Archive for the ‘Michelle’ Tag

oh becca & kenna, don’t you ever grow up. it could stay this simple.   Leave a comment

As I rode back from Midway Airport early Tuesday morning, I turned on the Becca & Kenna playlist that my weekend guests made me only to find myself crying happy tears as Never Grow Up by Taylor Swift played.  After spending a weekend with my 18-year old cousin, Becca, and her best friend, Kenna, I couldn’t help but wonder where the time went.  When did my little cousin grow up?  Is she really going to college in a few weeks?  And how is she old enough to be talking about boys with me?  As I pondered these questions, my mind when through a montage of memories from the previous weekend and how A*MAY*ZING it truly was. 

For those of you who don’t personally know me, led me shed some light on the events leading up to my guests’ arrival.  Last December, my cousin, Becca, traveled from Atlanta to perform with her high school band.  Spending limited time with Becca due to her travel schedule, I invited her back to Chicago (since she expressed her love for it!) during the summer after graduation/before college began.  She willingly accepted and we decided to extend the invitation to her best friend, Kenna, too. 

Last Saturday morning, I woke up early to venture down to Midway Airport to pick up the college girls!  To be honest, I had no idea what the weekend would entail but so excited to find out!

Somewhere on the train between Midway and our stop we decided to conduct a photo scavenger hunt over the course of the next three days.  The first photo taken was of the girls in front of the first Starbucks that their path crossed.  (Note: We ended up passing/seeing 15 and taking a photo at each.)  We eventually headed back to my apartment to change and get ready for lunch with our other cousin, Kelly, (who was also in town) and her friends.  After some pizza at Giardano’s and more photos, we embarked on some shopping on Michigan Avenue and a stop at Garrett’s for popcorn.  Shortly after we decided to call it an early night- since these ladies were up at 4 am ET!!- and headed home to watch a movie.

Sleeping in on Sunday morning, we began our day perfectly with Panera bagels and Starbucks coffee before venturing around the neighborhood towards a few destinations.  Just like the previous day, we had no set plans; however, the girls were really interested in finding the production company of (their crush), Glee’s Darren Criss.  Unfortunately they were (apparently) only in Chicago temporarily, but that didn’t stop us from taking photos in front of their one-time theater, as well as The Gap, which all Gleeks know as the place of Blaine’s serenation.  And since we were in the area, we headed over to Wrigley Field before taking a trip to Navy Pier.  Before we knew it, we  were hungry again and I knew just the place to take my guests: Wilde’s!   After a hearty meal at my favorite neighborhood bar/restaurant, we headed back to lounge around in our pjs and rest up for another day around town.

Following another breakfast of bagels & caffeine, the girls and I jumped on the train to visit two of my favorites: Michelle & Max!  After playing hard-to-get for a little while, the world’s most adorable toddler finally came around and enjoyed playing with his new girlfriends.  And boy did they love him!!  As Max opting for play time instead of nap time- who can blame him?- we headed off to Millenium Park to show the girls “The Bean”.  And while he was a little intimidated by it a few weeks ago, Max as entertained as any other tourist.  I think it’s safe to say that the girls have fun but mostly enjoyed being in the company of this little heart-throb. (Honestly, it’s impossible not to fall in love with him.  Surrender now.)  Lucky for us, our time with Max wasn’t over because the wonderful Michelle invited the girls & me over for dinner.  In my opinion it was the perfect end to the weekend.  There was just something so special about watching them play peek-a-boo with Max.  Especially Becca.  Having known her since she was a toddler and now watching her with another who is like family to me, I just had such an indescribable feeling come over me.

So this now takes us to the ride to the airport on Tuesday morning.  Thinking about last weekend makes me realize how simple life used to be when we were kids- even teenagers.  When did life get so complicated?  While I am thrilled for Becca & Kenna to begin the next chapter of their lives in college, I am also filled with reservations because I don’t want them to grow up and lose the innocence that I witnessed within them.  I want them to avoid all of life’s complications and cherish the little things.  I want them to live simply and simply live.  I want them to remain young at heart instead of cold from the harsh realities.  I want so much for them, but above all things I really just want them to be happy.  This past week I saw happiness shine through them and their friendship; and based on the lessons I’ve learned, that is something that should always be cherished.

