What’s Empowering About Mall Walking With A Baby

I took my daughter Eileah to the mall late this morning because our household was in desperate need of hand soap. My husband really likes the pump soaps from Bath and Body Works, so the mall was our destination.

Eileah and I at Bath and Body Works back on May 14, 2018. She was only two months old.

I love getting out of the house, especially to the mall. There’s something about mall walking that relaxes me. But I noticed something this time around.

A trip to the mall before and after baby are different, with obviously more steps, considerations, and hassles associated with the latter. But, what I’ve found positive about mall walking now with a baby in tow is this feeling of empowerment. With two or more small children you might be too preoccupied to feel it exactly, but with just one child it’s really been a pleasure for me taking my baby to the mall. She’s now thirteen months old, which means less breaks for bottle or diaper changes, and more time for us to enjoy the exploration of mall walking together.

This is what walking through a mall looks like for a baby:

Like in the emperor in The Emperor’s New Clothes, what you believe is more powerful than what you wear. I don’t know what the mechanism is, but walking through a mall, a store, anywhere with Eileah I forget my akwardness about myself and instead feel comfortable and confident about myself. You’ve probably heard this one before, but it’s true, my baby inspires me to feel like I can do anything. Maybe it’s because I am her protector when we go out so that in turn preoccupies me from feeling akward about myself. Or maybe I’m just so proud of her that I can’t help but beam and be unphased by myself. It’s not like misery loves company, she’s doing more than just being with me and I’m not miserable. It’s not like there’s some co-dependency forming either, I don’t need her in order to do anything. I think what the most likely reason I feel empowered when I walk with her through the mall might be because of how confident she is being in this huge space where she is so small and everything is unfamiliar. If she can have a good time and be comfortable in her skin, so can I.

Before Eileah, I had to fake confidence and at ease-ness at times when I’d be at the mall by myself. Sometimes walking through the mall and standing in lines I’d feel akward. What is the right way to walk through a mall? Do you make conversation with the people in line with you? Most people are paying attention to the person they came with, but when it’s just you you don’t know whether to be social or look straight ahead like a soldier. Having a drink in hand to sip from or a phone to look down on makes it easier to disconnect from the pressure, but what the heck are we so afraid of? This is a natural phenomenon, feeling akward at the mall on your own. Maybe walking a few years through New York City would knock this nervousness right out of me. But if there’s one thing that can do one better, it’s having someone who trusts you and loves you to teach you how to be confident as you were at their age again now as an adult. That’s my little write up on why mall walking with a baby can be empowering.

Read more about Orland Square Mall.

Did you know they built a new play area for kids in 2017? Read about it here.

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Review of Polish Fusion Restaurant Tradycja in Orland Park

Tradycja first opened on Wednesday, September 6, 2017. Located next to a Fontano’s Sub on Lagrange Road, between 144th Place and 147th Street. The parking lot is a tiny rectangle with only one way in and out, a nightmare if the restaurant is packed and the businesses nextdoor are also still open. The location isn’t ideal in that respect for patrons to easily come and go, but luckily the size of the restaurant isn’t larger than the parking plot it shares with other businesses.

The restaurant attracts mostly Polish people from near and far, but it’s also attracting a wider audience.

There is no exact number, but outside of Poland’s capital Warsaw, the Chicagoland area is home to the second largest population of Polish people, with most concentrated north of the city, and many north of Tinley Park. Polish culture is thus pervasive in the neighborhoods and suburbs of Chicago. When my parents moved us to the northwest suburb of Niles in December of 1997, there was a Polish Deli called Polish Deli a block away on Milwaukee and Crain. I had a college roommate who was Polish and came from the Oak Lawn neighborhood, and I learned from her that there was a bank in her area that only served Polish people. Isn’t that wild? We’ve heard of these neighborhood bubbles where the dominant ethnic group will have their own newspapers, media, stores, restaurants, shops, and apparently banks that enable their people to never miss their homeland. Tradycja fills that void in the Southwest suburbs.

My husband and his family are Polish, though not born in Poland, don’t speak the language, are far from first-generation, and pretty Americanized, they like staying connected to their roots though in ways such as baking kolacky, buying paczki on paczki day, buying Polish sausages and deli meats from Joe and Frank’s, and trying a new Polish restaurant like Tradycja.

Our first time to Tradycja was on February 22, 2018. I was eleven months pregnant and we wanted to get together with friends who also happen to be our friends as well for dinner.

All of us at Tradycja for the first time, February 22, 2018.
The Family Style Platter

The thing to get is the Family Style Platter. It’s pricy at $145 but it is a crowd pleaser, consisting of:

  • Boneless Beef Ribs
  • Rack of Lamb
  • Pork Tenderloins with Mushrooms and Onion
  • Pan Seared Pork Loin with Cranberry and Horseradish
  • Breaded Chicken Breast
  • Bacon
  • Dumplings
  • Sautéed Sauerkraut
  • Baked PotatoesSaveSave

Here’s a gallery of some other items we ordered. The bottom photo with the wooden spoon in the center of a small jar, that’s lard with bread. Probably not what your doctor would like you to have if you’re watching your cholesterol, but for someone who avoids fat as much as possible I could not have enjoyed it more. Totally go for it.

