#Fly the W

In case any of you readers are not living in Chicago right now, let me explain what is going on here.

The Cubs just made it to the world series.

Lucky to see the team earlier this season with our friends Darla and Jeff.

Lucky to see the team earlier this season with our friends Darla and Jeff.

I know it’s a big feat for any team, but our team it’s a miracle.

The last time the Cubs got this far was 1945.

And the last time they actually won a world series was 1908.

Since there are only 30 teams in baseball, statistically speaking they have defied the odds greatly.

So you can see why Chicagoans are so excited about this possible win. Everywhere you turn you can see Cubs spirit. Either with the Cubs logo or the slogan “Fly the W” (W for the win). img_5402 flythew1

UBS Building

UBS Building

Navy Pier Ferris Wheel

Navy Pier Ferris Wheel

Art Institute Lion

Art Institute Lion

Some companies are going crazy about it. American Airlines is all in.

American Airlines Crew

American Airlines Crew

Flights from Chicago to LA

Flights from Chicago to LA last week.

And check out Giordano’s stuffed pizzas right now.


And it doesn’t stop here! People all over the world are celebrating.

Some say the reason the cubs have not won in so long is because the curse of the goat.

Wikipedia says the story goes like this, “The Curse of the Billy Goat is the name of a sports-related curse that was supposedly placed on the Chicago Cubs baseball franchise in 1945 by Billy Goat Tavern owner Billy Sianis. Because the odor of his pet goat, Murphy, was bothering other fans, Sianis was asked to leave Wrigley Field, the Cubs’ park, during game four of the 1945 World Series.[1][2] Outraged, Sianis allegedly declared “Them Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more,” which has been interpreted to mean that either the Cubs would never win another National League Pennant or else that they would never again win a World Series.”

Bill Murray at Wrigley -"I ain't afraid of no goat"

Bill Murray at Wrigley -“I ain’t afraid of no goat”

Others think we are winning because of Theo Epstein, who helped the Red Sox make it to the world series in 2004, breaking their own ‘Curse of the Bambino”.

Either way, it is a very exciting time for Chicago.

Go Cubs Go!

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Fall at the Botanical Gardens

Yesterday we went for a fall frolic at the Chicago Botanical Gardens.

Our idea for the day was to see the leaves changing.dsc_0970 dsc_0982

And to check out our usual haunts like the sensory garden, where you can touch and feel the plants. dsc_0978

To observe the wonders of nature.dsc_0981

Fish spotting

Fish spotting

The kids idea for the day was to wrestle.dsc_0993 dsc_1044 dsc_1015

And run. Always running.dsc_0988

Luckily It was a gorgeous day to do all the ideas we had.

Hope everyone is enjoying the wonderful fall weather as much as we are!

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Tooth Fairy Superhero Hunt

Last time my father was in town he came up with a brilliant game for Ben, one that kept him in his room away from his brothers, one that kept him off the iPad, one that made him think.

He simply took his collection of miniature superheros, hid them in his room, and told him to find them.

We have been playing this game ever since.

So when Ben lost another tooth, the tooth fairy decided to join in the fun and play a round of ‘hunt for the superheros’.dsc_0938

dsc_0943Many were in plain sight, but they were so small and we have so much junk in our house I figured he would walk right past them. He saw quite a few though, I guess his mini superhero spotting has been keenly honed. Luckily he has done enough of these to know to follow the clues, not what he sees.

Some were not in plain view, too, but he managed to find them all without the usual help of his older brother.dsc_0957 dsc_0939 dsc_0956

When the tooth fairy had the idea, she didn’t realize he has over 20! She used it as an opportunity to get him moving, alternatively hiding them in the basement and the first floor. But that also meant she had to climb up and down the stairs three as many times.

First to hide the superheros.dsc_0951

Then to go back and put the clues behind them.dsc_0958

Finally to follow Ben around to watch him find them.dsc_0966

Finally Thor gave him an envelope of money. $10 dollars, all ones rolled up like a pimp roll, which he carefully counted out to $11.dsc_0968

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Chicago Marathon 2016

About a month before the marathon, Adam realized he was not ready for the race he signed up for.

First a bout of tendentious then a month of non stop work on a deal put his training too far behind to catch up.

Secretly I started running longer runs. But I didn’t mention to Adam why. I mean, I’ve always said I’ve never wanted to run a race that long, right?

