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Life Lately

Life Lately: The Holiday Edition

I’m not sure what’s more shocking: that Christmas is in a week, or that Hudson is going on 2.5 hours for this nap. The 2-to-1 nap transition has been kicking our butts around here for months now, so ’tis a true Christmas miracle.

I don’t even know what to do with myself. I’ve cleaned, gotten a bunch of work done, and made a batch of Christmas truffles, so I thought I’d share some recent photos and updates from this month.

To be honest, this month has had some major lows: primarily in the loss of my beloved grandfather. He was a remarkable man and I hope to find the words soon to write about his life and what he meant to me. I have always loved the holidays and while this month has had so many beautiful, fun moments experiencing Christmas through Hudson’s eyes, it’s also all been tinged with sadness when I slow down enough to remember how much I miss him and try to wrap my head around never getting any more of his patented Grandad advice or pats on the cheek. But I know that this is the case for most people during the holidays: something about all of this celebrating brings into sharp focus all of the loved ones who aren’t around to celebrate with us. I’m trying to focus on how grateful I am for these special moments with my own little family and savor every second.

Thankfully, I don’t have time to think about much because Hudson is NON-STOP these days and we’ve been trying to pack in all of the holiday fun possible to expend some of that insane toddler energy. Can someone bottle that? I’d pay good money. He loves Christmas lights (which he calls “WHAAAATS,” much to my delight. Never change, bud.) so when it’s not too cold, heading out at 4 or 5 for a lights walk has been an easy win.

I am proud to report that our little Grinch has done remarkably well not destroying our tree this year. We did move it into a less prominent location as we originally put it up basically right in the middle of his play area, which was a recipe for disaster. Since the move, he’s been so good. The cat, on the other hand… hopeless.

I can’t believe I didn’t take any better photos than this one, but attending my mother-in-law’s annual holiday luncheon always feels like the true kick-off to the holiday season to me. We didn’t win anything in the raffle or auction, but as my sister-in-law Tina said, great food and great company! Even better 🙂

We walked to Pioneer Plaza one night to see the Christmas tree all lit up. It is spectacular and I have thought a million times this month how grateful I am to live within walking distance to things like this.

While we’ve been busy little social bees lately, this is how most nights really look: Hudson chilling, dipe on, tum out, watching one of three thousand variations of the Wheels on the Bus on YouTube on repeat. But he doesn’t have a favorite (or at least not that we’ve figured out yet), so you just have to click through them all as he says, “No. No. No.” until you find the RIGHT WOTB of the day… to which he grins and says…. “BUSSSSSS.”

In what is possibly the biggest development of the year, we finally found a babysitter. Game changer. She’s a master’s student in the neighborhood and she’s amazing with Hudson. J and I went out for a day date (because mama’s bedtime is 9pm so really there’s no point in dinner) to check out a few new places and pay a visit to a few old standbys. For my fellow Chicago dwellers, the biggest mind-trip was visiting the new Somerset at the Viceroy hotel… which was beyond stunning, but I could not get over the fact that it used to be the Cedar Hotel. Memoriesssss.

Our neighborhood parents group organized a cookie decorating party for the little ones, and while I don’t have any actual cookie decorating pictures because my hands were full trying to keep Hudson from making it rain sprinkles… I love this picture of Hudson and his little pals so much. Seeing him start to engage with other kids and say their names is the cutest thing ever.

Well, it’s official. These are beautiful Christmas flowers from my team at ThoughtWorks to wish me well in my new venture. I will always be grateful for my years there: I made a lot of great friends, traveled all over the world, and learned a ton. But I am so, so excited to strike out on my own. 2018, here I come!

