This post is a bit late because this road trip happened New Year’s weekend, but I still wanted to do it because we LOVED Detroit. Taking little impromptu day or overnight trips is one of our favorite ways to really disconnect from the stresses of everyday life and spend some quality time together as a family. We have done Pittsburgh a few times and Columbus, but this was our first venture to Detroit. I didn’t know what to expect really based on the reputation the city has, but being a Clevelander I know all about unfair reputations, so I was ready to give the Motor City the benefit of the doubt. And…it did not disappoint. We were there less than 24 hours total but we had a great time. We rented a beautiful Air B&B apartment in the hip little neighborhood of Corktown. Only downfall was sharing a full size bed with a 2 year old. I woke up once during the 3 hours of sleep I got with my head on the floor, no joke. We mostly ate and went to coffee shops, which is the best part of traveling anyway, right? Although we didn’t spend much time in the heart of Downtown it looked beautiful and clean. I would love to go back in the summer and walk around more. Detroit reminds me very of much of Cleveland like 10 years ago. The surrounding neighborhoods are starting to gentrify, but still have a way to go before they catch up to the growth we’ve seen from areas in Cleveland like Tremont, Ohio City, Gordon Square and so on. All in all, I definitely want to go back. It’s an easy drive and a great little get-a-way.
Where we ate:
Ottava Via (The truffle butter pasta is a MUST!)
Gold Cash Gold (This is the hip brunch place, but my food was meh. Maybe I just didn’t order well.)
Where we drank:
Astro Coffee (The wall murals and plant life will have you swooning.)
Anthology Coffee (The open bar concept is pretty neat. You can stand next to the barista while he makes your coffee.)
We didn’t drag our asses out to a Christmas tree farm, but we did drag them to our local Whole Foods to get one becuase Charlie said they looked “healthier” than the ones at Lowe’s, which is of course what Whole Foods wants you to think about everything they sell. I was pretty excited about this becuase we haven’t had a real tree in several years. I just really wanted Des to experience the whole buying and putting up a real tree thing, plus Charlie spends like 2 hours every year fiddling with the same strand of broken lights on the fake tree and I was over it. We spent a whole Sunday decorating the outside of the house (for the first time!) and the tree. This included 3 separate trips to Target becuase I got exactly half the lights we needed for everything. And while I love the look of classic white lights, if I was a 2.5 year old, I would want colors, so that’s what we did. You only have so many years with the excuse to be tacky. There’s plenty of time to be classy when you’re old.
Don’t judge our hideous front steps. We thought we could pressure wash the paint of the beautiful natural bricks and instead we made the steps crumble and sprayed lines in the concrete.
I have a shameful confession to get off my chest that you may want to sit down for. If given the choice, I don’t think I would want to be a stay at home mom. GASP. You horrible woman, how could you not want to spend every waking minute with your child, never missing a single smile or a bowel movement? Don’t get me wrong. If that’s your jam, than more power to you. I bow down, I really do. But for me it’s a really scary thought. When I became a mom, it was the best thing that every happened to me. But it completely turns your world upside down. You give everything to this tiny human and at the same time it can feel like you are losing little parts of yourself. As the matriarch of a household you’re often putting yourself last and taking care of everyone else. While the thought of my son being in daycare for 10 hours a day 5 days a week practically drowns me guilt, I know that it’s good for both of us.
Every person and every mom is different. For me, I need to have one foot in each world. I need to stay grounded to something outside of being a mom and a wife. That balance is what helps me to better mom and wife. It forces me to be hyper present for the mornings/nights and weekends that we’re together. It pushes me to make the most of our time. It’s easier to take a moody toddler or a melt down with a grain of salt when you’re not bitter about having to deal with it alone day in and day out. When he’s super clingy I’m flattered instead of annoyed. And I know he thrives at school. He’s learning and socializing without me having to feel of pressure of getting him to play group or music class or some other organized activity every day. I think it makes me a more relaxed mom too. Because our time is valuable, I find myself more likely to break the rules. It’s ok if he stays up a little later or its ok if we have a spontaneous ice cream outing even though I know I’ll pay for it 10 mins later with an epic sugar rush. I think these special moments are what will stick with him. I don’t think he’ll ever worry about what he missed out on while I was working.
Do I wish I could set my own hours or work half days or maybe have three-day weekends every week? Of course I do! But financially this is the way it has to be. But we’re both doing ok with our current circumstances. I know this because of the smile he gives me when he runs across the room and into my arms. I know it because of the snuggles he gives me before bed. I know it because I can already tell he’s turning out to be a happy, lovable, curious and hysterical human being. And thankfully my pride in that always overcomes whatever irrational guilt I’m feeling.