When I got up to 11 miles I realized I did not have the time to train or want to build up to another 14.2 miles.

I thought that was the end of that, but Adam came home from work one night and told me he was going to run the first part of the marathon then duck out near our house instead of finishing.

It sounded so unsatisfying.

I suggested I run to our house, the first 9.2 miles, and he finish the last 17. He agreed.

Team Calisoff was born.

Rookie mistake, waiting until the last minute to use the bathroom.

Rookie mistake, waiting until the last minute to use the bathroom.

After seeing the start of the race, I now understand why he wanted to do part of it, even if he couldn’t finish all.

30 minutes of walking to get to the start.

30 minutes of walking to get to the start. Can you see the start in this picture?

I envisioned a crowded run, the participants getting in my way and ruining the flow of my ear plugged zen.

But I never even used my ear plugs because submersing yourself in the sights and sounds of the run were all part of the experience.

And even though it was crowded, it wasn’t so bad that I was annoyed.

I saw so many great signs. So many fans making such an effort! I few ones that I remember, “If Trump can run it, you can too”, “Brittney Spears Survived 2007, you can Survive 26.2”, “The Kenyans are Drinking all the Beer”, “Worst Parade Ever”, “I like your Stamina, Call me”, “26.2 miles is a lot of work for a banana”, and a surprising number of fart and poop jokes.

I also ran past the ROTC spinning guns in unison, and had the pleasure of running through boys town which had a few stages of drag queens dancing for us.

And sweet moments too, like when I happen to look up and spot windows full of people in their nursing home with their ‘go runners’ signs, waving. I made sure to high five every single kid I saw standing on the sidelines with their hand out, looking at the runners hopefully.

I made it to 9.2 miles in good form to find my cheering section waiting for me with bells.img_1556img_1538

I handed the race number over to Adam and off he went.img_5348

We finished with a combined time of 4:26.

Adam arrived home covered in salt, walking funny, and wrapped in heat sheet foil.

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Sonny Acres Visit

Living in a place with four distinct seasons has the pleasant rhythm of distinct traditions.

October is such a great month. It is always about pumpkin patches, apple picking and Halloween.

Today we visited one of our favorite pumpkin patches for fall festival, Sonny Acres.dsc_0904

It is always worth the long ride out to feel like you are in a country carnival, complete with rides, animals, and fried foods.

This year we did the day hay ride. (Much less spooky than the night one.)

Day Hay Ride

Day Hay Ride

We spent time in the Kiddie Koral, a playground unlike anything you’ll see in the city.dsc_0882 dsc_0895 dsc_0917 dsc_0919

Then we rode some rides and saw some attractions.dsc_0924 dsc_0930 dsc_0933 dsc_0936 img_1528

We left with a box of freshly fried donuts as a souvenir, which Adam and I plan on running off tomorrow…

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Shedd Aquarium Library Pass

While picking out new books for the kids at the library last week, I noticed the library rents out weekly passes to all the museums.

My eyes scrolled down the list and lit up with delight when I saw the Shedd Aquarium.

Sam and Aaron watching dolphins

Sam and Aaron watching dolphins

When I was at home with Jack and Ben, I had a great group of girlfriends that I used to troll around with. I remember many fun mornings spent at the Shedd with our kids. One year we got a membership and would visit often.

November 2010, Ben and Jack as penquins

November 2010, Ben and Jack as penguins

The next year the family membership doubled in price and that was the end of that.

The Shedd aquarium “Kids Museum Passport” at the library provides general entry to the aquarium but surprisingly doesn’t include the polar play zone, wild reef, amphibians special exhibit, 4-D Experience, Stingray touch or aquatic show.

The kids passport doesn’t include the kids play zone?!

In the end I paid extra for it. Guess how much it was? It was an extra $20 a head, which is the same price I’d pay for the kids without the museum passport, and about $10 less for me.

Already I was annoyed with the Shedd.

Perhaps the kids felt it too because they were kinds of cranky at the start. Or maybe it was the staff.

Our first stop was the Wild Reef, since Aaron was shouting for sharks. We had to wait for entry to the elevators because the woman guarding it was giving a tongue lashing to the teenagers in front of us, warning them harshly not to play on the elevator.

I went in the elevator, it was a normal, albeit dark, elevator. I’m not sure why she was so uptight about it. But I passed her a few more times that day and she did it to all the teenagers in the line that day.

