Quick Wong Trip

This weekend we had a very quick, one night visit with the Wongs.

As many of you know, Andrew is our matchmaker. Adam and I met at his wedding in Jamaica, summer of 2003.DSC_0645He brought his two boys in town and the testosterone levels grew exponentially.

We beat the house up for a bit in the morning.DSC_0628Then we headed over to the Museum of Science and Industry to see what damage we could do there.DSC_0639 DSC_0646 DSC_0647 DSC_0648

Using the catapult Jack built.

Using the catapult Jack built.

Jack "handcuffs" Sam.

Jack “handcuffs” Sam.

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They spelled out "Sam is a..." Then added a lego pumpkin to the end of the sentence.

They spelled out “Sam is a…” Then added a lego pumpkin to the end of the sentence.

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Ben spells out his name “BEn” on the creation he called, “Ben City”.

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It was a lot of fun for all.

I hate how so many of our friends live so far away.

But I soooo appreciate the ones who make an effort to stay close.

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Last Tooth

It was with a heavy heart last night that I organized Jack’s last tooth fairy hunt.

I tried to make it extra hard, simply putting words on each clue like, “Bed”. He had to run around to every bed until he found the right one.DSC_0621Still it was pretty easy for him.DSC_0623Most days I find having four kids completely overwhelming and unmanageable but at times like this I’m happy we have so many more kids losing so many more teeth.

By the time it’s all done I’ll be so sick of these hunts that, instead of a a heavy heart I’ll be high fiving my husband. It’s a much better way to exit, a happier way to have closure.

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Halloween 2017

Halloween this year was quite a complicated event. With so many kids activities in the mix, I spent most of the day running around frantically.

First the push to get them all off to school, which I barely do on time every morning. Now add the costuming and special give aways for Halloween and it’s almost impossible.

But we managed it.

Everyone got to school on time. And we stayed to watch the twin’s Halloween parade. DSC_0560 DSC_0565

Which meant we had to miss Jack’s Halloween parade. But I didn’t suffer much guilt. This year I’m one of Jack’s room’s mom and that afternoon we organized the pizza and afternoon activity at his school.

We collaborated with his teacher and decided to do an escape room style game. The Teachers Pay Teachers website had a great “Crack the Code – Escape from Zombies” one. Version 2

Then that afternoon we had some of Jack’s friend’s come by for Trick or Treating.DSC_0595

(The twins were wearing different costumes in the evening because the school doesn’t allow masks.)DSC_0600 DSC_0604

Since the twins started trick or treating, we stopped hosting a Halloween party. I can’t be at home hosting and be out with Adam walking the four kids around.

But we still let Jack pick some friends to trick or treat with him.

Aaron take on Harley Quinn!

Aaron take on Harley Quinn!

This year the older boys had a competition to see who could get the most full size candy bars that evening. I’m not sure who won, but I think it’s clear they were all winners!DSC_0607

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Early Trick or Treating

Sunday we celebrated Halloween a little early. DSC_0544

Our neighborhood stores host kids for trick or treating the weekend before the actual event.DSC_0547

It’s nice to have an extra trick or treating session!

Jack complained tirelessly about his costume and I wondered sadly if this was the last year he would participate.

As you can see, Aaron wanted Ben’s costume this year and we obliged. Ben even encouraged it!

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Trip to Milwaukee

On a tip from the twin’s Chinese teacher, we decided to head up to Milwaukee to see the China Lights.

Apparently so did everyone else. We didn’t buy tickets ahead of time, since there was no discount to do so. There was also a chance of rain.

But when we arrived it was a great night. Perfect temperature with no chance of rain. We checked into the hotel and I pulled up the website for directions.

On the front page they explained that because so many ticket holders had not used their passes yet, they suspended ticket sales until Monday!

