Aaron’s First Lost tooth

Yesterday Aaron lost his very first tooth. At lunch time at school.IMG_8095

Thanks to his lucky position in the family hierarchy, this was cause for considerable excitement and absolutely no fear. He’d been watching his brother’s collect the spoils from the tooth fairy for years.

Sam realized he will be next and in his usual cautious, thoughtful nature asked Aaron if he still felt the tooth now that it was in the little box.

For Aaron’s induction into tooth fairy hunts, a bunch of big, scary toys that he likes to play with offered him clues.DSC_0993 DSC_0994 DSC_0995 DSC_1002

I was really worried Aaron’s first tooth fairy hunt would be ruined by his older excited, hyper brothers trying to “help” him. (Really what happens is they figure out the clues first then take over the entire hunt.)

Luckily, Jack was distracted, binge watching teeny bop shows on Netflix and Ben was still asleep (he refused to go to bed until 10pm, kept leaving his bed, and almost figured out who the real tooth fairy is!).

At first Aaron got to hunt all by himself.


Soon Sam joined, but was very amicable about letting Aaron find the next clues for himself.DSC_1010

Aaron was very happy to receive his 10 single bills from this Yeti, which he crumpled and stuffed into his pockets with relish. I’m sure I’ll inadvertently wash them later.

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Super Powers

“Batman’s superpower is that he can fly.” Said Sam one morning on the way to school.

“Really? I thought he couldn’t fly. That everything was man made. I’m pretty sure the only super power Batman has is that he’s super rich.” I replied.

Then we went onto discuss which super heros have which powers.

Finally I asked, “If you could have any super power, what would it be Sam?”

“Super strong.” He answered without much deliberation.

“Aaron?” I turned around and asked my plodding son.

“To Fly.” He replied. Then later he said, “No, to Smash, like the Hulk.”

“Well, I think Aaron’s super power is that he’s super tough. He was super tough when he got bit by another student yesterday.” I said.

“And Sam, I think your super power is that your super cute. Irresistible!” I said.

“NOoooooo!” Sam said back.

But then we got to school, and into the morning line up…IMG_8078

“See,” I whispered in Sam’s ear as he was walking into school, “I told you, you are super cute!”

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Apple Picking 2017

Last Sunday we headed out to our favorite orchard, Oriole Springs in Wisconsin, for a morning of apple picking.

This year we planned it a little earlier and as a result of this and the heat wave it felt like summer.DSC_0920 DSC_0927

Still the boys did their part, we picked honey crisp, gala and golden delicious.DSC_0934

Double Fisted

Double Fisted

One of the perks of the weather was that we weren’t swarmed by bees.

Afterwards the boys played in their picnic area.DSC_0959

Eeenie Meenie Miney Mo

Eeenie Meenie Miney Mo

And checked out the animals.DSC_0969

We also sampled the brats, hot dogs, and local donuts.DSC_0960 DSC_0961

Now, what do do with all these apples?DSC_0970

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Food Porn

You have been warned by the title, this blog post contains food porn…

As I mentioned before, I’ve been spending some of my free time enjoying all the diverse food this city has to offer.

Chicago is a culinary wonder. The Washington Post named it in it’s 10 Best Food Cities in America. It places higher than New York!

And with more than 73,000 restaurants in Chicago, I’ve had my choice of just about any cuisine for lunch every day.

Here are some of the places I’ve been this past month…

Nando’s Peri Peri Chicken. (Portugal)

Nando's Peri Peri Chicken

Hakka Bakka’s Lamb Kati Roll. (India)

Hakka Bakka's Lamb Kati Roll

Traditional Vietmanese Beef Soup from Fuh.


New York Style thin crust from Cafe Luigi’s.

Thin Crust Pizza from Luigi's

Quiche from Floriole. (French)

Quiche from Floriole

Thai Basil Chicken and Bubble Tea from Joy Yee Noodles. (Thailand)

Thai Basil Chicken and Bubble Tea from Joy Yee Noodles

Reuben from The Corned Beef Factory. (The Midwest?)

