Monday, September 9, 2013

Back To School. Now With More Feelings!

I know a lot of you have been playing the Back To School game now for weeks...

But now it's my turn. With this kid.

...And her Back To School helper.

It's her second year of preschool (which is what happens when you start with a Young 3s program)...but I'm just as emotional as if she were going off to college. For very short, very young people. Okay, I'm not devastated sad. Of course not. Just twinge-y. Saddish. Hormonal.

And it's not like I think preschool is a hop, skip, and jump away from other-side-of-the-world independence (though some would argue that it is). No, I'm a bundle of Feelings for two reasons:

1. I miss her. Plain n' simple. I've gotten so used to this free-spirited little lady just wandering from room to room, reading her books, asking the occasional question, and always being game for a project or adventure. And while three mornings a week isn't the equivalent of a Peace Corp tour, it leaves a big (okay, smallish) Nora-sized hole in my day.

2. Each time she starts a new class or chapter in her life, it becomes glaringly obvious to me that one day- perhaps even soon- she'll be onward and upward and forward and not slowing down, not even the tiniest bit, and she'll never again just be my little kid at home. And it seems like she's already started that trajectory.

And I miss her.

Yesterday, P.J. showed me this commercial. Warning: If you're an easy crier, you'll cry. Easily.

So no matter how special I make each day and no matter how often (or infrequently) I document each little Pinterest-worthy milestone, she's well on her way to the rest of her life.

That's what I think about on each first day of school. And while I always want Nora (and Susannah and Roo) to be wildly happy and live with absolute freedom (from worry, from Mom-guilt)...

I already miss her.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Keely Steps Out (In Supremely Cute Orthaheel Boots).

I'm very very very thrilled to write this sponsored post on behalf of Orthaheel and Sole Provisions. Yay, boots!

Now that I'm safely ensconced in my 30s, it's easy to see that I've begun a trend of wearing shoes that are extremely good for my feet.

This is a welcomed change, as I spent the majority of my 20s clad in footwear designed to destroy arches (and fall apart at the first sign of weather).

And as a gal who for so long prized quantity over quality and so cute over pretty much all else, it's awesome to find boots and shoes that can be a) functional, b) supportive, and c) yeah, ridiculously cute. (I mean, I'm not dead yet. I still have some standards of looking borderline attractive. No, they really are there.)

I am neither Waldo nor a pirate.
Just in case it ever comes up.
I'm massively in love with my new boots from Orthaheel (the Nell, in black) for these very reasons, as well as the fact that they look vaguely motorcycle-y which, sure, I'll never be in any danger of riding an actual motorcycle, but I think we can all agree that it's an attractive look for Fall. (The boots. Not me on a bike. Because never.) The ruching by the ankle is a cute touch, and I love side zip boots. Love 'em. (So does P.J., who will be in charge of all things Footwear Removal within the next few months.) And the footbed is roomy and supported and ohmyword feels like a nice, footly hug.

Here's what else I dig about these boots and this company: the technology that went into creating this line of shoes and boots is clinically proven to reduce pronation (read: not walking like a normal person, KEELY), and can help your overall foot feel like a million bucks.

You can check out this wonderful line of footwear at Sole Provisions- where I got mine- which not only features some rather adorable shoes and boots, but also offers brands upon brands designed to make your bones and joints and extremities feel adorable, too.

As someone who's currently plowing through her third pregnancy, I'll take all the adorable-makin'/adorable-feelin' help I can get.

And cute boots, too.

Although I was compensated for this post by Sole Provisions and Orthaheel, all thoughts and opinions (and gushy love for footwear) are my own.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Tea Parties And Time.

"Mom," she said. "You know what's even better than doing your work?" Nora looked at me expectantly- and a tad impishly.

"...Having a little tea party with the breakable tea set."

She nodded like she had just unveiled THE plan. And, in a way, she had.

You bring the tea set, I'll bring the braids.

For weeks now she's been asking to use "the breakable tea set," the one she was gifted for her third birthday- and the one that, quite honestly, isn't all that breakable. Sure, it's ceramic and way nicer than the plastic cups n' saucers (the ones that, shortly after receipt of the new ones, were foisted off on Suzy as a benevolent Now I Shall Share With You gesture), but it's not like they're the Queen's china.

I guess I just never felt that the time was "right" to play with them: the Zunami was in a crazy flingin' mood, there were too many toys already scattered around the room, and I had a ton of stuff to catch up. (I started to feel badly for Nora as soon as I realized that those three factors would always, always be in play.) But Nora would keep asking- almost every day- "Maybe later when Zu's asleep? Maybe then we'll have a tea party with the breakable tea set?"

"Sure," I'd tell her. And then remove Susannah's leg from an item of furniture.

But this afternoon- long after her little sister fought the good naptime fight (and lost)- and long after Nora's Quiet Time books had been devoured...and long after she decided that a Big Girl Nap was not in the cards for her today...she approached me with that grin.

And I promptly shoved my laptop aside, turned my phone to silent, and prepared to be indulged at the most lavish tea party this side of the Chicago River.

Maybe it was the fact that we had just that morning come from her preschool orientation and I already found myself missing her, or maybe it was that excited smile, the one that made me feel like a jerk for not just letting her use the damn tea set any ol' frickin' time she wanted because IT'S A TEA SET...

But it was the best tea party I'd ever attended.

And when I asked her what was in it ("honey and strawberries, but the kind that Uncle Neil can eat") and how it was prepared ("with water from the bathroom sink"), she seemed grownup and proud and I wanted to stay right there forever.

She was so careful with her pours. And such a hostess with demure inquiries of "Sugar? Creamer" and offers to stir my cup. And the ultimate lady with her pinky up (even though it was the pinky not holding the cup- there's time). And an excellent hydrator with a whopping six refilled pots of "tea."

I went upstairs to put a small cookie on her miniature plate- and her expression would've made you think we were suddenly dining at The Drake.

It made me feel like an excellent Mom. And it made me feel like a terrible Mom.

But it also made me feel like a wise Mom, for I've come to realize something incredibly important: while there will always be crazy-pivotal things to check off our lists, time is so stupidly fleeting and I won't look back fondly on that deadline I got out the door regarding children's bedding options. Someday Nora's gonna be as busy as I always purport to be. So while she's here and young and thinks I hung the moon and stars and sky...I should always say yes to a tea party with my kid.

But I should plan to add my own sugar. She stirs in way too much.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Seeing Sporting Events In Tiny Little Spurts.

On Labor Day, we took the girls to a Cubs game (Susannah's first, Nora's second) and had a terrific time. Even though- due to the ol' law of If You Need To Be Somewhere, Your Kids Will Nap For Seven Hours- we only managed to see a few innings. 

Still terrific. 

Because there was a train ride with Ohmygoodness I CAN SEE OUT THIS WINDOW views of [a different part of] the city.

And, after the girls figured out that guys were hitting balls into the general direction of the seats (it was foul ball-tacular that day), they decided to cup their hands together in case a baseball gently floated down from the sky.

I realize that we'll have to work with them on all things athletic.

There were also stadium hot dogs. With neon green relish and mustard and ketchup and lots of napkins. I thought the smallish Cubbies fans were purty cute, too.

Best hour of The Sports I've ever had.