THE MISS Q
Bright & Early

I stirred awake at 5:50am. I didn’t feel tired, but I did feel overwhelmed by a BIZARRE dream I had (let’s just say I’ve been slacking on taking our mail in, and in my dream, we lived in a house with a loud, two-story mail sorting machine with illuminating neon lights…that wasn’t even the craziest part).

I threw off the covers and started buzzing about, in the most quiet way possible. I focused on a hot, lengthy shower, an arbitrary packing job (is it just me, or does anyone else just throw stuff in a suitcase and hope for the best?), and getting our home ready for babysitters, as me + Fitz have a weekend-o-fun ahead of us.

Today: drive to Indianapolis, watch two NCAA Sweet Sixteen games (I am sooo pumped for this), head out for dinner + drinks

Tomorrow: drive to Athens, OH, have lunch with an old friend, and watch our cousin make her debut in Ohio University’s production of ‘As You Like It” (her first leading role! We are so damn proud)

Sunday: 5am wake up call, whole lotta driving

This past week was full of neatly stacked schedules, a rotating cast of visitors, dinner parties, play dates, and what seemed like endless errand running. Somewhere in between those events, I worked on my writer website, had a photoshoot, wrote a boatload of new stuff, assembled sample queries, worked with Wells on spelling out words, and did an obscene amount of laundry (just figured out that my washing machine has ‘pet bedding’ and ‘bra/hosiery’ specialty cycles…god, getting old is so fun sometimes).

All of this frenetic living, working, breathing, playing, and progress…has been downright awesome. It’s easy to complain about being busy, but sometimes busy seems to suit me.

And after of a week of go-go-go…I’m really pumped to get lazy and hang with my best guy.

4 days with three 2-year-old boys(the Cliff’s Notes edition: we’re all alive!)My sister is the giving-type. The kind of girl who always brings you an unexpected gift, or extends a cheerful call to brighten your mood. She is eager to help if and when she can, and the fact that she is the mother to twins and still remains the giving-type is extra admirable. So when the opportunity came for her and her husband to take a much-needed getaway, I decided that it was time for me to be the giving-type. I volunteered to babysit.So me + Fitz + Wells + Theo packed our bags, said some prayers, and moved in. The experience was exactly what one might expect: eventful, funny, and BUSY. As Miss Type A, I had some important lessons coming my way:1. No two kids are alike. ADAPT! 2. Personality management was a valuable task in the corporate world, as well as the world of a stay-at-home parent.3. Be firm + fairYes, there were tantrums. Some of them thrown by the kids. But there was also little fits of giggles, sharing with the most coveted of toys (golf club, a tiny yellow bus), and sweet hugs amongst cousins. Forget survival mode…this type of parenting requires optimal functioning mode. At all times, I was zipping around: filling sippy cups, checking laundry, meal clean up, dog walking, toddler soothing, toy pick up, bath time, dog feeding, meal prep, house straightening, etc. I had such a hard time breaking out of this…it felt difficult for me to stop, eat, or even just take a few moments to give extra hugs or attention to the little ones. That is the toughest part about being outnumbered by kids…you are chasing down so many details that you don’t really get the opportunity to just be. After a few days, I started to get into a nice little groove. Today, when I turned the babysitting reins over to our trusted cousin and drove home, I thought about what life must have been like for my parents, who had three kids in pretty rapid succession…it made me realize that I probably owe both of them a phone call. If nothing else, just to say I love you, and that I understand a little bit more about their parenting journey than I did before.It’s true what they say: it takes a village to raise a child. The day you become a mother or father, you basically agree to be a ‘helper’ forever…but in a good way, a way in which you want to do it because you know how far that gesture goes. No parenting gig is without challenge or sacrifice. But what I glean from this weekend is that a challenge met with optimism is a dynamic pairing, my husband is one hell of a partner in crime (you da best, Fitz), and that I should really try to be the giving-type more often…because giving feels pretty darn good.We had fun. And now we have memories.

4 days with three 2-year-old boys

(the Cliff’s Notes edition: we’re all alive!)