Reuben from The Corned Beef Factory

Lentil Soup and an “Ava” Sandwich (spinach, avocado, bacon, swiss, mozzarella, havarti, green tomato relish, kale pesto, multigrain bread) from Blue Door Farm Stand.IMG_8045

Patties from Caribbean American Bakery (Jamaica)IMG_8071

Wonder what next month will bring?

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Shana Tovah 5778

Yesterday we celebrated the Jewish New Year.

Unlike previous years, when just Jack went to temple, this year Adam wanted all the kids to participate.

So we scrounged the closets for all the years of fancy clothes that originated with Jack. Then Adam went one night after work and got Jack another set which he will definitely outgrow before he needs them again!DSC_0833

We took them to the children’s service. It was an hour long service full of song, stories and the blowing of the shofar. At one point they invited kids with their own shofars to go up and blow them. It was really cute.

Most of the kids did surprisingly well.

Jack played the all knowing, Hebrew school going, big brother. He pointed out the intricate architecture of the temple to the twins. “Don’t worry,” he told Ben, “We don’t read this whole book, we just skip through it.”

The twins stood and sat when asked. And they fidgeted quietly in their own seats. Or appropriately whispered.

Ben had a tougher time. He left the room at one point. Then he came back, but when he did he laid in front of us on the ground instead of sitting. The room was filled with people with kids so no one blinked an eye when they had to step over him to bring a smaller bladdered person to the bathroom.

Then, after that it was back home for homework and lunch.

In the afternoon we took advantage of the scorching heat and headed to the beach.

There was a lot of burying and sand play.DSC_0869 (1) DSC_0872 DSC_0878

And ice cream.DSC_0884

And fun in the water, including a few races.DSC_0855 DSC_0909 DSC_0900

Afterwards, we showered up and headed out for a nice dinner.

Shine Restaurant

Shine Restaurant

Wishing all who celebrate a very happy new year!

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Seems like whoever I run into nowadays is very curious about my newly acquired free time.

During the day I now have 6 hours free, five days a week to do what I want.

In the past two weeks, most days have fallen into a pattern.

After the crazy morning rush, I come home, drink a coffee and read some of my New Yorker Magazine. It was one of the things I had to give up when we had kids. There simply was no time to read for pleasure. Right before school started, I happily renewed my subscription.

Then, I’m off for a run. Last year my friend Jennie sent me my first podcast. It was a life changing listen. Not only because it altered my eating habits but also it opened my eyes to the wide world of podcasts.

Jennie is a friend of mine from my college days. She is a mother of two, an occupational therapist, grows her own organic veggies, and is in the processing of publishing her first book. She has become my guru on all of these things. She is always on the lookout for ways to help Ben with his sensory processing disorder.

When she heard this podcast on the Rich Roll Show, interviewing Rhonda Patrick, LONGEVITY, EPIGENETICS, MICROBIOME HEALTH & THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN EATING FOR LONG-TERM WELLNESS VERSUS PERFORMANCE, she thought of me. You can read all about Rhonda Patrick on her website, Found My Fitness.

I think I’ve sent this podcast to about 12 people. It’s really worth a listen.

Then, once I figured out how podcasting worked, I started listening to them every time I ran. So far, these are my top 5 podcasts:

  1. Radiolab. They describe themselves as, “A show about curiosity. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience.”
  2. This American Life. On their ‘about us’ page they seem to have trouble deciding what they are about. But it’s interesting and entertaining journalism, which is proven by the fact that they are the most popular podcast in the country.
  3. Serial. An American Life spin off, there are two seasons of Serial. This first one, on Adnan Syed, a man accused of murder, goes through the evidence to see if he is innocent or guilty. The second is about Bowe Bergdahl, the soldier held captive by the Taliban for 5 years.
  4. S-Town. A spin off of Serial about the life of John B. McLemore.
  5. Rough Translation. It’s about how the issues we talk about in America are talked about abroad.

After this, I shower up, and head out for a nice lunch. I’m trying to eat my way across the globe, without leaving the city of Chicago. Don’t worry, that blog is coming soon.

