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Wednesday
Jan052011

She'sWrite: Making a Chicago-centric bucket list

We want to issue a very warm congratulations to our guest contributor She’sWrite. She gave birth to a darling, healthy baby boy named Ethan earlier this week who joins 3-year-old brother Logan at home. But before she gave birth, She’sWrite came up with this list of Chicago-centric experience she’d like to have in 2011 – in addition to, you know, becoming a mom for the second time. Hey, she always admits to being “Type A with a twist.” 

Each year I make a New Year’s resolution and as I’ve said before, I take it quite seriously and pride myself on not breaking it. For 2010 I did Christine Kane’s exercise of picking a word that’s your theme for the entire year. Mine was reclaim and I loved it.

Spending a warm afternoon in Millennium Park is on the list. Photo by Ed Yourdon on Flickr.I figure I’ve got too many life-changing adjustments to make in 2011 with the new baby, six months of maternity leave and other things to adequately pick a theme for the entire year. So I chose to make a bucket list of Chicago sites that I want to visit this year.

For the record, I’m not dying or anything like that, I just think living in such a fantastic city, it’s easy to take for granted all the great experiences at our fingertips. I want to make a focused effort on hitting up some Chicago favorites.

My list consists of some personal favorites and other ideas were gleaned from my friends who told me about what they love to do in the city. I consider my friends to be fun, smart and pretty damn cool but unpretentious, so I added the rest of their suggestions at the bottom of my bucket list in case you’re curious. 

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Wednesday
Dec292010

She'sWrite: Basking in the Christmas Afterglow

ooks like we made it through another Christmas. Another season of long shopping lines, ugly sweaters and stuffing stockings and our tummies with holiday cheer. I’m a bit sad to see it end because I gotta say this was one of the best ever.

Baking Christmas cookies.Yes, that’s Tiny Tim’s voice you hear in the background. (God bless us, everyone.) But allow me to be a little cheesy in my Christmas afterglow.

Since my family lives in Kansas and my husband’s is in Norway, we’re usually traveling for the holidays and being pregnant, that wasn’t possible. Meaning, this was our first Christmas at home, no luggage, no airports, no rental cars, just us and our cozy home.

I admittedly hadn’t prepared much for Christmas because between work, Logan, keeping the house afloat and many visits to the doctor, there wasn’t much time. I was lucky to get a bit of breathing room to get gifts for Logan and our extended family. That meant Christmas Eve morning, I had to jet to Macy’s in the morning to pick up some sweaters for Hubby. He made the same trip that afternoon. We are indeed soul mates.

Other than that, we spent the rest of the day in our pajamas, hanging around the house playing, watching TV, relishing the last few days of being a family of three. Logan and I baked Christmas cookies and I made a roast with veggies for dinner. Afterward, my little guy helped me wrap one of Hubby’s gifts. I told him how it had to stay a secret and that dad would only find out what it was when he opened the present in the morning.

A few minutes later Logan showed off his wrapping handiwork to his dad saying “Dad, you see? This is for you, but you can’t open it until Christmas. And do you know what it’s gonna be? It’s gonna be a shirt, a sweater.”

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Wednesday
Dec222010

She'sWrite: Making New Christmas Traditions for Our Family

Logan’s preschool sometimes gives him “homework” assignments, which always means after school work for mum and dad too. This week we had to do a piece on our family’s Christmas traditions and it got me thinking, what are our traditions?

The columnist's son Logan helps decorate their tree.Our family is still pretty young and small, so we don’t have a lot of them yet, largely because this is our first Christmas at home. But that’s one of the cool things about having your own family, you get to start your own traditions, do things your way.

I looked back on my childhood to see, what did we do? Three things popped into my mind.

Baking Christmas goods for the neighbors. I grew up in a cul-de-sac and all the neighbors would swap treats. I remember loving to make homemade sugar cookies, mostly because I like eating icing. Also mom’s peanut clusters, were beyond yummy.