After the complimentary bread and lard, we ordered a mixed salad, then pierogis to go with our Family Style Platter, and for dessert we chose Apple Cake with Raspberries and Pistachio Ice Cream. Everything was very good.

Eileah and her paternal grandpa.

On our second trip this past weekend on Sunday, April 14, 2019 we came to celebrate my father-in-law’s birthday with a lunch at Tradycja. It was Eileah’s first time and she had a blast sampling what we ate, making a mess on the floor, and doing a little socializing with fellow babies that were with their families. This time I had to sample the veal stuffed cabbage (a.k.a golumpki). I grew up Serbian and I’m a really tough critic when it comes to stuffed cabbage. Sarma, which is how we call stuffed cabbage is divine and different from how Polish stuffed cabbage is made. But of course I had to see if Tradycja could redeem the Polish golumpki I’ve had elsewhere.

Though rustic with a unique herb I can’t put my finger on, it just wasn’t for me. The tomato sauce always cheapens the dish in my opinion. Serbian sarma sauce isn’t just heated tomato sauce, the sauce is completely different and cooked with the stuffed cabbage. It consists of tomato paste, smoked bacon, stock, and the cabbage of course adds a great flavor. Aside from the golumpki, our second time was the same as the first, tasty and simple. However, when we told our server that it was someone special’s birthday they did not do the compulsory restaurant tradition of bringing out a petit dessert with a candle on top with some staff joining in a birthday chant. There was a neighboring family who was celebrating someone’s 50th birthday, but the difference I think was that they brought a cake. The servers in their traditional Polish garb sang Happy Birthday in Polish and all was well. I just felt bad for my father-in-law who was left in the cold, but not being one to complain he didn’t look downcast one bit.

What Makes It Fusion?

I almost forgot to address something, what makes Tradycja a Polish ‘fusion’ restaurant? They take traditional Polish dishes and add influences from others cultures such as Asia.

Do I Recommend Tradycja?

I absolutely recommend Tradycja for people looking to experience Polish food closer to them here in the Southwest Chicago suburbs, for people of Polish heritage who miss the old country’s classic dishes as well as unique flavors mixed with traditional plates.

Keep in mind they have a meat heavy menu, but there are delicious vegetarian options in the appetizers, salad, and sides categories.

Give it a try and get immersed. But don’t expect special treatment if it’s an anniversary or a birthday you happen to be celebrating.

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Discover Tinley Park Expo 2019 Review

Discover Tinley is a mixed bag where local Tinley Park denizens as well as curious out-of -towners come to get free stuff, find something their looking for (for example: remodelers), be pleasantly suprised by a new discovery, and kill time. What you find are usually over 100 booths, each with a different business or entity. You have your insurance companies, restaurants, and other businesses, but then you have things like the Will County Model Railroad Club and the Tinley Park Historic Society that are not looking to drum up more business.

This year’s Discover Tinley Expo was slated to have more for families and children. See flyer below.

Now that I’m a mom I was curious to see the new attractions geared towards families and children. The last time I went to Discover Tinley was back in April of 2017 as a vendor alongside my husband for our business, Geoffresh. Today at Discover Tinley we were the general public, and this was our experience.

Entrance at Discover Tinley 2019
Redevelopment of Tinley Park Display at Discovery Tinley 2019

The first thing we saw was a display of the renderings of the future of Downtown Tinley Park and a board that the village wanted people to write out and post what kind of business they would like to see come to the downtown area.

Tinley Park Community Development Board 2019 at Discover Tinley 2019
Tinley Park Historical Society Discover Tinley 2019

Next we visited the Tinley Park Historical Society. One of the people who works there recommended I join a Facebook group they started called, Tinley Park! You Know You Are From There When You Know Its History…Over 3,200 members strong!

Plinko Game at Tinley Park Library Booth at Discover Tinley 2019

Going with the family spirit, the Tinley Park Library’s booth featured a game called Plinko. Where the disc landed determined what you could win in the raffle.

Tinley Park Mom and Family at Discover Tinley 2019
A chef doing a cooking demo at Discover Tinley 2019.
Puppy at Discover Tinley 2019
A puppy available for adoption with Tinley Park P.A.W.S.
Code Ninjas at Discover Tinley 2019
This caught our attention, a new business coming to Orland Hills (neighboring Tinley Park) for teaching kids how to code in different computer languages called Code Ninjas.
Lou Malnati Pizza at Discover Tinley 2019
The concession stand area had nacho chips and pretezels, and booths had candy to give out, but Lou Malnati’s was a godsend for giving away something more substantial: pizza!
High Touch High Tech at Discover Tinley 2019
A lot was said about High Touch High Tech for their science demos, but it was pretty boring unfortunately.
Inflattable Slide at Discover Tinley 2019
White Water Canyon Mermaid Photo Op at Discover Tinley 2019
White Water Canyon’s mermaid photo op was genius.
Dart Board at Discover Tinley 2019
Will County Model Railroad Club at Discover Tinley 2019
At the very last row of the expo Will County Model Railroad Club. They come every year.