*This post is dedicated to Becca & Kenna.  May you both always know that you have a second home in Chicago as well as a cousin/ friend forever.

you never know who you’re going to fall in love with. you never know who’s going to come into your life.   3 comments

There are no rules when it comes to love. I just try to let love surprise me because you never know who you’re going to fall in love with. You never know who’s going to come into your life – and for me, when I picture the person I want to end up with, I don’t think about what their career is, or what they look like. I picture the feeling I get when I’m with them.” (Taylor Swift)

After watching their adorable son for the day, my dear friends, Michelle & Bayard, delighted me in some good conversation over a late night dinner of Chipotle.  Somehow, unbeknownst to me, I became the third wheel on a trip down memory lane.  While Michelle has shared the details of their love story with me a few months ago, I was up for hearing Bayard’s version of the tale.  Although I enjoy being part of a couple’s reminiscing, I must admit that hearing it from two friends is probably the ideal situation (for me); and call me bias, but it’s even more favorable because I know that their Falling in Love in New York City led to their son, Max.  Having not known them years ago, it’s great to learn about their history and discover how it all began.  And not only that, I cannot begin explaining how adorable they were sharing even the tiny details on their first few meetings and how they finally knew that their Central Park outings were more than just a fling. 

Now instead of sharing the intimate details of this love affair, I will just extend this point that they made clear to me: You Never Know Who You’re Going to Fall in Love With. You Never Know Who’s Going to Come into Your Life. 

While waiting for the bus on Michigan Avenue, I caught eyes with another patient passenger.  No, sparks didn’t fly between us but this thought did go home with me: How do you know that you didn’t just see or walk past the (future) Love of Your Life? 

I, for one, am so ignorant when it comes to all things that can be categorized under Love.  For instance, if a David Beckham ringer walked past me, or even a group of DB-ringers, then most likely I wouldn’t have noticed…unless he was carrying a baby or walking a puppy.  In fact, I can assure you that there are dozens of times when friends have asked, “Did you just see that guy?!!”, and my response is always either, “Nope.” or “What guy?”.  I can still see the disappointment on Michelle’s face when I missed this one guy at CVS one morning, might I add, when I was holding her adorable son. 

Why am I going off on a tangent here- besides the obvious fact that it’s something I do best?  To be honest, I’m not quite sure myself.  I know that I had this epiphany a few months ago that may ring even truer (for me) today: I love being single, but I hate caring about someone.  My reasoning behind the ‘love being single’ part of this statement should be self-explanatory (and I don’t mean it in a hoochie way).  I mean who doesn’t love Answering to No One and Living Spontaneously with The Girls .  Not to mention the Unexpected Slumber Party on a Saturday Night is always nice too.

However, I will admit to cursing the single lifestyle a few times before (and maybe a bit now) because it’s not so enjoyable when you find yourself caring for someone who may not be caring for you in return.  But I can say that I’ve grown up a bit and no longer lose sleep stressing over this guy stuff (knock on wood) and instead I vent my emotions out over emails to friends and blog posts for any willing eyes to see.

Seriously though, I think that the best part about being single is Knowing that You’re Going to Fall Head-Over-Heels in Love with Someone Spectacular One Day.  That fact in itself is why I continue to love livin’ the single life, never knowing who’s going to come into my life. 

to one of the good guys-   Leave a comment

We really don’t give guys enough credit- the good guys, that is- do we?  Well that is about to change…

While my memories of Saturday night are a bit blurry, I do remember one particular moment that involved my friend, Bayard, who is by far one of the most A*MAY*ZING guys I’ve ever met.  (Bayard is also Michelle’s husband and Max’s dad.)  After a comment earlier in the night, I realized that I haven’t been fair to him lately- as both a friend and someone whom I adore for a multitude of reasons.  (His dedication to his family and friends as #1 and#2 respectively.)  So, while I HOPE that Bayard remembered our conversation-or at least part of it- I really want to make sure that from now on he knows how much I adore him because he is truly one of the good guys if not the epitome of ‘a good guy’.

