Category Archives: Chicago

five good things: even though it’s monday edition

Morning, chickadees! It was a beautiful, beautiful weekend that went really way too fast, and I’m still buzzing off the fumes, so I refuse to let Monday get me down. Here are some good things to get us through the day:

  1. I’m no longer illiterate. Whew. I was a little worried about it, but I finished The Nest last week which was the perfect New York-y story to get me back into the pages of books. Now I’m reading The Glass Castlewhich I never read when it came out, and man, it’s a fucked up memoir, but it’s also fast moving and interesting and great train fare. I’m back at it, and I’m so glad.
  2. Monday means a new Presidential podcast, and we’re already up to LBJ.  Since I know this podcast has an ending that’s coming fast and furiously, I’ve been binge listening to the Moth, which my coworkers at SB told me to listen to a million times, and I never listened because I’m the worst. I’m listening now, and I’m hooked, because who doesn’t love a good story?
  3.  This weekend was baby-heavy, just the way I like it. I got to meet sweet little George, my friend A’s baby, and even though my own baby isn’t even four months old yet, she seems like a full-grown adult when compared to that cuddly, sleepy, handsome guy I got to hang out with on Saturday afternoon. I swooned.

    Also this weekend, my newest niece (we don’t share blood, but I share important life stories with her mom & dad, and so it counts just the same) Helen Grace was born. Helen is beautiful and being a parent looks so good on my friends M&M that I can barely stand it. Let it be known that this season of life seems impossibly hard sometimes chickens, but it’s also impossibly sweet and that is important to remember in the middle of the night when the baby wakes up.

  4. JW and I celebrated our anniversary by eating the best pot stickers we’ve ever, ever had at Fat Rice and trying to play high/low with our marriage. Here’s the bottom line: we came up with a lot more highs than lows, and we like our life even better now than we did when we started.
  5. This weekend we had our wedding photographer Calynn take family photos of us downtown. We loved her when she captured our wedding, and we love that she got to capture our whole family. Also, we got to celebrate the photo shoot being over by eating gyros and french fries in Greektown, and so overall, it was a win.

And with that chicks, let this week begin. Bonus good thing: Chicago’s weather is done scorching us, and it looks like summer might bow to autumn, finally. Enjoy the sunshine if you’ve got it!

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You are the best thing.

You guys, tomorrow JW and I have been married for five years.

And we’ve been a couple for ten years, almost.

And we’ve known each other for 18 years, in the spring.

All of those things are important chickadees, and they’re all worth celebrating.

In five years of marriage, so many things have changed and also, thankfully, a lot has stayed the same.

We still love sushi. And football. And Chicago.

And each other. Like, a lot.

JW still makes me laugh the most, and I still love the look on his face when I’ve managed to do something just a little crazier, this time.

He’s a good friend, a great husband, and the best dad. Like, when Theo wakes up in the middle of the night and cries, “I want my Daddy,” I want to be like, yeah, get in line, so does everybody else.

I’m pretty lucky he’s the guy who carries the heavy stuff and opens the windows in my life.

Literally and figuratively, in case you were wondering.

In five years, we’ve gotten some serious shit done, good and bad.

We’ve finished MBAs (well Jon has, I’ve just been along for the ride), and lost people we loved. We’ve battled through my unexpected RA (which is now blissfully controlled), found new jobs, purchased a home and a car, run a lot of races, and made people we love.

We’ve fought about silly things and important things, because that’s part of being in a great partnership.

We’ve got each other to show for it, and of course, we’ve got this, too.


Happy anniversary, JW, and thanks for being the best thing, always.

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Into it.

Morning, chickens!

I’m a couple weeks into it now, and I’m you know, getting after it.

My greatest accomplishment every day is getting my kids safely and on-time (ish) to daycare every day, where A does magical things like teach Boo what Saturn is and get Ellie on a schedule after only two days.

If ever there was a woman with a calling, it is her.

Meanwhile, I’m fumbling around trying to figure out how to get through all the Mom-ing and the working and trying to have one conversation with JW a day that doesn’t involve Fireman Sam, but it is still a funny, beautiful stage of life and I don’t mind too much that my little baby likes to eat four times a night when I would like to be sleeping.

Last night, JW and I had a conversation (not about Fireman Sam!) about the corner desk in our living room that we’re thinking of moving because the expensive, unnecessary computer that we bought when we were 24 and couldn’t afford it is broken.

I’m glad we’re moving it before Christmas, I said. Because we would have had a fight over where to put the Christmas tree, since the desk is in its spot.

Jon looked at me, puzzled, which unfortunately is the way I think he’s gotten used to sizing up his wife’s next move, but I can’t help it.

