Sometimes we find him like this*. The third child. It’s all just too much.
Have a wonderful (quiet) weekend.
*He did it to himself, I promise.
Oliver loves his school so much, he leaps out of bed in the morning to announce emphatically what lesson he hopes to get. When I pick him up in the carpool line at school at 3:30, he is so talkative and excited to tell me about what he accomplished, it’s often a (hilarious) struggle just to get a word in edgewise — and the words are often, “Oliver, I can’t wait to hear all about it, but you need to sit down and get buckled so we can move forward for the next person!”
Enthusiastic about Montessori would be the understatement of the year. I’m pretty sure this kid could be the Montessori spokesperson if anyone asked him. And it’s not just school in general. I think something has clicked with Oliver here — he was born for this type of education. I think he feels at home there in a way that is hard to explain.
The other day, Oliver asked me (quite accusingly, actually) “Mama, why don’t you ever let me wash the floors?” To which I replied, after almost spitting out my coffee, “I just never thought of it, Oliver! That’s a great idea!”
Our floors are often in need of washing because though I do sweep and vacuum a lot, I am not quick to mop. We used an eco-friendly general floor cleaner safe for wood (and little boys), a mixing bowl with warm water, and a cotton cloth (plus two towels for Oliver’s knees of course).
And though I have no idea how they teach the lesson at school, Oliver claims that his favorite “job” at school is table washing, followed by table drying. Similar tasks, I gather, that represent something useful to him right now.
It all got me wondering, why do we often view around-the-house tasks as mundane adult chores when they are often really interesting and important to our little ones? Maybe it’s the Cinderella complex? The thought that our precious littles should never be expected to scrub on hands and knees? But what fun! There is water, there are bubbles! They are contributing and learning and working, and according to Oliver, it’s “awesome.”
While in Chicago last weekend, I was really inspired by the fantastic style of the local ladies. They were, for the most part, pretty bundled up, but even so, they were magnificently put together. There was a lot of black paired with patterned sweaters and layers and great jewelry. This necklace, made by Mary (the owner of Tusk), caught my eye before I even walked through the door. I have a thing for lightening bolts (perhaps channeling Zeus? or Thor?), and it reminded me of exactly that. Sometimes an outfit needs a little jolt, you know?
I think pairing whiskey colored leather boots softens an all-black outfit.
Have a wonderful Wednesday!
On our second (and last) day in Chicago, after spending the morning in Logan Square, Elisha and I headed over to what quickly became our favorite neighborhood — Andersonville. We were kicking ourselves for not allowing enough time to hang out in this diverse, quirky area — we missed the Swedish Bakery (though we did walk past and it smelled amazing!) but we did take note of the lovely lack of chain stores and restaurants. So refreshing! The number of local establishments definitely adds to the charm.
Among them, Woolly Mammoth — a noteworthy antique and oddity store packed to the brim with awesomeness: taxidermy, anatomical models and art, skulls, bones, specimens, and all kinds of natural history items. Obviously, I was in my element.
We met and chatted with Adam, the quick-witted and outgoing owner of this fantastic place. He told us about the taxidermy classes they hold in the store! He was so warm and welcoming, like everyone we met in Chicago. People have a serious pride and love for their city.
Elisha and I both found some great things to bring home — she found an amazing old chemistry set; I found a few natural history items for the kids and a wonderful old set of binoculars with a leather strap (that Milo has been spying on our neighbors with already). Good stuff.
We also checked out a few stores in the area and then headed to dinner a bit early at Vincent on West Balmoral Avenue. It was beautiful and the food was delicious!
And that was our last night in Chicago! After staying up late drinking whiskey and chatting for hours on the floor of our hotel room, we deemed the trip a huge success. We caught the train the next morning just as wet snow started to fall. I’d say we dodged a bullet with the weather for sure! Definitely planning to come back in the summer.
And… just as an afterthought, I returned tired but happy to a clean house full of little boys and a freaking amazing husband who had done all the laundry and had already started dinner. Plus, the boys had stories about the outdoor adventures he took them on the day before:
When I said to Andrew, “You didn’t have to clean and do all the laundry! You should have left it for me!” he replied, “What’s the point in going out of town if you just come home and feel behind?” How did I get so lucky? Thanks to JJ, Elisha’s husband, who set up the whole trip for us, and to Elisha for inviting me, and to Andrew for taking care of everything (and much much more) so I could get away for a few days!
I’m back! I had the best weekend in Chicago with my hilarious friend Elisha — we lucked out with mild/cool weather (none of the eye-watering, cheek-stinging wind I had been slightly wary of) and instead found ourselves navigating the el and buses and walking around the city feeling mighty fine! After a 5-hour Amtrak ride from St. Louis, we were famished when we arrived, so we headed straight over to Big Star for the best tacos of my entire life (being hungry had something to do with their deliciousness, but they were damn good).
Of all the tacos we ordered, the taco de papas con rajas was my favorite (and vegetarian!). Elisha highly recommended the taco de panza. It was all delicious — just be warned, we were there at around 2pm on a Friday and it was still (or already?) packed. Here’s the menu if you’d like to drool on your keyboard right now.
Big Star: 1531 N Damen, 773.235-403
After we were fully functioning human beings again (did I mention how hungry we were?), we went shopping in Wicker Park, which had some really great stores. I’m so glad we skipped the “Magnificent Mile” and came here instead. Much more up our alley (though I didn’t take any pictures of the Wicker Park shopping district, I do recommend it).
Though we didn’t do much of the touristy stuff this time around, we did make a point to visit Millennium Park, where we took a zillion pictures of the “Bean” and enjoyed the views of the skyline and architecture before walking right past the ice skaters for a cup of coffee.
One of the highlights of our trip was riding the el to Logan Square for breakfast Saturday morning at Lula Cafe. It was amazing!!!
Lula Cafe: 2537 N. Kedzie Blvd., 773.489.9554
Apparently the pastry chef there is a genius — she made the above bittersweet chocolate banana turnover that Elisha and I regretted not buying 5 more of — the crust was flaky, the filling the perfect balance, not too sweet, just right. And below, red lentils with squash, topped with a poached egg for breakfast? Yes please. And an important note: we got there exactly 17 minutes after Lula Cafe opened and barely got a table — it’s amazing and worth the wait! After eating, we went right next door to City Lit Books, a great local bookstore, where a lovely man was just starting story hour for the local kiddies, playing his guitar and singing gently about his love for good books. It was so heartwarming to see kids flowing in through the front door with their parents to enjoy the morning there.
Also while in Logan Square, we walked a few blocks down to Tusk, where we chatted with the amazingly talented and friendly owner, Mary, who has curated a beautiful collection of clothing and makes much of the jewelry she sells there (both Elisha and I bought really awesome necklaces). Mary also has great vintage pieces which she sells for really reasonable prices. We were so smitten with her!
Tusk: 3205 W. Armitage Ave. (at Kedzie), 423.903.7093
Just be sure to check the hours – in Mary’s words, “I’m really not a morning person.”
We just had the best time and were so impressed with the people we met — we wanted to be friends with each and every one and bring them all back to St. Louis with us!
Be sure to check back tomorrow for pictures from the rest of our trip! Hope you had a fantastic and fun weekend!