So Bayard, if you just happen to stumble upon this I want you to know that I HOPE to find a guy like you one day.  I am so glad that you found a beautiful woman worthy of you.  You are definitely one of the best guys I’ve ever known and to be honest, you’ve given me a lot of faith that there are other good ones out there.  (Thank you.)

i heard that you’re settled down, that you found the girl and you’re married now. i heard your dreams came true, guess she gave you things i didn’t give to you.   Leave a comment

Being at the age of everyone is getting engaged, married, and/or having kids, Facebook keeps me quite aware of the relationship status of, well, everyone- including any of those guys from my past that I remain ‘Friends’ with.  If you want me to be honest, I will.  I will tell you that sometimes I roll my eyes thinking, “Really? They’ve only been together for a few months.”  And there are other times when I may think, out loud, “She is just one of those girls that always has to be in a relationship.”  But as I always say, What do I really know about any of this relationship stuff?

Okay, let’s get back on track here because this post isn’t about those girls.  This post is about the girl who may categorize herself as Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Bride.  The girl who celebrates her friends’ joy with her own excitement, but wonders at night When is it going to be my turn?”  Yes, this post is for you girls!

There was this guy in high school, Sean, who was an incredible guy.  In fact, even though I haven’t seen him in years, I know that he’s still an incredible guy.  As the story goes, he liked me in high school but I didn’t give him a fair chance.  Now he’s married and I wish his wife & him all the happiness in the world.

With Sean and a few others guys that once played a role in my life tumbling around in my mind, I started thinking…which is never a good thing for me ESPECIALLY when I’m not feeling well.  I quietly pondered these secret thoughts this weekend, but soon I found myself voicing them (about one boy specifically) to Michelle (and Max too) on a walk yesterday morning.  “I’m really okay with it.  But I guess I cannot help but wonder, ‘Why her? And why not me?'”  Michelle being A*MAY*ZING and always insightful answered perfectly, and most likely the same way I would have in roles were reversed.  But I wouldn’t be a girl if I still didn’t question what she has that I don’t. 

Thinking about Sean and any of those other guys from my past, I now see everything clearly.  Plain and simple, I just wasn’t the one for them. 

If you want me to, I’ll let my vulnerable side shine through here and admit that I’m one of those girls, too, that wonders, When am I not going to just another stop on someone else’s journey to finding true love?  Yes, being single gets old, and every relationship status change (on Facebook) elicits a little bit of frustration.  However here’s a fact that (us) Always a Bridesmaid girls tend to forget: One day it’s going to be your turn.  One day you’ll be the girl that makes a guy’s dreams come true. 

One day…maybe tomorrow…maybe next week.  Just know that one day, you’ll find him and he’ll find you.

it’s okay not to be okay.   Leave a comment

Yep, still not feeling well.  What is this? And when will to finally go away???  We’re hoping to rule out mono (pingers crossed), and trying treat it with lots of early bedtimes and gallons of OJ.  Honestly, I’m starting to believe that this really is a case of being run-down (and maybe a minor sinus infection). 

Over lunch with a colleague a few weeks ago I mentioned that I’ve been having a difficult time keeping dates & plans straight.  Sometimes I write the wrong month, and today the wrong year, but who doesn’t do that?  On Saturday night I confessed to Michelle that I’ve been a horrible friend lately, stressing out a bit over the with a list of missed calls & emails that continue to pile up.  I just don’t have the energy to even know where to start.  So, I’m going to rest and breathe.  I’m going to breathe a lot.  I’m going to rest up & take lots of deep breaths in order get back on my feet. 

See, here’s the other thing: When I’m exhausted- physically, mentally, and emotionally- I start to stress.  The negative thoughts start filling my mind.  I use to not know how to make them stop and therefore, I let myself be exhausted & stressed out.  But not anymore.  Now I know that in addition to hot tea & OJ, I need to rest up & takes lots of deep breaths.  I know that it’s okay not to be okay all the time, but I also know what to do to feel better. 

Two other things that I always prescribe myself in times like these are Good Friends and Kid Therapy.  Lucky me, I find both with one family: I love The Elfvins so much!  After a date night with Max on Saturday, I accepted Michelle & Bayard’s invitation to stay over and enjoy brunch with them the next day.  As I just told Michelle on the phone, it was the perfect morning.  Words cannot express what it means to me that I’m welcomed into their family.  Sunday morning was the best I’ve felt in a week; and while the food was great, I know that it was because of their company.  So again, my friends, thank you!  You definitely deserve an A*MAY*ZING. 

it’s the little things: friday, march 18, 2011   Leave a comment

It’s the little things in life.  I say this quite often and think it much, much more.  During a staff meeting (Oops!) I decided to dedicate more time on this little blog of mind making mention of the little things in my life that remind me how simple & precious life is.  So this is the first official post in my It’s the Little Things series, and I cannot think of a better post to begin with.