The fight would have gone like this. I would have said, where should I put the Christmas tree, and you would have said, Nik, I don’t know, the desk is there. I then would have looked at you and said, well we need to put up the Christmas tree, and you would have said, I don’t know what you want me to do. And then I would have just looked at you.

By this point he was at least laughing.

Then you would have moved the desk. But I’m glad we get to avoid that fight.

It’s the little things you guys.

Also up this week: Cubs, Cubs Cubs! (Sorry, Bears, I just can’t right now), wondering if it’s ever going to cool down into fall weather (and knowing I’ll regret wishing it so when it finally does) and giving up on all my current library books, returning them, and starting over with The NestBabies do me a lot of good, chicks, but they also make me momentarily illiterate and I’m over it. I’ll report back, and sorry, pile of books that never got read this summer. It’s not you, it’s me (it’s Ellie).


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Filed under Chicago, Did I really do that?, Weather

Five good things: the three month break edition

Morning, chickadees! I’m sitting on my couch writing this post from my phone because I have two kids now, you guys, and as you may have assumed from my lack of posting, it’s been a little crazy around here. Yesterday I headed back to work, and Ellie headed off with Theo and Gio to Alma’s (our daycare provider who is the most important person in our family), and in the absence of sleep, I thought five good things might be an easy way to get back at it. Here we go:

1. JW took the day off yesterday to get us on schedule for our big day. Even though I know I am the type of person who was not made to stay home, it doesn’t make the first day easier, and this way at least I had time to stop for a Starbucks while wondering if Ellie would hate me forever for sending her to daycare. Jon promptly sent me this photo, and again, I counted my blessings that my kids are so well loved when they’re not with me (also, Ellie, you’re a traitor for not even being one iota sad- JK):

2. Over my maternity leave, much like last time, I became illiterate. I don’t know why, it just happens when I have a baby. This time though, I started listening to podcasts so I could maybe learn something besides how to keep two humans alive, and my favorite one is Presidential by the Washington Post. I have a lot of good summer memories of pushing Ellie, watching her cackle while I learned about what a perv Warren G. Harding was. Each episode covers a president, and it is entertaining and also made me realize it’s effed up a lot of the time here in America, chickadees.

3. Speaking of US history, we scored Hamilton tickets in Chicago during my leave. JC and I hunkered down in my living room with two babies and four devices and yet it was JW who came through with the successful order. I don’t care though you guys, I just want to be in the room where it happens (in March, with this terrible joke).

4. Boo has become a tiny human in the last three months. He loves to be a super hero, tell you that Obama is the president, and runs full speed pretty much 95% of the time which also means he’s covered in bruises 100% of the time. He’s also the worst back seat driver in the world and I can’t wait until he’s sixteen so I can return the favor (I can wait, never grow up).

5. Today my Austin is headed off to college in Michigan. It seems like yesterday he was a sort of unruly six year old who danced to High School Musical in the kitchen (to be clear, he probably still does), and once told me to pull myself together in a movie theater because I cried too much during Where the Wild Things Are. Listen kid, you are smart and kind and funny and I’ve never been so proud of anyone and I’m probably going to cry all day, but because I’m so happy for you. I’ll eat you up, I love you so, red-headed devil.  I can’t wait to see what you do next.

And with that, chickens, I’m off to try to nurse a sleeping baby, brush a toddler’s teeth, and stuff two kids in the car in an attempt to get to work on time. Despite all the added craziness, let me be clear: things got a whole lot sweeter this summer too. Enjoy the sunshine if you’ve got it.

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keep it gentle

Happy Monday, chickens.

I just now returned from taking Theo to daycare for the first time since Ellie was born, which meant an hour alone with both of them this morning, and then the arduous task of getting everyone in and out of the cars and in and out of daycare.

Let me tell you something, stay at home mamas. You are rock stars. I literally just spent two hours alone with them and feel like I’ll need a four hour nap and a Xanax to recover.

But this is not about my first world commuting issues.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been following the stories about the little boy jumping into the gorilla enclosure, and the terrible story of the toddler getting killed by the alligator at Disney.

And I’ve been unpleasantly surprised by all of the people who are talking negative smack about both of these terrifying events. Maybe it’s my hormones, maybe it’s because I’ve noticed a large concentration of people without kids commenting (not a knock on people who choose not to have kids- just an observation that if you’re not responsible for keeping other humans alive, your perspective isn’t first person and therefore, slightly flawed), but it’s driving me crazy. Maybe because I have a toddler who is seemingly always trying to injure himself despite all my attempts to keep him safe, although he would call it playing.