My sister is the giving-type. The kind of girl who always brings you an unexpected gift, or extends a cheerful call to brighten your mood. She is eager to help if and when she can, and the fact that she is the mother to twins and still remains the giving-type is extra admirable.

So when the opportunity came for her and her husband to take a much-needed getaway, I decided that it was time for me to be the giving-type. I volunteered to babysit.

So me + Fitz + Wells + Theo packed our bags, said some prayers, and moved in. The experience was exactly what one might expect: eventful, funny, and BUSY. As Miss Type A, I had some important lessons coming my way:
1. No two kids are alike. ADAPT!
2. Personality management was a valuable task in the corporate world, as well as the world of a stay-at-home parent.
3. Be firm + fair

Yes, there were tantrums. Some of them thrown by the kids. But there was also little fits of giggles, sharing with the most coveted of toys (golf club, a tiny yellow bus), and sweet hugs amongst cousins.

Forget survival mode…this type of parenting requires optimal functioning mode. At all times, I was zipping around: filling sippy cups, checking laundry, meal clean up, dog walking, toddler soothing, toy pick up, bath time, dog feeding, meal prep, house straightening, etc. I had such a hard time breaking out of this…it felt difficult for me to stop, eat, or even just take a few moments to give extra hugs or attention to the little ones. That is the toughest part about being outnumbered by kids…you are chasing down so many details that you don’t really get the opportunity to just be.

After a few days, I started to get into a nice little groove. Today, when I turned the babysitting reins over to our trusted cousin and drove home, I thought about what life must have been like for my parents, who had three kids in pretty rapid succession…it made me realize that I probably owe both of them a phone call. If nothing else, just to say I love you, and that I understand a little bit more about their parenting journey than I did before.

It’s true what they say: it takes a village to raise a child. The day you become a mother or father, you basically agree to be a ‘helper’ forever…but in a good way, a way in which you want to do it because you know how far that gesture goes. No parenting gig is without challenge or sacrifice. But what I glean from this weekend is that a challenge met with optimism is a dynamic pairing, my husband is one hell of a partner in crime (you da best, Fitz), and that I should really try to be the giving-type more often…because giving feels pretty darn good.

We had fun. And now we have memories.

This weekend, Fitz and I are going to tackle the near-impossible: babysitting three 2-year-olds…for four days. YIKES. Naturally, there is a lot of preparation that goes into something like this, so my to-do list is extra long right now.

BUT…when my phone rang this morning, that list of stuff went out the window. Fitz told me how his dad’s flight was cancelled earlier this week due to weather, and that his parents were not able to see one another nor properly celebrate their 27th wedding anniversary. Total bummer.

And that’s when Fitz shared his grand scheme: invite them over for a casual lunch-turned-anniversary soiree!

I hustled to make this whole thing work- cancelled my morning errands, slammed some coffee, and ran out of the house sans shower/makeup. I dashed to Target for quick decorations, and Fitz placed a call to Three Tarts Bakery for a personalized confection (we’re talking three tiers of deliciousness). The group walked in just as I set out a spread of sandwiches, toppings, and sides.

We somehow pulled it off. My in-laws were incredibly touched and Wells proudly showed off his personalized banner, complete with Crayola sketching. All in all, the tiniest bits of extra effort yielded gracious words and big, big smiles. Doing this reminded me of all the times my in-laws and parents have dropped everything to rush my side when I needed help…times that I may have taken for granted or failed to recognize the extra assistance. It was humbling and reminded me that I often need to zip it, smile, and just focus on helping things get to a better place. Sure, my schedule and to-do list are important, but what could be more important than family?

Nothing at all.

Happy Anniversary, T & P! May your love story continue to grow and grow and grow…three cheers to the two of you and a life well-lived!

About last night: Wells’ very first Blackhawks game!

We donned matching jerseys, grabbed a delicious-but-quick-dinner at Grange Hall, and eagerly made our way into the United Center.