I spent last night on a date with my boo, Max, after giving his parents (my dear friends, Michelle & Bayard) a date night of their own.  After our usual evening of playing soccer around the building, eating dinner with Mickey’s Clubhouse on, and taking a bath (him, not me), Max’s adorableness decided to shine just around bedtime as he prevented me from covering his diapered-self with his pjs.  Instead of indulging into his bedroom routine of reading books, Max decided to play peek-a-boo/ hide-and-go-seek as he ‘hid’ behind his clothes in the closet.  I can still hear his little chuckle.  After ten minutes of that game, Max and I found ourselves laying on the floor of his bedroom laughing.  I ♥ Him So Much!

His parents came home shortly after and we all hung out for a little bit before I left this family spend the rest of their evening together.  I said my goodbyes to my friends and Max, who choose to capture my heart even more by planting a goodbye right on my lips.  (His dad was so proud.)

Thanks Max, and M & B too, for inspiring me to write my first It’s the Little Things post.  I’m sure you (all) will be the inspiration behind many more special moments in my life.  XOXO

the nanny diaries: my weekend with max   Leave a comment

“Oh, and when you figure out, Love is all that matters after all. It sure makes everything else, seem so small.” 

Carrie Underwood sang these words (to me) and captured my attention today as I rode the bus this morning on my way to our new work office (finally) in downtown Chicago.  I thought of Max.  I missed Max.  But I am so glad that his parents are back in town now because we both missed them soooooo much!! 

Actually that’s a perfect segue into what I want to say first.  Max’s parents, my dear friends, Michelle & Bayard, truly deserve an A*MAY*ZING.  Max is the well-mannered, kind-hearted, adventure-seeking, lovable little boy because of his parents have done such a remarkable job of raising him.  I’ve told them both this and will continue to do so, and my hope is that they really do believe me.  I feel blessed to have all three of them in my life and so grateful that Michelle & Bayard trusted me enough to look after Max this weekend.  They are most certainly family to me, now more than ever.  Seriously, Michelle & Bayard, and little Max too, thank you for welcoming me into your family!  Love you all!

Now, let me officially declare my love for little Max.  While this weekend was a rarity for the Single Girl in the City (aka Yours Truly), I worry that words will not accurately express how special this weekend was for me.  So please be aware that as I type this post, I have a huge smile on my face and a heart filled with gratitude for this experience.

Yesterday, on my final morning with Max, I called my mom and the first words out of my mouth were, “Okay, so you may very well get those grandchildren you’ve always hoped for.”  While all my friends (especially those with kids) joke that this was ‘the best form of birth control’, I must admit that it’s only temporary as I realize that I’m just not ready…yet.  For now I truly believe that my place is to continue my volunteer work and be in my friends’ kids lives.  Who the heck knows what my future holds, but for the first time in my life I really do believe that (my own) children could be a part of it.

This weekend with Max really was incredible, filled with smiles, laughs, hugs & kisses, and lots of running around.  I loved every moment of it!  This was certainly one of those precious times in life when one finds himself/herself perfectly content with where he/she is.  I felt like I was where I needed to be and, honestly, where I wanted to be too.  While we had our share of fun these last few days, my favorite moments with Max were when he let out that cry every morning that translated into “Kristen, I’m awake. Come get me. It’s time to play (and eat) again!”  And play we most certainly did.  With the help of Max’s other girlfriends- Sadie, Stef, Dina, and Lonni- we found ourselves playing A LOT this weekend.

We kept things simple on Friday, staying in other than a quick trip over to see Dina at the MAW staff for some ball playing.  Now staying in with Max means that we played a lot of soccer, ventured around many condo floors, watched many episodes of Mickey’s Clubhouse, and ate (literally) tons of food.  Now if that’s not the perfect Friday date, then I don’t know what is? 

However, Saturday was a completely different story as Max and I found ourselves venturing off to the suburbs to volunteer for Make-A-Wish with Dina and our new friend (another girlfriend of Max), Lonni.  Yes, Max was the Make-A-Wish mascot and hands-down the best looking, most irresistible boy there!!  Seriously, how adorable does he look in this tee-shirt?!   And while he certainly did his fair share of running around, I have to say that Max behaved himself quite nicely.  (Note: He is NOT drinking from that Coca Cola bottle in the photo.  He was just playing with it.)

