Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tuesday Travel Snapshot-Peace and Tranquility

Why a road sign?  This picture may not mean much to anyone else, but to me I look at it and am transported. Taken back to two weeks ago when I was relaxing with a book in my hand at my campsite on Big Arbor Vitae Lake. I passed this sign everyday when I went for my 2 mile stroll.

For one week every July since my daughter Megan was about 3 years old, we have joined my parents on their yearly trip to first northern Michigan then northern Wisconsin. This has been a yearly ritual for me since I was about a month old.  

The first years Megan and I joined my parents were filled with days at the beach, day trips all over northern Michigan, and a trip to Mackanaw Island
. These last couple of years, now that Megan is a teenager,  are more relaxing since she likes to just stretch out on the zero gravity lounger like Mom and read. About the only time she leaves is to go fishing with Grandpa after supper till after dark, then their traditional dish of post fishing ice cream after. 

So this picture takes me back to peace and quiet. I think everyone has that picture they look back on and are taken back to a peaceful time of their life. It can be a travel snapshot or maybe even a picture of a flower grown in the backyard. 

What's yours?

Monday, July 21, 2014

"Mom, You're So Weird!"

I wrote this little piece last week on vacation. I was trying to find a way to communicate to my daughter what she means to me even though at times having a teenage daughter can be uh um interesting.  I know it's a little different from my other posts, but parenting is a journey and one that I am grateful to be experiencing! I just wanted to share.

"Mom, you're so weird" is a phrase I hear daily out of my 15 (soon to be 16) year old daughter. Unfortunately I do not agree with her at all. I think I'm a pretty cool mom. I think I dress okay, meaning I would never be caught dead going to Wal Mart in pajama bottoms. I love to shop, wear makeup, have an open mind concerning pre-martial sex, birth control, and same-sex marriage. I love to travel and experience the world and I love to read. The latter being the no #1 pastime of said daughter.

None if this means anything to her! Honestly when I found out over 16 years ago I was going to have a daughter and knowing by choice that this was going to be my only shot at parenthood, I was overjoyed! I dreamed of a close Mother-Daughter relationship that was all hugs and kisses. A relationship where she would come to me with every question and problem and in my infinite wisdom I could offer advice and a good shoulder to cry on.

So far it has not worked out that way....

I think in the back of every mother's minds this is what they dream of.

As a child my daughter was headstrong. She used to have temper tantrums to shake the heavens, but then come cuddle with you. She would spend hours playing with dolls and didn't mind being alone.

She was always a daddy's girl who wanted to spend all her time with him and liked everything he did. Even at this age, she has maintained this special bond with him. This was always something I was thankful for. There is something to be said of a solid Father-Daughter relationship. It is widely known that if your daughter has a loving, involved father figure in her life when she is young, it will be a model for strong healthy relationships with men in the future. If her strong relationship with Dad follows that statement, I have nothing to worry about!

On the other hand-relationships between mother and daughter are one of the most complex and complicated.

Those toddler temper tantrums may be a thing of the past, but to replace that are these teenage mood swings (aka teenage temper tantrums) that leave me to believe she is from another planet. Also don't get me started on that glare that can only make me want to duck for fear of a dagger passing over my head. Actually I have felt my hair move already! True story! Plus who can forget the ever popular eye roll.

On occasion her true self comes through and she has an incredible sense of humor (as her tweets clearly show), and a mind of her own where she does not go along with the crowd, she's artsy and has a great style all her own, plus she stands up for herself.

Honestly as many times as she says I am weird or she locks herself in her room when I am trying to talk to her or get her to do something, my love for her never waivers. I never feel the need to tell her I hate her like my mom told me once. I love spending time with her going shopping (which she is not a fan of-totally unlike me), camping when it's just us two, watching movies (we both love movies), and listening to her on the rare occasion when she wants to fill me in on her life.

So she can call me weird anytime she likes. There came a point where I thought my mom was weird too and I am waaaay cooler than my mom ever could be!! I know this for a fact since all my friends(and her friends too) think I'm cool.

I love her to death and secretly hope when she gets asked out on her first date it will be me she tells first (highly unlikely, but that's my fantasy) and when she gets her heart broken for the first time, she will cry her eyes out on my shoulder and maybe for a single moment she won't think I'm so weird.

Yes, having a teenage daughter can be trying at times, but I consider myself lucky and only have to deal with the trivial stuff. It could be a whole lot worse. I guess I may never have that " I think my Mom is the greatest" kind of relationship with my daughter, but maybe someday my hope is she will just look at me and say "Mom, I think you pretty cool and I love you"

Please note: I am an incredibly patient person. I have to be.....

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Taste Of Chicago Weekend

One if the things that has been on my list of things to do for many years has been going toTaste Of Chicago. It always conflicted with our camping week, so it was never really an option. This year though I decided to leave for camping on Monday and spent the weekend in my favorite US city eating some awesome food at Taste with my BFF Becky and my daughter Megan.

Oh, was I glad we didn't make it a day trip! When we arrived by train on Saturday, we were greated with a major downpour of rain. Even though we came prepared with umbrellas, just the run from the overhang in the front of the station to the cab left us soaked! 
We waited at the hotel for the rain to subside. It didn't take long to end and we walked over to the site of Taste only to find that it had been cancelled due to the rain!! Disappointing as this was, we decided the only logical thing to do was to hit the stores.
Several hours later and a few dollars poorer, we took the red line up to see Blue Man Group. Fabulous show which I highly recommend!

Sunday we woke to news that yes, Taste would be going on. After meeting my friends Erin and her Sister Robin at Wildberry by Millenium Park for breakfast (I seriously recommend this place for the most mouthwatering pancakes ever. Just be prepared to wait! No reservations accepted), we walked over to Taste and bought our tickets for sampling the food. The bad thing was after such a great breakfast, we knew we were not going to be very hungry.

It turned out to be a hot humid day but that didn't stop us from sampling some awesome food. My favorite was the truffle fries, and the yummy creme brûlée cupcake from Chicago Cupcake. If you've never had one before, it's a cross between a cupcake and cheesecake. Fabulous. We also stood in line to get the free piece of cheesecake from the ginormous Eli's cheesecake. I had to get my picture taken with their mascot!!

It was hot and crowded so after a couple of hours we had enough. After the disappointment in Saturday, Sunday more than made up for it. 

As always it was a fun weekend even with the rain putting a little damper on Saturday, but all in all we didn't care. I got my fill of great food and another thing crossed off my bucket list!