So, with the entire reason for our visit now not possible, we decided to see what else Milwaukee had to offer us.DSC_0474

Our first stop was dinner at SafeHouse. I don’t want to give to much away, but it was a really fun experience. Very kid friendly, filled with missions and quirky adventures. I’m excited to take the kids to the one in Chicago now!DSC_0476 DSC_0477

After dinner we took a stroll down the River Walk.DSC_0478

Less than a mile away we stopped at a well reviewed yelp ice cream shop called Purple Door Ice Cream.DSC_0483 DSC_0486

We got home late and, as is our custom no matter what time we go to sleep, everyone was up before 6am. By the time breakfast started at 7:30, we were all starving.

Afterwards we planned to take advantage of the hotel pool and jacuzzi, but when we checked on it, it was closed due to an ‘accident’.

So we pushed on, this time to Discovery World. With our Museum of Science and Industry membership, entry was free.DSC_0488 DSC_0492 DSC_0495 DSC_0499 DSC_0507 DSC_0511 DSC_0515 DSC_0516 DSC_0518

DSC_0521 DSC_0523 DSC_0530We spent about 4 hours and managed to cover the entire place.

Finally, after a quick lunch at the Cafe, we went to Screecher’s Brewery for the tour and tasting.DSC_0533 DSC_0539

The tour price was $5 per kid, and afterwards they got unlimited sample of soda. The adult tour price was $8 and you also got 4, 7oz samples included. Also they let you take home the glasses you tasted with.

It was a short trip, but I feel like we got to see quite a bit. But as is our custom no matter where we vacation, we were already talking about what we would see the next time we came to visit.

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All About Me

The twins had another rite of passage this week.

The “All About Me” poster that I’ve done for every kindergarten class, was due this week.

Being twins, their posters were set up similarly.

But as you can see, they are still very different…DSC_0405 DSC_0404

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Museum of Science and Industry Renewal

After two days of non-stop rain we were getting cabin fever.

There was lots of board games.DSC_0400

And coloring. And iPad usage. The twins opened up lots and lots of cabinets and pulled out toy after toy after toy.

It seemed like the right time to renew our Museum of Science and Industry membership.

I was a bit worried about how Ben would react to the crowds but we decided to take a leap of faith and go for it.

Surprisingly, the museum was unusually empty.

It was awesome!

First we spent time in the Ideas Factory.

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Jack creating waves.

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Jack trying to find a rainbow while Ben lines up lasers.

Teamwork!

Teamwork!

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Magnetic Maze.

See all the educational learning we are doing?

See all the educational learning we are doing?

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Ben’s creation.

DSC_0375Then we headed over to the Lego Exhibit. DSC_0379

Aaron surprised up by getting on stage!

Aaron surprised up by getting on stage!

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Building cars to race.

We collaborated with this monstrosity.

We collaborated with this monstrosity. See the Parthenon?

We also checked out the coal mine, something we haven’t done for a long time. DSC_0390

We talked to Ben for a long time about how safe it was. We were trying to shield him from future upset.

But he did fine. I think it helped that besides a family of 3, we were the only ones in the exhibit.DSC_0392

I know the kids enjoyed be able to answer all the question that the tour guide asked.

I was particularly impressed when she said, “There are three states of matter: liquid, solid and what else?”

Jack answered with confidence, “Gas”.

Jolly Ball

Jolly Ball

More 'educational' learning

More ‘educational’ learning

We left after a few hours with a long list of ideas about what to do the next time we go. The museum is so big we barely covered any of it!

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Apples Aplenty!

We’ve had a couple of weeks of creative apple cooking here.

Here are a few things I’ve been stuffing, mixing, sautéing and baking my apples into…

Apple Tatin

Apple Tatin

Apple Tarts. I made 8 but by the time I got around to taking a picture there were only 2 left!

Apple Tarts. I made 8 but by the time I got around to taking a picture there were only 2 left!

Slow cooker apple sauce and apple muffins

Slow cooker apple sauce and apple muffins

I also sliced them and put them into the lunch boxes quite a few days.

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I experimented with cheese and apple pairing.

Apple and Cheddar Bread with Minestrone Soup

Apple and Cheddar Bread with Minestrone Soup

Apple slices with Cheddar and Turkey rolled in Crescent rolls.

Apple slices with Cheddar and Turkey rolled in Crescent rolls.

