Looking back on my first Mother’s Day

Maternity leave, which was so snuggly and warm and boring, is over. I’m back at work as a copywriter, meaning I have to shower and get dressed and hope Wilder doesn’t throw up down my shirt in the baby carrier on our mile walk to daycare. But he usually does, which results in a wet bra and a sour smell that lingers unless I take my shirt off in the work bathroom and wash the milk out before it dries.

But once Wilder is cooing happily with his daycare crew and I can confirm whether the wetness in my bra is sweat or puke, I stroll to the Blue Line (this is the most peaceful 10 minutes of my entire day, so I generally try to walk as slowly as possible) and I daydream about the buckets of coffee I’m going to chug the minute I jump off the train.

Starbucks, I love you. Peach & Green, I love you. Burnt-tasting drip coffee in the office, I even love you, too, especially when the day starts at 5 a.m. with a baby who’s discovering that, yes, he has a voice, and yes, it’s loud.

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But when I’m home, hanging out with my family – it still feels weird to say that, even after four months – the pace is much slower. There’s less screen time, more time spent outside exploring our Ukrainian Village neighborhood, more daytime naps and way more time spent in PJs. The Hollie and James who used to love traveling and packing the schedule as full as possible are now homebodies … and we like it.

My first Mother’s Day was laid-back, despite my having a fever and sore throat I likely picked up from some sick daycare kid somewhere in the mix. James had this same sickness the week before, so it’s only fair I had it next. On Mother’s Day.

James gave me the greatest Mother’s Day gift (next to Hamilton tickets, which I got as an early Mom’s Day surprise because I am married to the greatest human on the planet): A morning free of Wilder’s 5 a.m. wakeup. Pure fricking bliss. Seriously, you don’t know how amazing sleep is until it’s gone, and at that point, you’re too delirious to remember life before you became a zombie.

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We did our usual weekend stuff: Walks around the ‘hood in the stroller, lunch to go from the Goddess and Grocer, a picnic in Wicker Park, sunburned shoulders because I forgot what life is like when it’s not freezing cold. It was a really, really good day.

And yeah, we had an overtired meltdown in the park. And yeah, a weird guy told us his life story during our picnic. And yeah, there was baby puke down my shirt. But it was a really perfect first Mother’s Day, and I’m pretty darn happy to be a mom, especially when we’re lucky enough to catch these little moments on camera.

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There’s going to be a day I miss the baby barf. Maybe.

Happy belated Mother’s Day to all the moms out there, whether you have kids in your arms, bellies or hearts. It’s not easy, nor is it clean. But it sure is rewarding.

Lazy girl recipe: 15-minute Modern Table Meals

My first Lazy Girl Recipe was a hit, so I decided to post another … only THIS one’s even easier, because it comes in a package.

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OK, I know what you’re thinking: A packaged dinner doesn’t really count as cooking. Well maybe to you, but in my world, if you measure some stuff and bring it to a boil, IT COUNTS. And FYI, it counts for double – sometimes even triple – if you’re sick/pregnant/a new parent/living in a construction zone. I’m all about justifying Lazy Girl Recipes, even if they do come in a package.

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Our situation: I was pregnant, hungry all the time, with a torn-up kitchen. We were doing dishes in our BATHROOM SINK, for crying out loud.

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Understandably, the last thing I wanted to do after work was cook, and the other last thing I wanted to do was a mountain of dishes in the bathroom. And so, we kept it simple – and healthy! – with Modern Table Meals. The pasta is made of LENTILS, you guys. If that’s not healthy, I don’t know what is.

Step 1: Open the bag. Brush the construction dust off the stovetop and boil those lentil noodles with the accompanying veggies. Stare at cute cat atop butcher block island.

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Step 2: Open the powdered sauce packet. Mix it with some oil and water.modern table meal - fancykins 7

Step 3: Pardon the construction dust. Drain the lentil noodles, then mix the boiled stuff with the sauce you just mixed.modern table meal - fancykins 8

Step 4: Serve on high-class paper plates to avoid doing more dishes in the bathroom. Best with a fancy side of buttered bread, a hammer and a drill.modern table meal - fancykins 9 modern table meal - fancykins 10

That is seriously it. Dinner’s served in just 15 minutes, you’ve suppressed your hunger in a healthy manner, it actually tastes good, and you’ve barely messed up the construction zone … I mean kitchen. And you don’t even need a working sink to do it!

Have you ever tried Modern Table Meals? Don’t run out and buy them for full price just yet – download Target’s Cartwheel app and keep your eyes peeled for a sale. Just a few weeks ago, they were just $1.83 EACH with the Cartwheel discount! Healthy, cheap, fast, delicious … seriously, if you don’t grab a few of these as pantry backups, you’re not living your best life.

What are YOU having for dinner tonight?

OMG! Enter to win a YEAR of free meals + manis

These days, there are a few things I wish I had in unlimited supply: Uninterrupted sleep. Time to do stuff around the house. The ability to do my hair and makeup with one arm while holding a squirming (and sometimes screaming) baby. The motivation and self-confidence to wear real pants.

As much as we wish we had the time and ability to check everything off our lists while still looking presentable, it’s just not always possible. Babies don’t seem to get the memo to take a nap so we can put on a moisturizing mask, or wash our hair, or even cook a dinner that wasn’t once frozen in a box.

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Time is valuable … but our well-being is, too, which is why I am SO INCREDIBLY EXCITED to tell you about the Year of Free Meals and Manicures Contest from PrettyQuick and Radish, two apps that make my life infinitely easier and lots more enjoyable. Download them now, thank me later.

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One lucky winner will receive a year of manicures and meals from PrettyQuick and Radish, which is valued at more than $1500. Go – seriously, GO RIGHT NOW – to the Meals and Manis page and enter your email address in the box.

That’s it! It couldn’t be easier to gain entry for a year’s worth of YOU time.

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What would winning this contest mean? It would mean more of the confidence-boosting beauty treatments you’ve probably avoided because you’re too tired and busy. More opportunities to eat healthy without the hassle. And, most importantly, more time to give your drooling baby (or, you know, your non-drooling partner) a billion kisses instead of scouring the pantry for tonight’s dinner.

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The contest runs through April 14, but you really shouldn’t wait to enter – it’s easy enough to do when you’re toting around a baby and when you’re sleep-deprived. And while you’re at it, download PrettyQuick (use referral code FANCYKINS for a free manicure) or see what’s on the menu over at Radish. Oh man, there’s just something about Chicago apps that gives me the warm-fuzzies, and these are two of the absolute best.

I mean, who doesn’t want to make their life easier and a billion times more enjoyable? Someone who doesn’t enter this contest, clearly.

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Oh, I almost forgot to tell you the best part! The PrettyQuick weekly credit will roll over each week and can be used toward any service on PrettyQuick. Do you know what that means? You can treat yourself to all the most incredible, luxurious, decadent beauty treatments this side of the Mississippi.

What would YOU get if you won an ENTIRE YEAR of services? Oh man. I can hardly think about it without getting giddy.

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