Finally I have an hour or two which I have so far spent mostly running errands, at the grocery store, the hair salon, at the kids school volunteering.

My house is still a mess, but every time I open a cabinet and everything falls out on top of me I take a deep breath and remind myself I can do it when winter comes. As Adam says, “What’s the rush? You have 10 years to organize this stuff.”

It may take me that long.

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First Day of School

Last Tuesday, half of the lives of the people in this house changed forever.

The twins started kindergarten.DSC_0793

My mother could barely contain her excitement! She restrained herself from calling me to find out how it went.

A day later, I finally called and told her.

Sam was so nervous that he woke up at 2am the night before and never went back to bed.

Aaron slept well, woke early and had his clothes, shoes and backpack on my 7am and was asking when we were leaving. (School doesn’t start until 9!)

Afterschool I asked Camila to pick them up. I did tell Sam and Aaron about it but it was a lot of new experiences so maybe they didn’t hear me.

At 4pm I got facetimed by Camila. When I answered, Sam was crying hysterically. He said the teacher told him I was going to pick him up and he was not leaving until I came and got him!

Finally she coaxed him into the stroller and I met him at home.

Sam couldn’t remember anything that happened that day. He also left his lunchbox at school.

Aaron, on the other hand, told me everything he learned. Don’t open the kindergarten door for any reason, even if someone knocks. If you have to go potty durning story time, they will not rewind the story. He even managed to get a free school lunch!

The next morning I spoke to Sam’s classroom aide who said he was wandering around like a zombie on the first day, eyes half closed but refusing to sleep.

The twins are in separate classes and so far it seems their schedule does not have any overlap. This is a language school and they have started a nine year study towards fluency in Mandarin.

The twins finally starting school also means a big change for me. After 10 years of not having any time by myself unless I paid for it or begged it from my husband, I get 6 glorious hours to myself every day, 5 days a week, for 10 months a year.

That morning I got emails and text from many well wishers on my new found freedom.

What will I do with all this free time? Stay tuned loyal readers, stay tuned….

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Field Museum

This week many of the city’s museums are free for Chicago Public Schools.

Normally with Ben I avoid situations like this, as they sound overcrowded and therefore stressful for him.

But Ben is back in school so I tried it out with the three other kids.

I picked the Field Museum because chances of me buying a membership is pretty slim. DSC_0724

The day I picked was all a free day to all Chicago residents.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t overcrowded. I makes me think I should check out more museum free days in Chicago!

The kids really enjoyed seeing Sue, though I hear she will soon be replaced by Titanosaur, a $16.5 million dollar gift from Ken Griffin, Illinois richest man.DSC_0725

First we walked the “Evolving Planet” exhibit. The kids loved all the fossils, and this time they didn’t run through it like they normally do. They actually stopped and hopefully learned a few things. DSC_0733 DSC_0734

This exhibit starts in time, 3.5 billion years ago and leads us to the present. It has some amazing fossils.

Sitting on a dinosaur bone!

Sitting on a dinosaur bone!

I was quite alarmed to walk through and see at that 6 mass extinctions have already occurred on earth. Makes me wonder when the next apocalypse will be!

They also wanted to check out the Ancient Egyptian exhibit, to which I thank the creators of Scooby Doo for. After watching “Where is my Mummy” a thousand times, they were ripe with curiousity.DSC_0741

We also spent time in the Regenstein Halls of the Pacific.

Look and Find exhibit

Look and Find exhibit

As well as the Crown Family Play Lab.

Playing with in the Pueblo Home.

Playing with in the Pueblo Home.

Discovering specimens

Discovering specimens

Excavating bones

Excavating bones

Hanging out in a Dinosaur nest.

Hanging out in a Dinosaur nest.

The music room.

The music room.

The music room.

The music room.

The kids were exhausted after just 3 hours, so we stopped for a pretzel in the lawn outside.

The Willis Tower (formerly Sears) in the background.

The Willis Tower (formerly Sears) in the background.

It was a wonderful day out. How lucky are we to have this right in our backyard?

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