Tag Archives: Water Tower

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish; A Day in Chicago!


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……more time with my favorite gal! One of the best things about high school is meeting new people and developing lifelong friendships. While Amanda’s met a gaggle of darling girls at St. Feels Right for Her, she is particularly close to two girls that are twin sisters (who hasn’t dreamt about how fun it would be to be a twin?). These three are practically inseparable. When the girls hatched a plan to have a mother/daughter day in the city, their mom and I jumped at the chance!

I am a hunter, gatherer and self-confessed hoarder. Shopping has always been my obsession! When I was a teenager about town, I was always headed to Marshall Field’s on State Street, the Century Mall and Water Tower Place. Amanda and her pals are far more curious, noble and serious.

All bundled up, we jumped on the Metra, destination; Ogilvie Transportation Center. While I love the quaint charm of living in the suburbs (we live in a bubble, within a bubble and it is awesome), I’m addicted to Chicago’s energy. It’s always buzzing! No sooner were we off the train then flying down to the concourse to buy our daily bus passes at the CVS/Pharmacy. Such a deal!

On State Street we hopped on the 146 which took us directly to the Museum Campus. The girls had a hankering to see the fish at the Shedd Aquarium.

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish Blue Fish (Dr. Suess rocks!); we got up close and personal with beautiful (and not so beautiful) fish species from oceans, local waters, islands, lakes and rivers. My favorites were the seahorses. We decided, however, that our visit wouldn’t be complete without the 4-D experience and taking in a show at the Amphitheater.

For the 4-D experience, we joined every toddler in the Chicago-land area for a viewing of Happy Feet. While we thoroughly enjoyed the sensory experiences; water mists, wind, air blasts, snow, bubbles, steam, leg ticklers, seat vibration and enhanced lighting, many of our little friends were terrified to tears. On the other hand, everyone enjoyed the soaring dolphins, dancing belugas and the adorable sea lion at the Aquatic Show.

With all of this learning, we sure worked up an appetite. Amanda couldn’t wait to introduce her friends to our favorite place for lunch; Food Life at Water Tower. Back on the bus, we were there in no time. Public transportation is a beautiful thing.

My Amanda is frequently not her mother’s daughter. Rather than wander around the mall, these girls only had eyes for the Skydeck at the Sear Tower (okay….Willis Tower. Old habits die hard). They were dying to step out onto….The Ledge!

With absolutely no one in line, our visit was meant to be. We took the elevator up 1,353 feet (and the Merry Go Round gives me the willies). The closer we got to the window, the more I felt faint. When we made it to The Ledge (a glass box that extends 4.3 feet from the actual ground of the Skydeck), I had heart palpitations. Above, below and from side to side you are surrounded by glass. My advice; don’t look down.

After much giggling and nudging, all three girls made their way out onto the ledge. They pressed their faces up against the glass, lounged on the glass bottom floor and jumped up and down (tempting fate). While they loved it, I had never been so happy to step foot back onto Jackson Blvd in my life!

Friends, fish, food and fear; I can’t think of a better way to spend a day in Chicago!

More palling around, more time with Amanda, more days in the city, more memory making…….

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Mama’s Got A Brand New Bag…..


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about…….more handbags! There’s nothing like the inspirational change in season to brighten a girl’s spirits. While the weather certainly won’t allow for a complete about face where our wardrobes are concerned, we can infuse a little bit of spring into our accessorizing.

I’m a bag lady from way back. When I was a kid, I would take the 22 Clark Street bus downtown and head to Water Tower with all of the money I earned babysitting. And I babysat a lot. There was never a shortage of parents looking to make a mad dash for the door in the hopes of finding a little peace and quiet (Now that I’m a parent, I totally get it. When Mary Poppins would babysit for Nick and Amanda, I always booked her for the next weekend as she was walking out the door.).  If I wasn’t scoping out all of the fabulous fashions at The Limited, I was heading upstairs to my favorite store; Le Sportsac. The bags came in all sorts of wonderful colors, shapes and sizes. One Christmas, I was so excited to buy a little Le Sportsac bag for my cousin Terri. She was a super fun teenager and I thought it would be smashing if she took it dancing. I still love Le Sportsac. One of my all time favorite tote bags (because I am a total schlep-rock) is a zebra print Le Sportsac with hot pink trim. Who’s the rock star now?   

