Tag Archives: 2016

Someday is today

Dear Chicago,

You’re not technically my hometown. I was born in New Haven, and I consider myself a true, blue New Englander. I’m a little too suspicious and not quite friendly enough to be an authentic Midwesterner, but fourteen years later, I’m working on it.

I moved to the city in the fall of 2002, fresh off of three years in rural Michigan, a place I never quite fit in (but where I met the most important piece of my life story, and so it was worth it). I stumbled a little in the big city, and found friends who helped me understand I shouldn’t forget to lock my doors and that you had to keep your head up in a town of three million people. I slid into place after a few months and remember thinking, this is it. 

This is home.

Four years later after graduating, I had a friend who couldn’t believe I wasn’t “going home.”

I smiled to myself, because I knew that I was home.

I cheered for the Cubs starting my freshman year of college, at first because a boy I liked loved the Cubs, and then because I loved the Cubs. I named a plant in my dorm room Kenny Lofton (I’m weird, I know) and went down to Wrigley when I was nineteen, the night of Bartman, when we were thisclose to finally getting to the World Series. I ran out of there late in the game after some angry fans hauled a giant fake Marlin up above their heads and started chanting “Fuck the Fish.”

We’re passionate, as Cubs fans.

I’ve been to Wrigley a gazillion times, with my best friends and my classmates. With my husband and my parents. Most importantly, with my baby Theo at his first game this year.

Chicago is where I went to college. It’s where I met my best friends, and where I got my first job and my first apartment. It’s where my long distance boyfriend turned into my roommate, and my fiance, and my husband, and now the father of my babies.

And always, always the guy watching the game with me.

Baseball has always been a thread running through my life in Chicago, and like everything else, its had its ups and downs, its highs and lows.

We’ll stick with you, through it all, because we’re Cubs fans, and because this is our city, and because we have a deep love for both the team and our home, even when it’s bitter.

But man, it is surreal when it feels so sweet.

So thanks Chicago, for teaching me everything I know. Thanks for showing me that if you work hard and hang in and keep the faith, it.will.happen.

That someday will become today.

xoxo,

NP

theocubs.jpg

 

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Filed under Chicago, Good times, Reflections

here to greet it.

Morning, chickadees.

I’ve been pretty busy, trying to beat back a cold that won’t end, waking up a couple of times a night to feed my little girl, and fighting fake fires with my toddler.

I’ve been trying to focus on the good parts of the world.

Because, despite the endless swirl of the spin that appears to be dragging us all down, there’s a lot of good in the world.

Like, the Cubs are still in the World Series.

And my babies are dressed up in adorable costumes today.

And the sun rose this morning and we’re all here to greet it.

This election is going to be over in a week, everyone, either way.

I’m a student of history, chicks. I read it as fast and as much I can, especially lately, because there’s comfort to me in the fact that this isn’t the first time we’ve been in a panic. It hasn’t been the first time that violent rhetoric has threatened our democracy.

And we’re still standing.

As Joe Biden would say, “C’mon, we’re America!”

To me, this election cycle has shocked me into a clarity about the fact that there are more people who do not care about their fellow man than I thought there were. That they’ve been waiting on the edge for someone to tell them it was okay to say out loud that the poor, the weak, the different, they don’t matter as much or at all.

And at first that made me upset, because I didn’t want to believe they were out there in large numbers. But now, I think, it makes me relieved, because I want you where I can see you.

I don’t want to laugh nervously and change the subject the next time you say something racist or sexist or just kind of shitty about one of the people I share our country with- I want to say, I see you, and what you said is not okay, and I’m not going to be quiet about it, because you said it about my brother or my sister. I don’t care where you were brought up or how old you are or what kind of religious beliefs you have, the most basic tenant of coexistence is that we just be nice to each other, you guys.

My mom taught me that.

I hope your mom did too.

Theo and I have been talking a lot about how important it is to be nice. About how it’s not always easy, but it’s always important. I want my kids to grow up to be kind. That would be enough.

And so my suggestion (to myself too, because this is hard for all of us) for the next eight days is that we just try to be nice to each other.

Also, vote, everyone. Vote because this election matters so much to so many people. It will say something about how we feel about each other as humans.

This will be over and in our rear view mirror in a little more than a week, and I promise you, chickens, we will be ready to face it either way because we are America, and we haven’t always been right or perfect, but we have always been tough.

 

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Filed under Chicago, Politics

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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Filed under Chicago, five good things

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.

fam

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

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Filed under Chicago, Did I really do that?

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

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

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:

ellie1

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

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