First of all, this just isn’t a time to criticize people’s parenting. I admit, when my mom brought up the kid who got into the gorilla habitat, what flew out of my mouth was, “Well, who was watching him?” but it felt shitty as the words escaped my lips, and also, my mother’s expression told me that I was saying the wrong thing.

She was right, obviously.

Don’t you think these people are hurting or scared or heartbroken enough? Do you think that your judgement is throwing out any positive energy into the world? Also, if you do have children, I would like to discuss the following:

If you have never had your stomach drop in panic because you have misplaced, lost sight of, or been evaded by your toddler or preschooler in a situation that could be dangerous, I can only assume one of two things:

  1. You’re a liar.
  2. You’re incredibly lucky.

But you’re probably a liar.

We went to the pool yesterday, and my mom, Jon, and I were all standing six inches from Boo, and he still slipped and fell under water. Are we bad parents? No. Toddlers are tricky you guys, and every second we keep them from injuring themselves we should consider a monumental feat.

And as for that poor family that lost their baby boy in Florida, come on, you guys. A no swimming sign doesn’t indicate that a large alligator is going to tear your child from you and drag him in the water. And even if it was the dad’s fault (it absolutely was not, chickadees), do you really think that you talking shit on social media is an appropriate response? It’s not. I’ve got to believe that some of it comes from a place of fear, and that people need to assume that someone was at fault, because if it could happen to a good parent who was paying attention, then it can happen to you too.

And it could happen to good parents like us. It’s just the scary reality of the world, and so maybe go hug your babies instead of judging how other people are raising theirs.

Let’s work on being kinder, my friends. In a world of violence and hate crimes and political vitriol, let’s remember that we have control over our own thoughts and actions, and let’s carve out a space that’s a little gentler.

PSA over for today, but I can’t guarantee that my hormones won’t drive me right back here. Enjoy the sunshine, chicks!


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Filed under Chicago, Reflections

Unpacking it

So we’ve been adjusting to life as a family of four over here, which so far means waking up a lot to feed our hungry lady baby and also to (patiently, patiently) repeat “Theo, please don’t jump so close to Ellie,” approximately one thousand times a day.

It’s keeping us pretty busy.

Aside from some Facebook sharing and talking to some of my pals who have come to visit my sweet baby girl and ended up talking to me about politics because that’s what we do, I haven’t really commented on this latest tragedy in Orlando, which is messy from a gun rights perspective, from a religious perspective, from a hate crime perspective. It’s basically America at its ugliest, the most tangled web of intolerance and violence I’ve seen in awhile. It took me some time to write anything down because I wanted to try and unpack all the ways I feel about it, but that’s not going to happen. It’s too complicated and I can’t say nothing (I mean, we know I can’t stay quiet about anything).

People who believe in their Second Amendment rights are so rooted in the issue that from what I’ve seen they don’t really want to talk about it because you guys, it’s a right, but I want to talk about it. And I’m willing to do it in a compromising way, because chickens, I’m not ashamed to admit that my real feelings are that I wouldn’t mind if all guns were outlawed. To me, my right to peace of mind is more important than my right to bear arms, but I also recognize I don’t speak for everyone.

Sure, the bad guys might find a way no matter what our laws are, but we can’t pretend that if the shooter in Orlando had a knife instead of a semi-automatic gun, 49 innocent people likely wouldn’t be dead. And sure, people will find ways to get guns even if they’re illegal, but you could say the same for heroin. That doesn’t mean that we should throw up our hands and legalize it.

I watched parts of last night’s filibuster and was proud that lawmakers were doing something to say enough already, everyone. I was proud that it was led by my home state, and I was obviously proud that my in-my-head-bff Cory Booker was a part of it.

If you watch this part, you’ll probably cry. I did, but you know what? Some things need to be cried over.

Here are the things, chickadees, that I’m really struggling to understand about all of this:

  1. What’s the deal with people opposing additional background checks? I’m not talking about keeping guns from law abiding citizens, but why isn’t it as hard to get a gun as it is to get a license and a registered car? We’ve got huge loop holes in the secondary market too, and we should close them.
  2. Why can’t we get federal funding to at least research gun violence? What are we afraid of? The NRA (yes)? Finding out something we’d rather not know (maybe)?
  3. If you’re a hunter and you need an AR-15 to shoot animals, you’re missing the point of the sport. Maybe take up something else.

I have a lot of other feelings on this subject, feelings I don’t have enough data to back up and opinions I don’t know enough about to speak out about except for my gut reaction that there’s no reason that this keeps happening and that even if you believe strongly in your Second Amendment rights (which by the way, as someone who has read fairly widely on the Revolutionary War, I feel pretty confident in saying that the founders didn’t mean for us to just have access to whatever guns we wanted, even though I can’t prove it), after all these mass shootings you’d think that we’d maybe just want to consider trying something new as a way to avoid waking up to the news that large amounts of our fellow citizens have been killed by a crazy person, again.