So was this year’s Discover Tinley Park Expo efforts to have a rich offering of attractions for families and children a success? In my opinion it was a work in progress.

The demos were very small scale. I think I passed most of them up because they were so shoestring I didn’t notice them. And while a local celebrity appearance from Svengoolie was a neat idea, he’s a bit more dark and adult for kids.

The event had pretty good attendance, but it lacks in color, verve, and spectacle. I think it’s time to revamp the expo, take the gray shale colored space and make it into a spring block party that leads up to the summer block parties on Oak Park Avenue. I don’t know it this is the best decision, but I know that part of what helps a community boost its spirit and culture is to take occassions like the expo and do more than the bare minimum with them. It’s frankly dull walking through the rows and rows of businesses and organizations, even they look like they’d rather be somewhere else. There are blips of things of interest like the mermaid photo op for my daughter or trying to win prizes, but there’s got to be a better way to inspire people to come out and spend time at the Tinley Park Convention Center. What’s another carrot that could be dangled besides free stuff?

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Dr. Robert J. Oliver, MD – Pediatrician

SaveSaveReview of Dr. Robert J. Oliver, MD

Today was Eileah’s 1 year since birth appointment with her pediatrician Dr. Oliver, at the DuPage Medical Group Tinley Park location. So what has   our experience been like with him and how did we come to choose him over another pediatrician?

Came Recommended By The Man Who Delivered Our Baby Girl

Dr. Yen (read my review of Yen), who became my OBGYN in December 2017 and who delivered our precious Eileah in March of 2018, recommended Dr. Oliver to my husband and I while we were in the hospital following Eileah’s birth. He told us Dr. Oliver had taken care of his kids and that was very encouraging to us. Dr. Yen is such a special guy, and you’d know that if you get to know him during your pregnancy and afterwards. He is talented at what he does, but what’s more he earned our trust and respect. Every recommendation he gave us during pregnancy, delivery, and for me as my OBGYN has never been wrong. Valuing his opinion then, we were interested in meeting Dr. Oliver. Lucky for us, we got to while we were at Silver Cross Hospital with Eileah.

In the two days Eileah and I spent in the hospital before going home we met with two pediatricians. The first was Allison Croucher, DO who also happens to practice at the Tinley Park location we’ve been going to. The second was Dr. Oliver on the day we were discharged. Both physicians were great with Eileah as they examined her. While we appreciated Croucher for being so attentive with us, Dr. Oliver had a less “trying to prove myself” mien about him. He talked with Eileah more, which was adorable by the way. He told us if we need an appointment urgently to ask for one of his nurses when we call DuPage Medical, that she will get us in. He didn’t feel corporate, he talked to us like grown-ups and didn’t make the next few weeks sound like we had to be worried and extra careful. He was like (not a quote), “just relax, this is hard to screwup. It’ll be hard, but you’ve got this. Everyone makes it out alive and I can tell you’re earnest parents who will do everything in their power to care for your baby. I’m there for you.” I don’t know how else to describe him with adjectives, but that was essentially what you got from what he was communicating.

Our Visits

From the one-week follow-up, to the two-month, four-month, six-month, nine-month, to the 12-month follow-up, Dr. Oliver has proven he’s a great fit for our daughter. 

Eileah my daughter at a her four and a half month follow-up with Dr. Oliver back on August 1, 2018.

It’s a very chill vibe when you meet with Dr. Oliver, as a parent. He’s not warm and fuzzy with us, he’s more matter of fact, confident yet laid-back. He never makes us feel nervous when we talk with him. Then again, maybe if we were different parents he might be more stern, but I think on the whole he makes things very simple to understand and not life shattering. I don’t know where I got this idea that pediatricians are preemptively hard on parents. He also doesn’t instill fear in you as a parent, like everything he tells you must be followed like gospel or everything you do has to be a huge deal that if you screw up you’re a terrible parent. No matter what you ask him, whether it’s a simple question or complex, he doesn’t make you feel dumb, inferior, or like you’re wasting his time.

With our daughter it’s like she’s the only one in the room. He’s totally in tune with her, talking with her like they’re old buddies, teasing her and making her laugh. 

Would I Recommend Dr. Oliver?

No doubt. After one full year as our daughter’s pediatrician we’re very happy with him. He’s very present in each appointment, creates a low pressure vibe, is thorough, doesn’t overwhelm you, focuses on what you need to know and somethings you’d never think of. And most importantly has a unique way with kids with a dry yet warm sense of humor. 


Other Reviews of Dr. Oliver

Healthgrades (Average rating: 3.8/5)

Vitals (Average rating: 5/5)

WebMD (Average rating: 5/5)

No Reviews on Google

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