I have to take the time here to thank Dina & Lonni for playing with us on Saturday.  Max was sooooo happy to flirt with 🙂 and I am so appreciative for their kindness in entertaining my little boo.

After a playdate on Saturday afternoon for Max with his girlfriend, Sadie, and my own lady date with Lonni and Dina, I headed back  to prepare of our slumber party with Stef.  Max was so happy to see his other girlfriend, Stef, and even welcomed her by showing off his Mickey Mouse balloon.  When the exhausted little man went to bed, Stef and I continued our catch-up session with girl talk and a mini-Keeping Up with The Kardashians marathon(because we can). 

Sunday finally came and we were ready to take Max out on a special date: To Shedd Aquarium.  Stef & I were so excited to take him and enjoy quality time with our little boo in one of the best places in Chicago.  Waiting in line outside worried me a bit but Max found it as a(nother) opportunity to play, forcing me to chase him around in circles.  (He’s a man of routine.) 

We finally made our way into the aquarium and Max began enjoyed all of the fishies and sea creatures.  We roamed around exploring the different sections, finally making our way to the sea otters and dolphin areas.  (Note: I could sit by that dolphin tank all day writing, and one day plan to.  It’s so peaceful.) 

Finally we found the penguins (!) and Max LOVED playing in the little play area- riding the slide and climbing through the tunnel.  Although, he sadly wouldn’t humor me by wearing the penguin outfit.  (Michelle, I tried just for you!)  Upon making our way upstairs for the dolphin show, Max got to ride in an elevator (Note: He loves elevators!) with a penguin!

Max enjoyed the dolphin show- and climbing up and down the 2-3 stairs in the aisle- but he was definitely getting tired.  Yep, Nap Time!  Max passed out in the stroller as we trekked back home for a quiet evening in…before Dad got home!  Max and I enjoyed our final date night (at least for now) by simultaneously watching Mickey Mouse (on my laptop) and The Oscars (TV).  He loved clapping along with the audience (!), but was not as happy when his bedtime rolled around.  Neither was I to lose my cuddle buddy; however, I got a surprise at 4 am when Max woke up.  I know he just wanted to make the best of our remaining time together.  Right, Max?  I cuddled with my boo as he watched Mickey on my laptop and I did my best to stay awake.  Fortunately, Bayard (Max’s dad) got home late that night and came to collect his little cub after hearing us around 6 am.  (Thanks again, Bayard.  I love your son tons but that extra sleep was certainly needed.)

Monday, Monday.  I made the Best. Decision. Ever. to take the day off and spend it with Max.  After having morning playdate with his dad, Max and I got ready to spend the day with our friend, Sadie.  The Wonderful Sadie who gave me a few hours of freedom to get myself showered and out of the sweats and run a few errands.  I missed Max but it was nice to remind myself of the actual Single Girl in Chicago lifestyle that I lead. 

After his nap, Sadie & I gathered up our boyfriend to meet Stef for a trip to… The Disney Store!!  We all had so much fun, but not as much as Max.  He literally ran around for an hour grabbing every stuffed Disney characters and bouncing ball within his reach.  He couldn’t have been any cuter, and truthfully, he was very well-behaved as a 1.5 year old could be in his version of a candy store. 

Eventually we had to burst Max’s bubble and head back home to prepare for the return of his parents.  I was so excited for this family’s reunion, as I know his parents missed him as much as he missed them. This is truly a beautiful family- inside & out- and I am honored to know them. 

Between you and me, everything is different now: From the moment my alarm goes off in the morning to the second I finally fall asleep at night.  Max changed me.  He opened my eyes to a new life in this big, bustling, windy city.  He’s calmed my world down; helped me focus more on the little things; and encouraged me to take more time for myself.  He has also inspired me to Be the Best Version of Myself that I Can Be, so that if I do become a mother (one day far, far away) that I Will Be Ready.  And until that fate, if it does happen, then I’ll play the roles that God’s granted upon me: Daughter, Sister, Relative, Friend, Volunteer, Leader, Max’s Girlfriend (lol), and Supporter to All of the Kids & Families I find myself working with.

This post is dedicated to The Elfvin Family: Thank you, Max, Michelle & Bayard for this unbelievable experience and letting me be a part of your lives.