No one was more excited than our little boy. ENTRANCED is the right word. He loved every single moment of the game- the hockey, ice cleaning, music, cheering (‘More goals, Mama!’), hot pretzels, dancing, and overall observing, which made for an unbelievably cool family experience.

Our seats are in the first row of the second level, which is kind of an ace in the hole for people with kids. We sat in our seats with Wells standing in front of us, peering at the game through the foot tall plexiglass guard that stood before him (well over his head and safe). It was easy relaxing for us, entertaining for him, and pure joy to watch the fans around us react to the littlest patron.

The evening could not have gone better or been more memorable (um, except for the Hawks losing). I had been a tad apprehensive because one truly never knows what they will get when a kiddo is up WAY past his bed time. Turns out, a new Blackhawks fan has emerged!

After we drove home and tucked Wells into bed, Fitz and I sat at our kitchen table, splitting a piece of takeout key lime pie from Grange Hall.

"I’ve dreamed of stuff like this, nights together like this as a family, I said, taking a small bite of pie.

"Me too," Fitz said, smiling. "Me too."

Love is a many-splendored thing

Feeling the holiday spirit, I slipped on one of my favorite tops…a worn-in chambray button down from J.Crew with a heart pocket, scored years ago at resale shop. I paired it with pink cords and a beaded headband that made me look like a fancy Karate Kid.

Valentine’s Day goodies were waiting for Wells as soon as he came downstairs for breakfast. They included a stuffed Elmo, a Leapfrog alphabet placemat, heart stickers, and a little pre-school math booklet (he loves counting and pointing out numbers). High-fives to Target dollar bins for displaying the finest Made-in-China gadgets that my son so adores.

Fitz hung around a little later than usual this morning for some coffee, donuts, and chill time. There were lots of snuggles with our woof, and chatter about our busy-busy weekend- 4 parties in all! We made silly jokes and talked about stuff going on in the news. It was simple but felt very special.

Traditions continue: Annual family dinner at The University Club!There was a gingerbread train with moving wheels and working lights that pretty much made Wells’ entire life. 

Traditions continue: Annual family dinner at The University Club!

There was a gingerbread train with moving wheels and working lights that pretty much made Wells’ entire life. 

Last night my in-laws hosted a pretty epic dinner party:14 guests + 2 toddlers + 1 Boston Terrier Once the munchkins were snuggled and snoozing (about 8:30pm), we eagerly took our seats at the dinner table. We oohed and ahhed over the beautiful stemware, placemats, napkins, party favors, and holiday trimmings that were carefully displayed and set for a festive feast. Wine was poured and toasts were given. First up: Homemade caesar salad and crusty french bread (delicious)Main Course:…..um?Where the heck is the main course?Around 10pm, and after two glasses of wine and six pieces of bread, I finally realized that something was amiss. I stood up from the table, politely excused myself, and marched my high heels into the kitchen to investigate.My mom-in-law and brother-in-law looked up as I entered the room, and before I could even get some words out they announced (with pained expression), “The oven is not working.” (shit!)I nodded, took a deep breath, and jumped into helping mode. Tis the season for helping! I grabbed an apron, discussed a few options, and then suggested that we pull the pork tenderloins from the oven and sear them in a saute pan with the poached pears and glaze. And that’s just what we did…for each of the 36 medallions of pork.With the three of us working dilgently in an asssembly line, 14 entrees were plated, high-fives were exchanged, breaths were exhaled, and dinner was finally served…at quarter to 11pm. It was delicious. 

Last night my in-laws hosted a pretty epic dinner party:
14 guests + 2 toddlers + 1 Boston Terrier 

Once the munchkins were snuggled and snoozing (about 8:30pm), we eagerly took our seats at the dinner table. We oohed and ahhed over the beautiful stemware, placemats, napkins, party favors, and holiday trimmings that were carefully displayed and set for a festive feast. Wine was poured and toasts were given. 

First up: Homemade caesar salad and crusty french bread (delicious)
Main Course:…..um?

Where the heck is the main course?

Around 10pm, and after two glasses of wine and six pieces of bread, I finally realized that something was amiss. I stood up from the table, politely excused myself, and marched my high heels into the kitchen to investigate.

