Monday, May 20, 2013

Ada graduates from Montessori school

WSMSGraduation from almaklein on Vimeo.
It's the end of an era. After six straight years with a child enrolled at WSMS (including 2 during which I served as board co-president), we're leaving this amazing community. At the Graduation picnic, Ada and her fellow kindergarteners sang (see the snippet above) before getting their white "Graduate" t-shirts and handing out slices of cake (all school traditions).

Ada and her teacher for the past 3 years, Ms Orfei
Ada upon entering preschool
We've made our best friends among the parents at WSMS, so moving on is definitely bittersweet. But Ada's looking forward to summer camp and then first grade, and she'll be at the same school as her big sister for two whole years before they're on completely different schedules again.

Friday, May 10, 2013

I'd like to thank my Mom

My mom and dad
The longer I mother my two girls, the more I appreciate my own mother. So, in honor of Mother's Day, here's a list of things I'd like to thank her for. I'm not my mother's spitting image and our personalities, career paths and lifestyles are pretty different, but there are quite a few ways I'm doing my best to follow her example.

Thank you, Mom for...

1. Cooking from scratch and expecting everyone to show up for dinner.
2. Never once mentioning your weight or dieting.
3. Teaching me how to write. And rewrite.
4. Reading to me long past when I could read to myself.
5. Enrolling me in piano lessons and renting me a cello despite my utter lack of musical talent.
6. Making sure I was capable of cooking, laundry and checkbook balancing before I left home.
7. Attending almost all my high school plays and yet skipping 90% of my athletic games, and refusing to feel guilty about it.
8. Talking about how much you enjoyed your job.
9. Exposing me to the arts.
10. Never once apologizing for letting the grownups have more fun.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

My overly personal and specific Mother's Day gift guide

One of the "perks" of being a mom blogger (even a lazy, part-time blogger like myself) is the onslaught of unsolicited Mother's Day gift guide pitches for items I would never in a million years wish for or recommend anyone else buy.

But what makes me happy may very well work for another like-minded mom and I'm not above dropping hints, so here's my highly personalized guide to Mother's Day gifts.

1. A new handbag. I am not one of those amazing women who coordinates her handbag to her outfits. I pick a bag and I wear. It. Out. My current crossbody bag, purchased at an art fair last November, is getting pretty dingy, so I'm eyeing a new one. Like this hippy-chic turquoise bag on Etsy or this orange crossbody from Fossil. Tip: don't try and substitute a cute tote for a handbag; a girl like me needs lots of pockets--interior and exterior--to keep things like my CTA card, my keys and my phone organized.

2. A fitbit. A growing group of friends and relatives have been singing the praises of the fitbit, which is basically a high tech pedometer. It tracks your steps and uploads them to your computer or mobile device and the information can be synched with an app like MyFitnessPal so you can track calories in against calories out. I'm not trying to lose weight, but I find that quantifying what I'm doing (or not doing) is highly motivating. Now if the mom you're buying for is sensitive about her size, you may want to tread lightly here. Either talk in general terms about the movement toward Quantified Self to gauge her interest or buy 2 fitbits and promise to compete for the most activity.

3. You can't go wrong with a highly useful and tasteful accessory like small gold hoop earrings or a striped summer weight scarf.

4. And you definitely can't go wrong with a gift certificate for a mani-pedi or massage (Well-Come Spa is my favorite place in Oak Park). Better yet, book the appointment and arrange to take the kids elsewhere while mom gets pampered. I don't believe I've ever let a gift certificate expire, but I've heard some martyr moms have. Don't let it happen!

If my overly specific ideas don't appeal, let me suggest you shop at my friend Alana's brand new Nest Vintage Modern storefront in LaGrange for an amazing selection of vintage inspired home and personal goods. Or memorialize your mom's best advice on a custom piece of art from my cousin Ann's new mixed media Etsy store