…)

Ok, ok, back to T&V. I gave up cow’s milk (except butter) for lent, so I appreciated the substitutions on my salad (didn’t eat the cream cheese frosting either). On that note, our waiter was so nice, attentive, and a hoot. A real character. I appreciated his energy, and his eye on my Diet Coke for refills.

Back to the food. Delicious. I would have showed some restraint on that cinnamon roll if it didn’t smell so good. And the waiter recommended it, so how could we say no?

And even though I made changes to the Italian Cobb Salad, I thought it was pretty stellar, too. I liked the presentation of rows of toppings–every bite was unique. The quality of the ingredients and the freshness was very obvious, too. I enjoyed it almost as much as catching up with my friends.

There is something so filling about spending time with friends. Especially sans little humans. I love my EJ, but she needs to practice the art of dining out. (Rule #1: Stay seated unless you need to use the restroom. Speaking of which T&V’s was pretty and clean, which to me means a lot.)

The question for me is always, would I go back? Yes, for sure. It’s a great meet up spot for friends and young families. They just started offering brunch and lunch, and I can also vouch that the avocado toast looked so tasty!!! The veggie sandwich, too, but lots of bread. Oh, and the fries aren’t bad either…

I’ll also return because I need to scope out that exotic black-and-white tile and those glasses again, too. See you soon, Terra & Vine!