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Want to see just how crazy bored I was 8 months pregnant?

I had about 250 of these made.Anyone need a koozie?

Next: Childhood

I kind of don’t know where to begin with this post.

If you are really into food, feel free to read on, and if you don’t so much care just scroll down to the pictures to see some pretty amazing stuff.

So y’all all know by now that I favor the whimsical and nostalgic, I mean I had a Willy Wonka themed wedding after all.

And if you have been around for awhile you also may have read about my admiration for a one Chef Achatz. He is the chef that inspired me to sous vide our turkey for Thanksgiving last year.  Having just finished his book, Life On The Line (read it) there is a lot I could say about him. BUT in the interest of heading down the get along road, his restaurant in Chicago Alinea is rated the best restaurant in the USofA and 7th in the world. He trained classically under Chef Keller at The French Laundry for years, and did a stage at El Bulli (the long reigning #1 Best Restaurant in the world), before starting Alinea in Chicago. His food while very much his own, is somewhere between TFL’s high end contemporary French-American, and El Bulli’s way out there pioneering “molecular gastronomy”- for lack of a better word.

 I feel kind of ridiculous to even be adding to this dialogue because I know so little about FOOD and these people are all like the ultimates.

MANYWAY

Chef Achatz latest venture is Next. A restaurant that completely reinvents itself every 3 months to represent a different place and time. The first iteration was Paris 1906- for which Chef’s Achatz and Beran studied the cookbooks of Auguste Esoffier and Cesar Ritz at the opening of the Paris Ritz in 1906, the next was Thai street food, and now it is Childhood.

Aka my dream. And after major persistence I got tickets to dinner for Saturday night when we were in Chicago for Thanksgiving. If you can’t tell I am having trouble describing what this all is, so I will just let the pictures speak for themselves.

First course

The peanut butter and jelly amuse.

Second course

Chicken Noodle Soup- The noodle was actually made out of chicken.

Third course

Fish and Chips.

Fourth Course

Mac n’ Cheese being presented

The garnishes around the edge are all things you might mix in with your mac. Tomato seeds, shredded manchego, noodles soaked in the oil from the seed that normally gives cheddar cheese its flavor and color.

Fifth Course

Fall in the woods. This was our favorite and I am still not entirely sure what it was. Leeks, mushrooms, lots of yummy crispy vegetables.

Served on a hollowed out log stuffed with fragrant leaves and set on fire so that the smokey smell of leaves burning in the Fall surrounds you. So cool.

Sixth Course

Deconstructed happy meal hamburger

Seventh CourseServed in actual vintage lunch boxes

Inside was a thermos with a sort of grape wine juice, oreo, chocolate banana pudding, jerkey, fruit roll up, and funion.

And, of course, a note from mom.

Eighth Course

Foie-Sting. Foie Gras frosting and donut holes

Final

S’mores. The “coals” are sweet potato infused with a blue corn syrup and sprinkled with a flammible vanilla liquor powder or something. I don’t know, it was incredible.

All the while during the meal playing the dining room were the musical scores from the best childrens movies (think Up and Jurassic Park). The service was completely unstuffy and and fun, yet perfectly executed. My favorite thing about both Alinea and Next beyond the delicious and mind blowing food, is that in my experience, it is devoid of snobbery. These are unquestionably two of the best restaurants in the world and no matter how old you are or how you look they treat you like you deserve to be there.

Even though you can tell that they take what they do very seriously, there is nothing overly serious about the experience. It is fun and joyful and delicious.

The only thing I am upset about is that my husband wouldn’t let me dress up in costume for the experience. Buzzkill. Although. Now that I think of it…my, um, more mature? post-pregnancy figure might have looked insane dressed as a child in the midst of Chicago winter.

So on second thought, thanks for looking out Pete!

Furbish for Gracie

A few weeks ago I emailed Jamie of Furbish/ISuwannee asking her to please please please furb me up the perfect thing for Gracie Girls bedroom. The sides of her bed were looking a bit sparse and sad. And like the magical wizard of style she is, this is what she proposed.

Yes.

Look how cute they look with all of Gracie’s most precious things.

On the top there are some pink cowboy boots given to her by her sweet godmother, a madame alexander cowgirl doll my grandmother gave me, my childhood Eloise book and doll.

Pink cowgirl hat also from her godmother, dorothy doll, my childhood Madeline books Oeuf Eiffel Tower & Madeline doll, and then a framed copy of her cute birth announcement. 

I just love being in her room surrounded by all her special things, and things that I loved growing up. I can’t wait for her to understand the books and play with her toys. And completely jack up the lovely little displays I have made that I am fully aware will succumb to toddlerness in a mere blink.

Also, I am aware that these iphone pics aren’t cutting it. I am working on getting the place properly photographed to show you guys soon!

Gratitude.

Last year we hosted our family for our first Thanksgiving.

And found out we were pregnant the next day.

I remember clearly the feeling welling up inside me when I saw that positive pregnancy test. Pete and I were so giddy we just kept laughing and looking at each other saying, “What!?”

My heart has expanded in ways I could not have imagined. I am so full of gratitude for my beautiful baby and for our journey and for all of the people who carried us through our tough time. I am thankful for our health and hers. I am thankful for my husband who is the best daddy and partner. I am thankful for Gracie’s cheeks, her expressive eyebrows, crazy hair, big beautiful eyes, and especially for the fat roll on her forearms.It is ridiculous and perfect.

I am trying to get away from the personal on here a bit…

But I want to share this with you in case any of you are going through a hard time. 

This was such a sad night in the NICU. My heart hurts looking at this picture and remembering the pain and the fear I felt.

It was such a tough six months. There were many many times we were warned she wouldn’t make it.

And she is perfect.

Even the worst situations can become truly wonderful in ways you cannot imagine. I know that not everyone is so lucky, and I pray every day for those who are not. But Gracie gives me such hope.

Gratitude is not enough to express.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

This is probably not news…

…To anyone who does not have a baby attached to their person at all times.

But just in case you didn’t know, I wanted you all to be made awares of this.

It rocks my face off.
The whole concept of Beyonce and JayZ is tricky for me.

Tricky in that it brings up some kind of unfortunate and hysterical parts of my personality. Is it almost too much for anyone else? That they exist? And are so badass? And that they love each other so much? It overwhelms me.

Also, their baby will be in Gracie’s grade.

I’m just saying.