One of our special 1:1 weekend outings hiking in the metroparks:
Lots of great things come in black and white. Dalmatians, zebras, bathroom floors, the black and white cookie (but only the good kind from NYC). I could also live in black and white stripes pretty much. But, I’m usually more drawn to color when its comes to clothes for Des. Lately though, I am kind of digging the monochromatic look. Gray, black and white pieces are also great wardrobe staples because they can be mixed with each other, brights, neons, pastels, prints, whatever. Here’s a round-up of some of my personal faves. Some of this stuff is even from H&M and Target, so save those dolla dolla bills ya’ll $$$.
         
Saying that becoming a mother has changed me is a gross understatement. It’s completely changed me in ways I really didn’t expect. My husband loves to point them all out, because even sometimes he’s just in disbelief. Before having Desmond I was very easily flustered by stressful situations. I’m a planner by nature and if something didn’t go as I imagined it, well I could be known to have a melt down that could rival any two year old. Like if I got lost driving somewhere new, I would pretty much call Charlie in tears and make his problem to get me un-lost. Or if I couldn’t find something to wear in the morning, I would stomp around my closet saying I have no clothes, when that’s obviously not true. But now? Well, having a baby is like someone forcing a chill pill down your throat every single day. Your universe shifts and suddenly you have a new perspective on pretty much everything. Things that you thought were so important become afterthoughts. You are put into challenging situations on a daily basis and you have to put up or get out. Except it’s not really a choice. You have to put up. This new version of myself got tested on Saturday morning, big time. I finally got to take Des to the Cleveland Museum of Art for what I pictured to be a blissful and culture filled morning where we would bond and snap photos with the good camera in the light flooded atrium. What really happened? Twenty minutes into playing in the kids area, he blew out his diaper. Poop up to his neck, I’m not kidding. I meant to bring extra clothes because I knew his antibiotics was giving him stomach troubles, but for sure I would forget them on this particular day. Ok, not going to panic. Let’s just walk calmly to the restroom past all this fine art and hope no one smells you. Ok, now please stop jumping up and down so I can get this shirt off without getting poop in your hair. What? I only have three baby wipes? Ok, cool let’s wet some paper towels real quick. Now lets rinse out the top of your jeans and this zip up jacket is going to look awesome with out a shirt on underneath. Why is it so hot in this bathroom? Is this cardigan wool? I’m breaking a sweat. Can you stand in this stall with me while I pee? Oh, ok go ahead and lay on the floor, that’s super. We should probably just go home. No, F-It, we paid $8 for parking. We are going to play in the atrium and eat lunch at the café. Well actually I am going to eat both of our lunches and you’re just going to eat pretzels. I don’t even recognize myself right now. I guess when you become a mother, you are forced to realize that shit happens, but it doesn’t have to ruin your day.
It’s been a loooong time since we’ve done any roadtripping. Why? Becuase once you say good-bye to the guaranteed to sleep in the car seat the whole way phase, the thought of the being trapped in a car with a toddler for any extended period of time phase is terrifying. Columbus seemed like a fairly safe destination to dip our toes back in the water. Not too far and somewhat familiar. Plus one my best friends lives there, plus we’ve been dying to check out Fox in The Snow, plus the model train show with a ride-on Thomas the Tank Engine was in town. Sold. We did it and it went seamlessly. Des slept most of the way there and got in his nap and he perfectly pleasant most of the way home. Fox and the Snow was delightful; its such a beautiful coffee shop. And the train show? Well it was worth the Thomas which resulted in a melt down because “what?, i can’t just stay on this ride all day?”. No Des, other parents have waited in line for 45 mins to watch their kids go around in a 30 second circle, so we have to share.
Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays. Probably because we love food too much. Even though our house is small, we love hosting it. Usually it’s a small group, but this year we had 11 people! To preserve our sanity we had most of the sides catered by Lucky’s Cafe or brought by family. We cooked the turkey and a few other things. I have to say, however, that I was most proud of my appetizer spread. I wanted to do something more rustic with cheeses and cured meats. We do our Thanksgiving shopping at Whole Foods even though it’s far away. They just have the best selection of decadent food. Especially cheese!! I won’t tell you how much we spent, but let’s just say this spread was indulgent. I break down the components for you below. I also had a lot of fun carving out mini pumpkins left over from Halloween into little vases for the flower centerpieces. In one of my next lives I would love to be a florist! Being surrounded by family that we don’t get to see often made this Thanksgiving an extra special one that I’ll always remember!
Annual Thanksgiving family pose tradition.
Turkey garnished with clementines.
Runner and hedgehog S+P shakers from Target.