Old Friends

I guess when you’ve only lived 4 and 1/2 years, if you’ve known someone since you were 2, that must make that person a very old friend. Jack was so happy when he past the park a few days ago and saw his friend Josephine was back from her month long vacation in France. He jumped out of the stroller and ran up to her to give her a big hug. She is one of the few play mates in his life that he actually asks about when she’s not around.

Jack gets a Water Back Massage at Adam's Park

So when Josephine’s mom called for a play date, Jack couldn’t wait. I can’t tell you how many times I asked him today to make a decision on something and he replied, “What’s Josephine doing?”.

Josephine did not disappoint. She splashed around with him in the water, taught him Chinese jump rope, and shared her sidewalk chalk.

After all that hard play, we needed a pick me up. So we went to Annette’s for ice cream. The kids size is as big as your fist. Jack is on a kick where he wants a new flavor every time we get ice cream. Today he happily ate Moosetracks. Ben stuck with Chocolate. I scavenged the left overs.

Jack and Ben at Annette's

Finally we stopped by Josephine’s to pick up the presents she brought back for the boys…

Ava, Ben, Jack and Josephine

Jack was very happy for his new coloring book and went home to start on it right away. He even wanted me to read the story at the bottom but it was in French so I had to make it up. I hope I did it justice.

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School Mates

Summer is ending. You can feel the chill in the air. It’s the perfect weather but unlike the beginning of summer, this gorgeous weather comes with a sense of foreboding. Freezing winter is lurking somewhere out there.

Once again change brings mixed emotions. On the one hand I’m starting to make lists of all the things I will accomplish when Jack returns to school. On the other hand, I’ll miss him terribly when he first goes back.

Playing with their matching Transformers

For now all I can do is try to squeeze as much fun and enjoyment out of what little time I have left of good weather and days with no place to be.

Yesterday was Japo’s last day in Chicago. I took full advantage by having another play date for Jack with Kaden. At this age, having another kid to look after actually makes my life easier. Especially when the kid is an angel.

I’m hoping all these school mate play dates will help Jack get more excited about going back to school. He’s already asking when it’s time to go back so maybe it’s working. Or maybe he’s just sick of me!

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Japo Visit the Morton Arboretum

Today we took Japo out of the hustle and bustle of city living and into nature.

I know I keep saying how much I love this place, but each time I go we have yet another new and completely different experience. The crazy part is that we’ve seen less than 10% of what it has to offer.

Japo and Jack in the Children's Garden

Japo loved the perfect temperature. She also enjoyed seeing the Arboretum because it satifisied one of her favorite hobbies – exploring new places. Jack and Ben’s favorite part of the day was spending time with Papa.

Do it Again, Papa!

Adam takes Jack for Soccer Practice

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Sugar Filled Fun

Today was another one of those days that was jam packed with fun and candy with a few pizzas and hot dogs in between.

We started the day with breakfast at Feast. We love the Bucktown location, noticed they opened on the Gold Coast, and thought we ought to check it out. Yummy. If there was a kid menu for breakfast we never got it but it didn’t matter, one regular meal and some sides worked perfectly for the kids.

After we attended Logan’s birthday at Chuck E Cheese. It brought back loads of childhood memories.

Remember these Scary Characters?

It also brought pizza, cake, and cookies. Jack and Ben amassed 360 tickets, enough for a monster truck and candy. Japo sharked the coin tables and managed to get us our longest strip of tickets by strategic coin dropping.

From went from party to party. Next on the agenda was our annual Block Party. Dayton Street rocks. Band, Kegs, BBQ, Bike Parade, Pie Eating Contest, Face Painting, Arts and Crafts, Bouncy House, Pinata, Magician, Ice Cream Truck and the most delicious treats from Charlie Trotter. Every year he delights us with something new and different. I saw watermelon juice with rum, oysters, brownies but I’m sure there was more that I missed.

The kids absolutely loved the Magician, The Great Scott. He was silly funny and very interactive.

The Great Scott Captivates

If you want to see real fun just do what we did tonight, get them all sugared up on cotton candy, ice cream and candy then throw them in a bouncy house. Jack’s buddy Roya held her own in a house full of boys. After seeing her take Jack down again and again in the tent, I’m considering signing him up for her Tai Kwan Do lessons!

Roya the Tai Kwan Do Master

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The Purple Pig

Mom and I out for a night on the town

Last night Mom and I went out to dinner for her birthday. She turned a whopping 73 but doesn’t act a day over 30.

The choice of dining venue proves it. Even though I live in Chicago, Mom found this restaurant and had to inform me about it!