Many ladies tend to settle for using one bag per season; your basic black or brown for fall and winter, and something a little less dreary for spring and summer.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with an awesome black and brown handbag, in fact, they’re a staple that every woman should have in her wardrobe of purses. However, variety is the spice of life! Handbags are another way to reflect your personal style. I change purses frequently (you know I believe in quantity), sometimes several times a week. I adore a well made, roomy and stylish handbag. My go to winter bags are a raspberry, quilted patent leather and a red, patent leather bucket bag. They go with everything and are so much more exciting than boring black or brown.

 The other day, I was running a few errands and took a quick detour to check out the purse department at Nordstrom’s. It was the happiest of days……

 

Soft and pretty is definitely a trend this upcoming season. Coach, who always makes a beautiful bag, was featuring lovely tone on tone combinations; pale pink, creamy ivory and neutral beiges. Of course, soft metallic gold and silver are a great way to transition shimmering elegance to the spring season. Their selections were, as always, lovely.

 

Burbery is keeping it traditionally plaid but with the wonderful addition of a white patent leather. So fresh and so clean!

 

 Vibrant and bold colors are a real treat! Hot pink, apple green and citrus orange just scream nice weather. I loved them especially in the slouchy bucket bag.

 

The iconic and elegant Kate Spade always showcases classic pieces with an irreverent and witty twist! Quilted Chanel inspired bags in Pepto-Bismol pink and finely woven straw bags embellished with beautiful, over size flowers. Absolutely to die for!

 

However, if a run to Nordstrom’s isn’t in your future, TJ Maxx had fabulous bags for a fraction of the price. There were great neutrals, metallic’s and bold colors; something for every occasion and budget.

More changing seasons, more handbags, more personal style…….

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It Must Be St. Nick!


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about…….more St. Nick! Christmas is such a magical time of year, full of faith and folklore. Some of my favorite childhood memories are of decorating Christmas cookies and checking off my list of Christmas shopping. I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I am a lifer…..shopper that is. By the time I was in fifth grade, I was the babysitter extraordinaire, earning lots of cash. Beaming with pride, I would take my Le Sport Sac purse, stuffed with five’s, ten’s and the occasional twenty, to do a little Christmas shopping for my family. By plane, train, or automobile (actually, via the bus or the El) I would hit my favorite haunts; Water Tower, the Century Mall or Six Corners (Irving-Milwaukee-Cicero), with my little brother, Ray, in tow.

Growing up, of course, we always anxiously awaited the arrival of Christmas. Over and over, we poured through the Sears Wish Book. It was like the Christmas gift list bible. Pages dog ear-ed, coveted toys, clothes and accessories (okay, my brother really only wanted the toys) circled and starred with exclamation points. Christmas morning was always so exciting! We would take turns opening our presents, saving the best for last; our Christmas stockings!

When Nick was a Kindergartener at Our Lady of Perpetual Donations, we learned of a tradition that was new to us; celebrating the Feast Day of St. Nicholas, December 6th. What’s not to like? The evening of December 5th, rather than neatly putting away their shoes like they normally do (not Ho, Ho, Ho, but Ha, Ha, Ha), the children leave out their shoes for St. Nicholas to fill with treats and trinkets. As a devoted special maker and shopper, this was a celebration that I could totally get behind!

At our house, St. Nicholas stuffs Nick’s and Amanda’s shoes with little treasures. First thing in the morning, they would race down the stairs, delighted by the magic and wonder of it all. There would be chocolate, gold foil coins, Christmas ornaments, wind up toys, Christmas movies, stuffed animals, action figures and the like. As they’ve gotten older, St. Nick brings CD’s, DVD’s, I-Tunes gift cards, Amanda gets girly accessories like headbands and earrings, and of course chocolates.

 

St. Nick comes for a visit.....

Last night, after we took Wrigley for a hot lap around the neighborhood and as we were heading up to bed, I wondered if we should call the kids back down to leave their shoes out for St. Nicholas? Chuck said, “Give me a break. Nick is 18. I think St. Nick can just leave their presents on the Kitchen counter.” He had barely uttered the words “Kitchen counter” when the kids came flying down the stairs, Amanda leading the charge. She exclaiming, “We almost forgot to leave out our shoes for St. Nick!” Apparently you’re never too old or too cool to be a kid at heart!  

More excitement, more treasures, more traditions, more magic of the season…….

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It Takes a Long Time To Grow An Old Friend…


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about…… more time with my gal pals! When your kids are little, you meet a million families, and as a parent, your hope is that your children make wonderful and lasting friendships. It’s a total bonus when you like the parents too. Well, when Nick began Kindergarten at Our Lady of Perpetual Donations Grammar School, I completely hit the jack pot. I met two amazing moms…..