The exhibit itself it amazing, and we spent a lot of time sitting on the floor looking up at the huge tank full of sharks.dsc_0850

We also spent lots of time at the polar play zone. We piloted a submarine.

See the spinning Beluga Whales in the background?

See the spinning Beluga Whales in the background?

We also dressed up as penguins and played in a pretend penguin habitat. Just like Jack and Ben!dsc_0870

And we pet starfish.dsc_0871

I don’t think I’ll take them back soon. Not that it’s not an amazing place to visit, but it’s just too expensive to do on a regular bases.

I will be looking at the library for other passports though, and hopefully they won’t bad at this one was. Stay tuned…

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Rosh Hashanah 5777

My handsome men heading to the temple.

My handsome men heading to the temple.

L’Shanah Tovah!

Today we celebrated Rosh Hashanah.

Now that Jack is in Hebrew school, he has started to observe the holidays with Adam.

Which means he doesn’t attend school, but goes to the high holiday services instead. He was pretty happy to trade 7 hours of school in for 1 and 1/2 hours at the temple.

Afterwards we celebrated with some of the traditional new year food.

I had a big helper in the kitchen this year…

dsc_0839Together we made this:

Honey Apple Cake

It turned out just like the picture, and tasted delicious!dsc_0842

We also feasted on latkes, green beans, turkey, matzoh ball soup, challah, and chopped liver.dsc_0845

The kids fully enjoyed the opportunity to eat carbs exclusively for dinner and dessert. It was a carb fiesta!

Blessing the bread

Blessing the bread

May everyone have a healthy and happy new year, whenever it starts for you!!!

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Fall Fest at the Zoo

On a playdate this week, my friend Laurie mentioned that the Lincoln Park Zoo was holding it’s annual Fall Fest. Today we decided to go check it out.dsc_0771

The Zoo is free to enter, and since it’s close enough for us to walk to, it’s always considered a great, low cost form of entertainment.

But that changes if you decide to buy tickets for all the exciting things there are to do for Fall Fest.dsc_0776

We didn’t see them all, since every time you decide to enter with 6 people to any of these attractions it’s $30, but we did use the tickets wisely. A $30 ferris wheel ride? Probably a waste of money.dsc_0775

But for the corn maze it was a bargain.dsc_0783

Next to the maze were barrels of hay. A couple of barrels of hay? Hours of entertainment!dsc_0800

The twins spent a lot of time in Tot town too.dsc_0827 dsc_0828 dsc_0834 dsc_0835

But the obstacle course was over in about 2 seconds, and the kids immediately asked to do it again.dsc_0820 dsc_0821 dsc_0825

We missed the pumpkin patch, but it seemed to be a good area for very young kids.dsc_0819

The carousel, which is there year round, was part of the ticket sales, as well as the train which we missed.img_1461

We left with three tickets, so looks like we will be back again soon…

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Chicago Plays!

Has anyone else noticed all the great new playgrounds sprouting up around the city?

It is all part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago Plays! program, launched in 2013 that ambitiously aims at adding or renovating over 300 parks.

Today we enjoyed the fruits of his labor at Morrie Mages park. dsc_0743

There were all kinds of different ropes to climb as well as new and unusual play structures.dsc_0723 dsc_0740

dsc_0734 dsc_0753The park is completely fenced off and includes a large open area to run and for Aaron, find sticks!dsc_0751 dsc_0750

There are also some great picnic benches!

Now I’m on a quest to try out the other 299ish parks that are getting a face lift…

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Tooth Fairy Lays an Egg

The last tooth Ben lost I tried a new tactic, a hunt of different colors. Under his pillow was an envelope with a square of color. He would have to find the color on the front of next the envelope somewhere in the house, open it to reveal a new color, then find that new color on a front of a new envelope.

It was a disaster. Ben has a lot of trouble locating the colors and sometimes he would find the wrong one and not realize it wasn’t a match.

So when he lost his tooth on Wednesday, I went back to what I knew was a favorite hunt of his, easter eggs.dsc_0652

Eggs were hidden in all kinds of nooks and crannies in our house, each one contained a picture of the place where the next egg was.

dsc_0655As usual, Ben has his trusted side kick, Jack there to help him navigate the hunt.

In the end, he got cold, hard cash.dsc_0642-1

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