I can’t unpack this cleanly, chickens, but I think we owe it to ourselves to talk about it, even if we’re not sure what the solution is or we aren’t versed in every nuance of gun laws or hate crimes or mass shootings. We owe it to ourselves and our families to at least start the conversation.

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the second time around

Let me start by saying that this is exactly the kind of thing that would happen to me, and I mean that in the nicest, most self-deprecating, kindest way to my own self.

But seriously, Palluzzi, get it together.

What happened was this.

As you may remember, when I had Theo, he was a few days late and I was in labor for one million hours, approximately. I labored at home, I went the hospital, I walked laps, I had an epidural, I had some Pitocin to get me to move faster, I met every medical professional there, I pushed for four hours, I finally had a beautiful baby like two whole days later.

And while I forgot most of the things about that first labor that traumatized me (poor JW wasn’t as lucky), what I did remember was that it just took so long.

This time around, everyone reminded me that it wouldn’t take that long. I nodded my head at them, but thinking yeah, maybe it won’t take a million hours this time, maybe it will only take like half a million hours. 

I was convinced I had time.

So last Thursday, five full days before my due date, I woke up, felt a little cramping (I googled it, this apparently is a thing that can happen before labor starts with your second baby), but decided to wrangle the boys and head to work. I got to work, finished a few things, had a meeting in which, looking back, I was likely in labor for, ate some lunch, and decided that even though I most certainly was not in labor, I was going home because I didn’t feel great. I could work from there.

That was at 12:30.

I got on the train, because like, why wouldn’t I? Once I got off, I headed to my car, noticing that these “cramps” were becoming almost rhythmic, but knowing that they weren’t labor because this felt nothing like when I was actually in labor with Boo.

I drove home, pulled out my computer and turned on some Real Housewives, and then decided that maybe a bath would help.

I climbed in, felt better for like ten minutes, and then as the “cramping” started back up, a light bulb came on, as I realized that perhaps I was actually in labor. I crawled out of the bath, put on the weirdest outfit ever, and texted JW that he should maybe come home.

Should I jump in a cab? He asked.

Maybe, I replied.

That was at 2:15.

It was at this time that I realized that there was no perhaps, and that 2 things were certain:

  1. I was in labor
  2. I was definitely going to die.

You’re not going to die, my very wise friend Michaela’s voice piped into my head. She’s a labor and delivery nurse, and she’s super calm, and she’s always right.

She basically had told me this would happen.

She was also at that moment on a plane to China and so remained only a voice in my head.

JW walked through the door a little after 2:30, and I got into the car. He drove as fast as he could- straight into a Cubs’ traffic jam.

We better win the World Series this year.

By the time we got onto Lakeshore Drive, it was clear to me that I was not only in labor, but pretty much actively delivering a child. I told JW we weren’t going to make it to the hospital, and he called 911 and pulled off the highway.

A fire truck showed up and tried to ask me some questions as I yelled through some contractions and then an ambulance showed up. Four burly men threw me on a stretcher, loaded me into the ambulance, and headed to St. Joseph, a lovely facility that also happens to not be my hospital.

During this time the EMTs told me not to push while I alternated between screaming and laughing at them because chickens, you can’t just not push when a baby is coming out of you. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, even if they’re medical professionals and you’re just a lady wearing yoga pants and yelling like a maniac.

We got to the hospital, thankfully, and I squeezed my eyes shut and headed into the ER on a stretcher. We made a move for the elevator to head to labor & delivery, when I realized that my child was about to be born in an elevator and told them it was too late for that and to please turn around because the baby was coming (this is the polite version I’m sure, but I can’t actually remember the words that came out of my mouth).

Ellie was born one push and thirty seconds later in the ER, and while technically a doctor made it downstairs to witness her birth, I wouldn’t say that anyone really delivered her, per se.

She’s an independent woman. She delivered herself.

That was at 3:30.

Ellie is perfect, obviously, and she actually showed up in much better shape than her brother did, likely because she did it on her own terms.

The people at St. Joseph were a delight, and while it would have been preferable to have my own doctor there, you know, things turned out great and I’m feeling good five days later, to which I credit my not-on-purpose quick and all-natural and drug-free birth.

The moral of the story is twofold, you guys:

  1. Always listen to Michaela (I already knew this, I don’t know why I never learn).
  2. You maybe don’t have the time you think you have.

It was a little scary and a lot dramatic, but chickens, look at what we got for our trouble:


Welcome to the world, Eleanor Grace. Thanks for letting us know who the boss is.


Filed under Chicago, Did I really do that?, Near Disaster