headed south

Happy Friday, chickadees!

I have the day off to take Boo to his first year appointment, pack my bags, and jet off to Nashville to celebrate my pal M’s upcoming wedding, which means 48 hours of hanging with some of my very favorite ladies.

I’ve never been to Nashville, and I haven’t been on a non-work trip in awhile, so I’m looking forward to a couple days of hanging, eating, drinking, and exploring a new city.

Also, we’re maybe going skeet shooting, which may or may not be my decided-upon highlight of the trip.

I’m pretty sure I’m either going to be a natural or a disaster. Only time will tell at this point.

Pray that I don’t accidentally shoot anyone in the face.

Or really anywhere else, either.

And with that, I’m off to find out how much weight my formerly-tiny little Boo has gained after scarfing down a chicken per week for the past few months before hopping on a plane.

Enjoy this one, chickens, I certainly will!

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Guest spots

I’m running a bit slow on this cold morning, but in the absence of anything more interesting to say, here’s a guest post on my sister’s blog this morning. It’s about making delicious Vietnamese pork sandwiches, and you guys, these were amazing. Make them as soon as possible. Check it out yourself:

Banh-mi, the Bomb

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Been walking my mind to an easy time, my back turned towards the sun

Morning, chickadees!

And despite the fact that it’s the end of February and it’s been super cold and it’s only Tuesday, this is an exceptional day, chickens.

Boo’s a year old today!

This past 365 days have been the hardest, easiest, funniest, scariest, best, best, best days of all my days so far, because of Theo.

It’s astounding how much can change in a year, and in the past twelve months, Boo has gone from a tiny, sleepy little newborn into a stubborn, hilarious, joyful one-year old.

And so in honor of hitting the first year mark, I’ve compiled a list of the 12 things I’ve learned, feel like sharing, or want to make clear about Theo and our family this morning.

1. Being a mom does not mean you’re not a regular lady. I talked about this on my birthday,but it’s still true. I’m a mom, but I’m also still a daughter, sister, cousin, aunt, and friend, and I still like and dislike all the same things. Even when I was tired and Boo was new, I tried to keep track of myself in all the mom-ness. I think one day it will be a good lesson to pass on: don’t lose yourself when you gain your family. Rinse and repeat.

2. Right when you’re completely sure that you are failing at everything and that your baby is more difficult than every other baby who has ever lived, he will smile. And it will make up for every hour of sleep deprivation so far (please note: 12 month old smiles after a night of no sleep might make you want to drop said 12 month old with a relative for six months- this is not the same thing)

3. Watching babies figure things out, like how to lift their heads, use their hands, or grab their feet is one of the best things ever. We take the simple stuff for granted you guys, but this gives you a new appreciation for it.

4. Babies give you permission to be silly, and thank God, because we have all grown far too serious around here. Theo loves nothing more than when you perch an action figure on your head and dance around, and honestly, JW and I think it’s pretty much the best too.

5. When I was growing up and my mother was not doing exactly what I wanted, I would complain. Loudly and a lot. My mother always looked at me and said I’m doing the best I can, and then I would go off and sulk. That line has become my silent mantra this year, and you know what? It’s all we can ask. Thanks, Mom, for that one.

6. My little baby is going to be amazing. Even though he’s only been around 12 months, I can already tell that he’s going to be kind, smart, courageous, and funny. So he’s going to be his Dad, basically. I’ve also noticed his stubborn streak, and my friends, that’s where his mother’s genes come in. Luckily, that’s a game I know. I’m onto you Boo, and no, you can’t swim in the toilet.

7. It is too hard to be stern all the time when babies do hysterical things they shouldn’t do, like look you in the eye and throw bananas over their heads. If you don’t crack a smile at least half the time, you’re doing better than me, so please, teach me your ways.

8. Gross stuff is no longer gross once you have a baby. For the sake of civility, I won’t go into that any further.

9. Don’t worry too much about whether or not you know what you’re doing. You probably don’t, but you also totally have this, you guys. All babies need is someone to love them, feed them, and keep them from launching off of high places (and you know, everything’s flexible). I have read zero books and have learned to just relax and go with it. My method is pretty much survival, and also, having some fun.

10. You don’t have to ditch all your friends if they don’t have kids. When I spent some time in online mom groups, I found that lots of women said they lost their friends because their priorities had shifted. I don’t have many friends with kids, and you know what? It’s awesome. They dote on Theo, they don’t know if what I’m doing is legitimate or not, they bring me wine and hang out in my condo, and they have none of their own kids to compare my little guy to. Also, when they do have kids, they will totally think I am wise even though I am not even a little.

11. Having a baby, if you have the right kind of partner, will make you love them even more. I know so many things about JW now that I didn’t before. For example, who knew my husband could do voices in children’s books so well (please, ask him about his “Beige crayon” impression) or that he was creative enough to come up with monikers for Boo such as “Mr. Wigglesworth.”  There’s no one I’d rather be with when we both realize we forgot to strap Theo into his carseat.

12. Theo is the best, you guys. He’s taught me pretty much everything I know about everything, and I don’t even remember what my life looks like without him. Babies make you feel all the feelings, and I can’t wait to see what comes up in the next 12 months with this little guy.