We girls (and I consider us girls despite the milestone birthdays) did everything together with our kids. Of course they bounced around from house to house for play dates after school, but the real monkey business was reserved for those coveted days off.

I loved the fact that everyone was a gamer. Not a shrinking violet in the group. We would pack up for the day, hop on the train and enjoy all that the city had to offer. Amongst our (and by our, I mean the mothers) favorite spots were the Museum of Science & Industry and the Art Institute. A little learning, a little entertainment; what’s not to like? Though one such visit left the children bored to tears (real tears) so we salvaged the day and had one of our very best outings ever. We took the bus to Navy Pier and took a boat ride on the Sea-Dog (because Pluto’s a dog too……ruff!). What fun!

 

In the winter months, we were known to work up an appetite ice skating at Millennium Park. There’s something for everyone at the Food Life at Water Tower and you can never go wrong with dinner at Chicago favorite; Ed Debevic’s (and who doesn’t like to eat at Ed’s?). To me, there’s no better way to spend a summer afternoon than at the Friendly Confines. My furry son’s name is Wrigley, after all. These kids felt like big shots taking the Red Line, waiting for autographs and walking around the neighborhood.

While we always went to the Community Center pool, to the movies, out to eat and to seasonally fun outings such as the pumpkin patch, my very favorite annual tradition was sleeping over at a local hotel. We would arrive as soon as we could check in and head straight down to the pool, with our coolers full of snacks, beverages and cocktails. Who had time to get cleaned up and go to dinner when you could simply order a pizza to the pool deck? After dinner and a little more swimming, we would get cozy and comfy in our pj’s, break out the popcorn, and watch Pay per View movies (you know how much I adore Pay per View!), while the little girls had a blast doing spa treatments. In the morning the kids would swim again, after they enjoyed pancakes and hash browns, brought poolside, from Mc Donald’s.

The kids are all busy teenagers now, but we moms still get together for lunch, House-walks, shopping and birthdays. In fact, we celebrated a birthday with lunch in my home just yesterday (great new recipes coming your way next week!).

More shared experiences, more keeping up with old friends, more reminiscing…..

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Guilty Pleasures of the Suburban Housewife..


As the More is More Mom, I’m all about….more guilty pleasures! The life of a wife and mother is never truly your own; chef, short order cook, maid, washer woman, cleaning service, laundress, taxi cab driver, personal assistant, hair stylist, cruise director, party planner, tutor, therapist, referee, cheerleader, nurse. In other words: Indentured Servitude. From sun up, to sun down, it’s work, work, work; on call 24/7. I know. I know. It’s time to call the waa-mbulance…..

On the upside, if you’ve paid your dues and your pals are at school all day, is the possibility to sneak away and play hooky every now and again. There is nothing better than concocting a field trip with your girlfriends. We have been known to hop in our cars, or on the train, first thing in the morning and head into the city. A little shopping at Bloomingdales, Marshall Field’s on State Street or Water Tower (and who wouldn’t love that?) is a novelty. Lunching in the city is always a special treat. Otherwise I have been known to eat potato chips or Peanut M n M’s for lunch; hardly nourishing or completely satisfying. This fall we attended a lecture, by Barbara Glass, on the Top 10 Trends for Fall which was a blast!

There really aren’t that many activities that can be squeezed in, while ensuring a timely and safe return, before 2:15 p.m. Women are, however, a resourceful and creative breed. We still find a way to learn knew culinary techniques at cooking demonstrations. Spring fashion shows are always on our hit parade. Soul sisters take care of soul sisters, never dreaming of allowing a friend’s birthday to go uncelebrated. We live for celebrations. It breaks up our exposure to the noxious fumes of the cleaning supplies. In order to prevent our brains from turning to mush, we even belong to book clubs (and sometimes we even finish and discuss the book).

Though my favorite guiltiest of pleasures has to be morning movie madness! Yesterday, my book club girlfriends and I gathered at 10 o’clock in the morning, in one of the girls’ home theaters, to watch a movie. No, make that a film, because it was way more high brow than your average Hollywood fare. We have been HUGE fans of Swedish author, Stieg Larsson, and His Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Today we viewed The Girl Who Played with Fire, with subtitles, how do you like that for smart? 

There was coffee with pastries, quiches and fruit, and what movie going experience would be complete without popcorn and candy (even at 10 a.m.)?

More high brow entertainment, more time with the girls, more meaningful experiences….

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