The “snowball fight” tent at Navy Pier’s Winter Wonderland. We went with some friends on a weekday afternoon and had a BLAST. It was pretty empty given the odd hour and even though most of it was geared towards bigger kids, we found plenty to do. Hudson’s favorites were the choo-choo and this ball tent, which had hilariously unnecessary strobe lights. He decidedly did NOT like their Santa (like, wouldn’t go within 6 feet of him) or the bounce house. He ran straight into the bounce house and then dove back out in horror once he realized what he’d gotten himself into.

Christmas jams! Hudson’s clapping in most of his pictures lately because singing “If You’re Happy and You Know It” is the only way I can get him to a.) hold still b.) look at the camera and c.) smile all at the same time.

Hudson is just like his dad in that he can take or leave most sweets. To be fair, however, I’m basing that statement on things like… sweet-ish cereal. Peanut butter and jelly. I’m a mean mom and don’t give him that much real kid sugar yet. So maybe now that I’m typing this, it’s no surprise that he went bananas when I gave him the spoon from the peanut butter cookies I made, ran around the whole condo with it, and sobbed when I took it away… because all the dough was long gone 🙂

This picture cracks me up. I was sitting on the floor wrapping presents and looked up to see this. He is always within 3′ of Hudson and I, unamused with it all as he may be. Best kitty ever.

  

Santa pictures 2017 officially on the books. Like last year, we went to the Driehaus Museum’s Santa Saturdays, which is so well done. He is still a little too young to fully appreciate it all, but they do crafts, story time, caroling and snacks… such a nice set-up. But let’s be honest, we’re really in it for the ticketed, no-long-line super-legit Santa pictures!

Most importantly, Hudson didn’t completely freak out. But credit for that is due to this savvy Santa, who took one look at his face and said, “Mom and Dad, why don’t you just hang on to him?” So for the second year in a row, we have family Santa pics (and I love them.)

For posterity, I need to record that when Santa said “ho ho ho!” to Hudson, Hudson dramatically cried, “NO NO NO.”

Not to brag, but I definitely have the most handsome men in town. This was at brunch at D4 after our Santa pictures. Hudson ate bacon and eggs while Jason and I ate with our plates basically in our laps because all of the salt shakers/jam/water cups/etc have to be pushed out to the edges of the table beyond his swiping reach or the party is over.

Ugh this little face and his expressions just kill me. We say: big ‘tude, little dude. Hudson does everything big lately. Big love, big smiles, big laughs, but also big drama and big sass. Toddddddlerhood!

Zoolights!! This was so special. So special, in fact, that my claustrophobia and I braved a major, free public attraction at peak hours… a list of adjectives that gives me shudders just to type. Jason and I went to Zoolights the first three or four years that we were dating and haven’t been back in the last few years, but have been talking about how great it would be to take Hudson for at least the last year. We bundled up on a Saturday evening and headed over to Lincoln Park Zoo, where we all oohed and aahed over all of the lights. It was short lived due to the cold weather and the fact that Hudson would prefer to “walky-walky” these days over chilling in his stroller, which was a definite no-go with the crowds. But it was a lot of fun and by next year I’ll be ready to go back 😉

We hosted an annual college friends Christmas get together on Sunday. Seeing Hudson and his little BFF Katrina looking so grownup, just chilling on the couch like little people makes me realize (again) how much they’ve grown from the snuggly infants they were this time last year. They are so cute together. Katrina kindly shushed everyone when Hudson was napping–that’s a good friend if I’ve ever seen one 🙂


And that brings us up to speed. This week before Christmas should actually be much quieter than the last few have been, and my only goals are to not totally overdo it on Christmas cookies before our Mexico trip in early January, and to catch up on all of my Hallmark holiday movies. I’m already dreading the end of the holiday season and the return to depressing news and soul-killing reality tv. No thanks. I prefer all of the happy endings, improbable scenarios and sweater vests that Hallmark has on tap.

I hope your December is filled with lots of lights, cookies and fun. Or maybe just champagne, that always does it for me too. And if your holidays bring with them a little bit of sadness alongside the festivities, I’m sending hugs and love. Cheers, friends.

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