Once again this year we attended the Midnight Circus in the Parks.
Where’s Waldo-esqe photo of us at the Circus with Camerons, Bornsteins, Pasquiers, & Weinrebs.
Aaron performs some contortionist moves too!
Last year we checked out the show at Commercial Park. This year, Welles Park. I’ve never been to Welles park before and was pleasantly surprised. As long as I’ve lived here Chicago continues to astound and delight me with all it has to offer. Yet another big, open green space right in the city! On our way in we noticed baseball fields, a gazebo, an indoor pool and TWO playgrounds. In reality it must be much bigger than we what we saw because they website also boasts volleyball courts, tennis courts, picnic groves, meeting space, horseshoe pits, concessions, soccer and football areas.
Adam must emit some sort of valium like vapor because whenever he carries or holds the kids they seem to fall asleep on him. First Sam fell victim. We put the snoozing Sam in the car seat and Ben took the next hit. So Adam ended up sitting outside of the tent with Ben asleep on a bench for most of the performance. No idle hands in our family, though. He used the time to feed Sam his evening bottle while I watched the other two kids inside the tent.
The performance didn’t change much from last year but I don’t think the kids minded it at all. The tickets were $15 a head and I thought it was a really nice, unusual way to spend an afternoon.
By the way Moms, we hit Weisman Park Tuesday morning for a play date and found the water on. The weather has been so hot this year, it’s a great thing to keep in mind.
I tried to add the Map for Weisman Park, but couldn’t figure it out. Weird, I used to know how to do it. Too tired and pressed for time to figure it out right now. So here is a link.
It’s close to the brown line, by the Wellington stop. No bathrooms, but shops nearby. It features picnic benches, an unusual water feature that I haven’t seen anywhere else, two different play structures, a tiny house, a train, swings, soft surface and a bit of fake grass. Small enough to see your kids from anywhere in the park and most importantly, fully fenced off with only one entrance.
Ready for the Easter Egg Hunt!
I love that my Jewish husband has no problem celebrating Passover Saturday night, then joining our Christian friends for an Easter Egg hunt the next morning.
Unlike last year, Ben needed no help finding eggs.
Since I didn’t grow up in the Jewish faith, I think it would be upsetting to have my kids miss out on the fun things Christians get to do. Like egg hunts.
This was our third year organizing the Easter Egg hunt. This year we expanded the amount of families. And the amount of toys. There was still plenty of eggs to find. And all the toys: croquet, T-ball, soccer, kites, bubbles, and more were all put to good use.
Jack manages to fill his entire basket!
In the three years we organized the hunt, I was pregnant twice. But this time, birth is much more eminent. And I’m as big as a house. Adam insisted on bringing lawn chairs for me instead of trying to find a comfortable position on the blanket. I sat in lawn chair the entire time, except when I got up to find the port-a-potty. Everyone pitched in to help with our kids. If Adam was covering Jack and Ben ran off, another adult quickly brought him back. No one let me carry anything. I was very grateful for the help.
I told my father about our plans for the day and he reminisced about taking my sister and I to Easter Egg hunts when we were kids. He said they would line the kids up by age group. When it was my sister’s group they shot the gun to start the hunt (Yes, they shot a gun. It’s Florida, people.) and my sister took off running. When my turn came, they shot the gun and everyone started running except for me. I stood at the starting line looking up at the sky, day dreaming. I don’t think Jack and Ben inherited any of my lackadaisical disposition, thank goodness!
Pot Luck Picnic Spread
Emma as One of the 10 Plagues (Locust)
Passover is traditionally Bubbie’s holiday, but this year Bubbie was in Los Angeles celebrating with her daughter and kids.
Which freed us up to spend the evening with the Bornsteins. They have a daughter around Jack’s age and twins a little younger than Ben.
They are a very helpful couple for telling us what to watch out for in the future with twins. For example, your mini van is much bigger than your last car so do not to side swipe it when you are driving it in a state of utter exhaustion.
They put out a huge effort for the occasion. Not only did they host but they got passover games, masks and puppets for the kids.
Joseph our Master of Ceremonies
The kids managed to sit though the entire ceremony, thanks in large part to Joseph’s mix of speed reading and ability to keep the kids involved in the event.
The kids ate a surprising variety of stuff they don’t normally eat, especially Ben who took an entire potato latke and mashed it into his mouth one bite at a time.
Shortly after dinner, with their bellies full, all the kids started a screaming, full speed run up and down the hallway. Amazing how a full belly can make kids silly. And that was before the macaroon and chocolate cake dessert.
Over all it was a huge success and I was glad to see that even if Bubbie can’t host it, we still have friends that can help make this occasion special for our kids.
Apple Sauce and Yarmulkas
South Lakeview Park
Also called the “Blue Playground”, this is another little gem introduced to me by my friend Jennifer that I never would have found without her. She does have an advantage – her husband works for the park district!
Chicago is so great about keeping their parks clean and new. This park has the new soft surface (as oppose to the older wood chip ground cover) so critical for parents with kids who are at the age where they put everything in their mouth.
Picnic Lunch with the Camerons and Bornsteins
There are three different play structures, two swing sets, a couple of picnic tables, a gazebo and some park benches. Also a basketball net for older kids, or a place for younger kids to bring things like bikes and scooters. There is also a big, long maze-like hedge that Jack and Ben love to run in.
No bathrooms, but plenty of free parking.
Ironically we spent Christmas day celebrating Hanukkah with our friends…
Ben is eating the gelt without taking the gold wrapping off!
My Birthday Play Date
When you are pregnant, it really rules out a lot of options you normally consider doing on your birthday. Like drinking. Or staying out late.
But some things never change, like wanted to spend time with your good friends.
So that’s what we did. A play date with all of my girlfriends and their kids. (Those that don’t have jobs on a Tuesday afternoon, anyway.)
This year we celebrated a little differently than in previous years. We added 15 more people! You would think this would add a lot of stress to the preparations, but actually it made everything much easier.
Pam's Pumpkin Pies
We decided to do pot-luck. Not only did this drastically reduce the amount of hours my mom and I slaved in front of the stove, but it added another great surprise. People all have their special dishes that they do really well. We got the best of the best. My mother’s cranberry chutney and sweet potato casserole. Cindy’s stuffing and famous cookies. Pam’s white chocolate pumpkin pie. Bubbie’s apple pie.
I’m hoping it was more fun for the adults. I know the kids had a blast. At one point Adam decided it was time to use the piñata that his mother’s gave us for Halloween. All the kids left with another bag full of candy. In fact, I don’t think Ben ate anything last night besides candy and cookies!
Adam also gave a touching speech about how it’s all about friends and family in life. I was amazed how coherent it was considering he once again woke up that morning at 3am to go to the office and worked a 12 hour day before coming home to a house full of screaming, running, laughing kids.
I know lots of you reading aren’t living in America, but for those who are American or living here, I hope you had a good Thanksgiving.
Yesterday I picked Jack up from school and he asked me, “Can we have a play date this afternoon?”
“Jack,” I answered, “Play dates don’t just appear out of thin air. You have to plan them. It’s too late to get a play date now.”
So we went home. Put on Cars 2. A few minutes later, the door bell rang. It was my friend Jennifer with her three kids!
“Can we come over and play?” She asked. “We had a play date down the street but it was cancelled.”
I stand corrected. I guess play dates do appear out of thin air.
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.