Happy birthday, Boo. Thanks for making our lives so much sweeter.


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Filed under Good times, Reflections

If I ran the zoo

So my tiny, adorable, snuggly little baby is almost one year old.

And he is still adorable, but he is less snuggly and more, well, you guys, I’m basically living with a zoo animal.

It’s just the truth.

I say this for the following reasons. Theo is always into something (for instance, one of his favorite activities is putting a bucket over his head and then squealing wildly), he has no sense of fear (which I most recently noticed as he tried to catapult backwards off of the couch, with a smile on his face), and he prefers that his breakfast is tossed onto his high chair tray in the form of clementine wedges and banana slices.

His latest trick (aside from refusing to abide by my walking timeline of doing it by Saturday) involves waking up for two hours in the middle of the night and attempting to get me or JW to play with him.

This, chickens, is even worse than when he woke up as a newborn, because at least then I knew he had an actual need, and so could pull myself out of bed to nurse him. He was hungry, after all.

Now he’s just out of control.

We don’t play at 2am.

As much as I have made it my parenting pledge to not negotiate with tiny terrorists, I find myself laying still and letting him climb on top of me and pull my hair, thinking that maybe he will get bored and fall asleep.

You can guess what my success rate has been there.

In any case, as we glide into the weekend, the idea is to take a hard line with this little monkey and gain back some sleep (and sanity).

Wish us luck, chickadees. We’re softer than we think at this.

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Filed under Chicago, Near Disaster

where we started and where we end.

So even though I am barely Catholic or really anything these days, I didn’t eat meat yesterday and also made myself not eat snacks between meals because it was Ash Wednesday and that’s the thing to do. Actually, very strangely, Ash Wednesday has always been one of my favorite days of the year.

I did not get ashes, even though I love nothing more than sliding into a pew at Holy Name and blinking at all of the beautiful statues and stained glass windows and easing underneath rhythmic prayers and quiet music.

No matter how much I waver about what it is I believe and if I believe in anything specific at all, I do like the feeling of someone’s hand smudging my forehead and murmuring from dust you came and from dust you shall return.

We all start and end at the same place, chickadees. It’s the great equalizer and it certainly reminds me not to take myself too seriously.

I think it’s a good dose of wisdom, no matter what it is you do or don’t subscribe to on any given day or week or period of forty days and forty nights.

Let’s make the stretch of days between the beginning and the end count, chickens.

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Filed under Reflections

spreading it around.

All right, chickens. I thought I had a post all drummed up for today, but it seems as though it’s disappeared, so stick with me as I chat with you through the upcoming weekend.

First of all, I had a great birthday, which meant coffee with my boys, bagels with my team, cookies all day, burgers with CJ, and dinner at home.

JW and my sister also got me a FitBit, which I am 100% sure I will be obsessed with, so lookout for that.

How many steps have I walked today?

Not enough.

Anyway, although Valentine’s Day is not my favorite holiday, mostly because it interferes with my birthday but then also I think it’s maybe because I think we should pay attention to the people we love all year long and not just when Hallmark tells us to.

I hate being told what to do.

However, it is a good opportunity for me to give a little shout out to JW, who is actually the world’s best dad. Like gets up 95% of the time with Boo, makes him laugh in a way that makes me break out into hysterics, and loves T in a way that essentially makes me melty.

I’m a snowwoman, chickens, I barely ever melt.

He’s also a great partner in crime, which means he makes all the dinner and puts up with my silliness, and that even though he knew me when I was 19, he still loves me and wants to be my husband/roommate.

There is something to be said for the people who still love you even though they knew you at 19.

So with that, despite the fact that I think it’s a strange, manufactured holiday, I hope that everyone sees fit to throw a little more love around this weekend.

I really can’t argue with that.

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my favorite age is now.

Ok, chickadees, today’s my birthday. I’m solidly in my 30s now, and while I wouldn’t say I’m good with it, I don’t really have a choice, and also my bffs gave me a lecture on how collectively, we’re good with it.

I will point out that they haven’t hit 31 yet, but they’re right.

This was a big ride around the sun for me, because I became a mom, which is pretty much the coolest thing you can become, based on the amount I’ve learned and the fun I’ve had so far. Boo’s right behind me with a birthday, and I can’t wait to celebrate him.

Aside from Boo’s arrival, I think the biggest realization that I had in year 30 was that just because I became a mom didn’t mean I stopped being anything else. It’s an add-on benefit, it doesn’t strip you of your (misplaced) love of tequila shots or important friendships or mean that you’re somehow less of a person and more of a title.

I’ve been Nikki for all 31 years I’ve been here.

I’m happy about it too, because I think she’s a pretty fun lady, almost 100% of the time.

If I can get one thing to Theo (and any potential siblings he may have) in the next few decades, I think this year has shown me the important lesson I’ve gotten yet:

We’re all just doing the best we can. None of us are sure we’re doing it  quite right, but if we had it all figured out, we’d be bored. Let’s help each other out, because guess what? It doesn’t cost me anything to be nice.

And that, my friends, is something worth celebrating.

IMG_0334 nikjenkyphoto (33)

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Filed under Reflections