The Purple Pig was the most innovative and exotic place I’d eaten in a long time. We actually had to get my iPhone out and look up some of the words in the descriptions to figure out what it was.

The fare was heavy on the pork items. I got the feeling they just ordered the entire pig from the butcher and found a way to use it all. Pork ears, bone marrow, pig tail were a few of the things I remember from the menu.

I especially like the section labeled ‘Fried Foods’. Why bother hiding them under another label like ‘Appetizers’?

Everything we tried was delicious. If you are looking for an unusual experience and are not Jewish, I highly suggest this place. We arrived around 6:30 on a Friday night and there was about an hour wait. Also the restaurant will validate for discounted parking at NorthBridge or 50 East Erie.

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Hanging in the Loop

Once again we were all boys, 9 of us together. I often wonder what it would be like if we all had girls. Would the goal of the day every day still be finding a space for them to exercise like mad in the hopes of tiring our kids out as much as possible? Or could we all just sit nicely doing arts and crafts?

We tried to do the Millennium Park Family Fun Festival but sadly it was over. Another sign summer is ending soon.

We still managed to find our own fun.

Surprsingly, after throwing their Transformers for a while, Jack's STARTED working again.

Ben also found ways to occupy himself.

Tree Hugger

We ended the morning at the Elusive Pirate Park. After spending the day at the beach yesterday and this morning walking the streets of Chicago, we thoroughly tired Japo out!

The Boys at the Pirate Park


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More Summer Fun

It’s been a few days since I’ve blogged, which some may take to mean we are not busy. But in fact we continue at our frantic pace, perhaps it’s been too frantic for me to have any deep observations. Or maybe it’s because we have been trolling around our old haunts again so it doesn’t feel blog worthy.

Either way, for those of you interested, here is what we’ve been up to…

Friday morning at Fellger Park…

"Cindy teaching the boys to Gamble" - Pam

Followed by Emma Bornstien’s 5th birthday party at Pump it up…

Emma's 5th Bday, Pump It Up

Saturday was rainy so we hit the Children’s Museum for a bit. Then back home for naps and a trip to Epic Burger for dinner. The burgers (I had the Portabello Burger) were tasty, the fries soggy, and the service epically bad. I was accused of taking a drink cup that I was never given, we were given the wrong number then given the wrong food, then got that number taken from us but no new number so our food just sat there. Oh, and our order was taken wrong too. Here in Chicago we are so spoiled for choice that unfortunately one bad experience is enough to turn us away forever. The manager did give us a $10 coupon for our troubles, so maybe if we ever get around to using it things will be better.

Sunday we took the boys swimming. No photos allowed at the EBC, sorry. The afternoon was so lovely we decided to visit Oz Park for some T-Bal practice, playground and dinner picnic.

Batter Up!

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A Full Day

So much happened today that, when I look backed at my pictures today it reminded me of things I had already forgot about.

Like the free air show we got when we visited the zoo this morning. Fighter jets buzzed the area all morning. It was quite a juxtaposition.

Ben was obsessed with seeing the Camels today

It was a full morning. We were met by our friends the Lafayettes and the Hutchinsons, all with kids younger than Jack. I was pleased to see that Jack is not a snob about play mates. Even if they are Ben’s age or younger, he still enjoys and can find ways to play together. Ben on the other hand is still displaying Mice and Men Lennie-like behavior. He likes to hug everyone he knows, unfortunately he doesn’t know his own strength and always makes them cry. Hopefully it will pass soon, as these disagreeable habits in your child’s development eventually do.

In the afternoon we met six other families at Adam’s Park for another concert. Ben surprised me yet again with his fearlessness and quick learning ability by climbing this structure over and over again without help…

Fancy Footwork for a 2 Year Old

Meanwhile, Jack and his buddies played in the water park…

Jack with Zack, Oscar, and Angus

And if that wasn’t enough fun, we ordered pizzas and picnicked. Then we stayed to listen to the Dave Rudolf concert. Ben was so moved by the music he ran over and danced alone to the warm up.

Congo Line

We got home so late that I had to skip the bath. All I had time for was a quick wet wipes wipe down before bed. Not my best Mom moment but sometimes you just got to put fun before clean.

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Nothing can be Everything

For all my talk of fun places to visit in Chicago, sometimes the best thing to do is go exploring all the wide open green spaces along the lakefront.

Gang of Four

Jack and Angus have gotten to an age where they make their own fun. From all my parenting books I’ve learned that free wheeling, creative play promotes executive function, the thing that later on teaches you self-regulation. Today they ‘shot’ dragonflies, pretended to put Ben in hot lava and turned Max into ice.

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