Christmas light drives. My mom, dad, my sister and I would get in the car and drive around looking at people’s crazy holiday light displays. The local newspaper would print out the best houses in various neighborhoods which we’d use as a guide to the spectacular shows. The most packed display was the Kirby’s house. There wasn’t a square inch of their yard that wasn’t blazing, singing or dancing to spread Christmas cheer.

Opening Gifts. We use to pick one gift to open on Dec. 24 and then tear into the rest of our packages on Dec. 25. The Dec. 24 gift had to be picked carefully, you didn’t want to open it up and find a lame sweater, but you also didn’t want it to be your “big” gift.

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Wednesday
Dec152010

She'sWrite: Preparing my first-born for the newer model

Logan is your typical only child. We adore him and he loves being adored. He doesn’t have to share any of his toys, food or place in the home. Little does he know how much his world is about to be turned upside down.

Photo by Erica Lynn Hang PhotographyWith Bean’s arrival less than a month away, I’m wondering how well he’ll fare with a new kid in town. We’ve followed all the advice, and talked up what a wonderful thing it is to be a “BIG BROTHER.” We’ve discussed how he can help, emphasized that it’s *his* baby in my belly and we’ve given him children’s books on the greatness of being a big brother. We’ve brainwashed him as best as we can.

But I can’t help but think he’s still going to feel like last year’s model, a has-been of sorts. One of my co-workers, who has six grown kids, told me how her doctor once said that having a new sibling in the house is hard for young ones: “Imagine if your husband came home with a young blonde.”

Well said.

Hubby and I know it’ll be good for Logan to have a little brother or sister, I look at it as though we’re giving him a best friend, he just won’t realize it for at least a year. And it’ll be good for him not to always be the center of attention, nevertheless there will be growing pains. And those are what I dread.

Logan is an uber mama’s boy. (But really, can you blame him?) Already he gets jealous of time Hubby spends with me, saying “Daddy, don’t hug mommy.” Or while his chubby arms are wrapped tightly around my neck he’ll turn to Hubby and say “Go away! Leave us alone!” As my belly gets bigger I’ve noticed that he’s gotten even more clingy. It’ll definitely be an interesting transition since he’ll have to be with Hubby as I’ll be busy with Bean.

After Bean is born, we’ve got a plan for when Logan visits me in the hospital, the nurse can present him with his baby instead of him walking in the room and seeing mom cuddling with The Replacement. Also, Bean has already been collecting items for a spectacular gift basket for Logan.

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Wednesday
Dec082010

She'sWrite: Team Pink? Team Blue? We're Team Green

I can tell you that the baby in my belly weighs about 4 pounds, has an average heart rate of 139 and gets the hiccups every night around 11 o’clock. But I can’t tell you if Bean is a boy or a girl. We’ve decided not to find out the gender, and it’s been interesting to watch people’s reactions to us being not on Team Pink or Team Blue, but proud members of Team Green.

Photo of a baby blanket by pinprick on Flickr.I’m such a planner and like to have my “I’s” dotted and “T’s” crossed, so it surprises many that this Type A doesn’t want to know the gender. It’s because my love of control is outweighed only by my love of surprises. I know, I know. I’m an oxymoron, deal with it. But I do love happy surprises, and I can’t think of a bigger surprise than the gender of your baby. (Well, other than the surprising fact that you’re having a baby, but that’s another story.)

We already know so much. We’ve been in the Information Age for years. I’m in an industry founded on informing the masses. We frequent blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and all the other usual social-networking suspects. We’re all about knowing more, more, more, more. So why not have the gender as a surprise? After Bean is born, everyone will know, but for these months, a little mystery is fun. And as far as planning, there’s plenty of cute hues of greens and yellows and other gender-neutral colors to get us through.

When people find out that we don’t know Bean’s gender, their reactions vary. Most think it’s fun, though many say they couldn’t stand not knowing. A few of friends have tried to bribe me to find out, and at least one pool was started to collect money on whether I was having a boy or a girl.

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