July 2012 archive

You Should Know Me (apparently).


Over the summer a local web site run said I was a woman you should know and featured this piece in the month of July.  Its a great site and resource to the community so I was honored.  Not only that, this distinction gave my husband a lot of joke material.  Here’s some of the information they shared:

NAME: Carissa 
FAMILY: Husband, Chris; kids, age 8, 4 and 22 months, plus, a daughter (born/deceased 2006), 
PLACES YOU LOVE TO VISIT IN TOWN:
> Burns Field….I love its consistency and how it helps me mark the seasons with the ice rink and lighted paddle courts in the winter, buzzing playground and practices in the spring, busy camps and tennis courts in the summer and football team conditioning and sounds of the locusts in the fall.  (and its really fun to meet up with another family there in the evenings and order a pizza to the park for dinner).
> Fullersburg Woods…it’s so great to hike, bike, run or explore there.
> I-294…I love this town, but I also love getting out of Dodge and traveling.  If I’m on I-294 it means I’m on a roadtrip to my home state of Ohio or to O’Hare for a vacation.
> Finally, two of my favorite, quiet spots in town….the rocks under the trees near the Living Classroom at my son’s elementary school.  My kids love to picnic there with friends or just ourselves.  And the best place in town…my front porch!  Sitting in an Adirondack chair with a glass of wine on one side and a good friend and conversation on the other side.
SINCE MOVING TO TOWN, WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU’VE DEVELOPED THE MOST FRIENDSHIPS?
We chose this town because of its walkability.  The best thing I did was get out of my car as much as possible and walk to various things around town (I have to remind myself of this now).  When we first moved here I remember not knowing a soul so I loaded my son up in his stroller, opened the Village parks map and picked the farthest park I could find.  I walked there and back just hoping to meet a friend along the way.  You can’t help but bump into people and strike up a friendly conversation when you’re out and about.
Over time casual initial friendships formed on the sidelines of kids’ sporting events, committee work and preschool/elementary school pick-up/drop-off areas.  I met one of my best friends, who is now not just a Mommy-friend but a life-friend, at a toddler class through the Parks and Rec program.  
Growing those casual relationships to a deeper level requires a bit more effort but I was able to do so by running with fellow moms on Saturday mornings (nothing like bonding over a good workout and sweat).  As a couple we found ways to connect with other parents outside of school by doing things that make us laugh like whirleyball, bowling, fun adventures in the city or playing Euchre in someone’s garage.  I also found a book club and moms-night dubbed MLH (Mothers Little Helper), which is just an excuse to get together one evening a month without kids.
Don’t be afraid to reach out.  It took me too long to realize that everyone else was looking to make friends just as much as I was.  That and I think the big key for us is keeping it all low-maintenance and making it about the friendships, laughter and conversation…..not the fancy attire or venues!
AS A BUSY MOM OF THREE, WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER WHEN HAVING A STRESSFUL DAY?
Keep it in perspective and have a healthy sense of humor!   We all only get one childhood and I’m privileged enough to accompany my children through theirs.  But with that privilege comes responsibility.  No doubt, they’re maniacs and they make me bonkers….but I try to do what I can to keep their childhood magical for them by recognizing how funny it all is and being aware of those special life moments or memories-in-the-making that are presented to us everyday.
LOOKING BACK ON LIFE NOW, WHAT DO YOU THINK HAS BEEN THE MOST VALUABLE LESSON YOU’VE LEARNED AND WHY?
Life may not go exactly according to plan, and life may not be perfect.  But if you embrace it and just go with it, it can still be perfectly wonderful!
WHEN YOUR CHILDREN GO OFF TO COLLEGE, WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU MOST HOPE THEY’VE LEARNED FROM YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND?
Be grateful. Be happy.  Be nice….be nice, to everyone.  Play hard and….give.  Whatever it is, give it your all.  Give forward, give back, give of yourself and give to yourself.
WHAT SUGGESTION WOULD YOU GIVE TO A WOMEN IN THE WORKING WORLD PREGNANT WITH THEIR FIRST CHILD?
All of that time you spend working crazy hours, making lists, eating dinners from a vending machine, juggling multiple projects and negotiating your way through various personalities….it may not always feel like it, but you really are conditioning your work ethic and fine tuning your skills like resiliency and flexibility…..and that’s perfect training for motherhood!