My mom-in-law and brother-in-law looked up as I entered the room, and before I could even get some words out they announced (with pained expression), “The oven is not working.” 

(shit!)

I nodded, took a deep breath, and jumped into helping mode. Tis the season for helping! I grabbed an apron, discussed a few options, and then suggested that we pull the pork tenderloins from the oven and sear them in a saute pan with the poached pears and glaze. And that’s just what we did…for each of the 36 medallions of pork.

With the three of us working dilgently in an asssembly line, 14 entrees were plated, high-fives were exchanged, breaths were exhaled, and dinner was finally served…at quarter to 11pm. 

It was delicious. 

Sunday:
Wells waking us by calling out, ‘Dad! Mama! Dad!’ from his crib (first time for this)
Brioche french toast with berries at Fuel
Pompom hats (Fitz’s dates back to 1985)
A little fencing project
Storing outdoor furniture for the winter
Theo turning into a pup-sicle
BEARS

November 8thHappy birthday to my two dads!(Fitz’s dad + my dad)YES…our dads share the exact same birthday. Same day, same year = same age. How cool is that? It was a fun discovery back when Fitz and I were dating. But what I find to be extra awesome about this situation is how close our dads have become over the years. They have breakfast together once a week.They double date.They vacation together.They speak refreshingly and enthusiastically of one another.The night we got engaged, they went out for drinks so they could be together when they got ‘the call’ that I had accepted Fitz’s proposal.They were the first to show up at the hospital when I went into labor with Wells (“We just couldn’t wait!”)Did I mention that their names are Tom & Jerry? You cannot make these details up. They were simply destined for dynamic duo status.Sure, our marriage brought their lives together, but they get all the credit for forming a dynamic, intriguing friendship that gets celebrated every year on this day. So cheers to some of the most important men in my life. Today is YOUR day. I stand in pride for the beautiful lives you lead, for your service to our country, for the families you have raised, for your generosity of spirit, for the sound advice you lend, for the cheerful hugs and kisses, for the endless help you provide so willingly, and for the way you always pull us through our struggles and set us on our feet. Every step of the way you have been our fathers and our friends.Tom & Jerry, every day I love you. Happy birthday from me (and us). P.S. My dad is notorious for not being much of a sweets person, but he adores SKOR bars. So every year, for as long as I can remember, I have given him one…or two. :)

November 8th

Happy birthday to my two dads!
(Fitz’s dad + my dad)

YES…our dads share the exact same birthday. Same day, same year = same age. How cool is that? It was a fun discovery back when Fitz and I were dating. But what I find to be extra awesome about this situation is how close our dads have become over the years.

They have breakfast together once a week.
They double date.
They vacation together.
They speak refreshingly and enthusiastically of one another.
The night we got engaged, they went out for drinks so they could be together when they got ‘the call’ that I had accepted Fitz’s proposal.
They were the first to show up at the hospital when I went into labor with Wells (“We just couldn’t wait!”)


Did I mention that their names are Tom & Jerry? You cannot make these details up. They were simply destined for dynamic duo status.

Sure, our marriage brought their lives together, but they get all the credit for forming a dynamic, intriguing friendship that gets celebrated every year on this day.

So cheers to some of the most important men in my life. Today is YOUR day. I stand in pride for the beautiful lives you lead, for your service to our country, for the families you have raised, for your generosity of spirit, for the sound advice you lend, for the cheerful hugs and kisses, for the endless help you provide so willingly, and for the way you always pull us through our struggles and set us on our feet. Every step of the way you have been our fathers and our friends.

Tom & Jerry, every day I love you.

Happy birthday from me (and us).

P.S. My dad is notorious for not being much of a sweets person, but he adores SKOR bars. So every year, for as long as I can remember, I have given him one…or two. :)

A perfect party featuring the aforementioned Caesar, homemade pasta, roasted pork tenderloin with pears + shallots + thyme, a surprise second round of guests, and a buttercream birthday cake.

Stuffed!
(with food, yes, but love as well)