And finally, getting rid of a grand total of EIGHT apples…DSC_0354

Now I’m down to about 10 less than crisp apples in the bin.

How bout them apples?

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Soccer Mom

This past weekend I had the pleasure of taking all the boys who play soccer in our house to their soccer games.

This is usually Adam job, but he was out of town for a conference.

Sam and Aaron’s team is notoriously bad. I don’t think they have won a game yet.Version 2

It doesn’t help that most games Aaron becomes so frustrated that he decides to start crying and screaming about it, leave the field and head to a nearby tree to kick or pull leaves off of violently.DSC_0141 DSC_0142

The twins team only has 6 members, so when one of the six is this erratic, it’s quite a load for the other players.

This week however, he was perfect. He managed to keep his frustrations in check. I was very proud of him, as I saw how hard that was for him. I noticed that when he actually plays he is great. He has the right level of aggression to get in there and actually steal the ball. Sam, who has the best attitude, is a real team player, is too consciousness to steal balls. What makes him the perfect student, son and friend is actually a downfall for soccer.DSC_0146

The entire time I kept thinking, maybe if we practice enough, having 2 boys on the same team could be a real weapon.

On the sidelines with their older brothers.

On the sidelines with their older brothers.

Perhaps in time my evil plan will come to fruition.

After a romp on the nearby playground, we all went to Jack’s game.

Jack and his fan club.

Jack and his fan club.

Jack has been playing long enough that it’s a real game. Some of the kids have really fancy moves.DSC_0192 DSC_0212

Jack is at his best on defense. He is a really disruptive player.

It was a fun morning out, so nice to see all the kids out playing together outdoors, sans electronics.

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Fun Day at Sonny Acres

This morning we took the kids out to West Chicago to visit our favorite fall festival spot, Sonny Acres.DSC_0069

Unlike some of the more crowded, commercialized fall festivals, Sonny Acres feels like you have stepped back in time. Hand painted signs with corny slogans, the smell of funnels cakes, brightly lit carnival rides, all surrounded by copious amounts of pumpkins of every shape and size makes you feel like you drove straight out of 2017 Chicago into a small town in the midwest in the 1950s. It’s the feeling of good, old fashioned family fun.

I posed by the "old lady who lived in a shoe" because I feel like I can relate to her...

I posed by the “old lady who lived in a shoe” because I feel like I can relate to her…

DSC_0014We arrived early to avoid the crowds, but not early enough.

Ben was too overwhelmed to settle in, and as a result he spent the first part of the visit behaving erratically. DSC_0022

We had this hayride all to ourselves! The kids were so excited to point out all the different halloween decorations they found hanging from various trees.

Afterwards, Adam took Ben to the car to settle him while I took the other kids to the playground.DSC_0034 DSC_0037

Jack sweetly let the twins chase him and created obstacle courses for them. Next we fell into a game of hide and seek. DSC_0039 DSC_0047

Soon after, Ben returned. Adam spoke to him in the car, he let him complain about the crowds and yell and scream that this place was “stupid and no fun”.

After a while he convinced him to get out of the car and join us. They met us at the playground and Ben happily jumped right into the hide and seek game.DSC_0056

Afterwards we checked out some rides.
DSC_0074 DSC_0079 DSC_0086 DSC_0097DSC_0102I really liked how the kids always found a partner or two. Not all of them wanted to do every ride, but there was enough of them so no one ever had to go alone.

They spent a ton of time in the petting zoo. DSC_0114DSC_0107

The animals were kind of aggressive and most of our city kids were freaked out about it.DSC_0108

Sam found refuge on Adam’s shoulders.DSC_0104

Finally Ben figured out that he could feed the animals through the fence!DSC_0109

There was a lot of brotherly love in the afternoon.DSC_0117 DSC_0119

Which made my heart sing. And my taste buds sung too with these funnel cakes!DSC_0124

On our way out, Ben said it was so much fun, could we come back again?

Adam said, “Oh this stupid place that is no fun?”

Ben grinned sheepishly.

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