The Past Two Weeks

Every night over the past two weeks I’ve thought about blogging about my day. Seems like each day held enough activity for it to be interesting, but since every day was the same, it made it hard for anything in particular to stand out.

In general, heres what’s been going on.

For the past two weeks Jack has had soccer camp from 9-12 at UIC Soccer Camp.

I think he really enjoyed it. He’s one of those kids who will not tell you a single thing about his day. I’m not sure if he doesn’t remember it or if it’s some innate guy thing to just experience it, don’t over analyze, and move on.

I knew soccer camp was a real guys thing when I dropped him off on the first day. His coach, Alex, found him playing with his soccer ball. Instead of introducing himself he stole the ball and started juggling. Jack face lit up. The entire time another boy was following Alex around, complaining that his shin guards hurt. Alex completely ignored him. I liked this guy’s style.

Ben didn't want to separate from Jack for soccer camp.

Ben didn’t want to separate from Jack for soccer camp.

He signed up with his buddy from school, Timmy. We did an exchange where Timmy’s parent’s drove Jack to camp and I picked the boys up. Timmy stayed with us until his mom got off work. I had a built in play date for Jack every day! It was awesome.

Water Squirters featured heavily these past two weeks. (On our back porch)

Water Squirters featured heavily these past two weeks. (On our back porch)

On the days she could, Anjelica came early so I could pick the boys up from soccer camp with Ben. Then we’d go to lunch, hit a park or hang out on the back deck sometimes with another set of boys that Jack, Ben and Timmy went to school with, Kaden and Chase.

In the Sandbox.

In the Sandbox.

Other friends joined us too, like the Camerons and the Weinrebs.

Other friends joined us too, like the Camerons and the Weinrebs.

Anjelica was so flexible with her time, thank goodness. She ended up working full time for the past 2 weeks. I didn’t make it easy for her either. After tiring the older boys out all afternoon, some days I would leave her with all four kids and go exercise. She was surprisingly unflustered by it.

All the other boys play games together with the water squirters, Ben prefers to water the flowers. (Weisman Park)

All the other boys play games together with the water squirters, Ben prefers to water the flowers. (Weisman Park)

On Monday my mom comes to help for the next two weeks. I’m really looking forward to having her here. Extra help! 24 hours a day! I can’t wait!

Pin It

Another Hectic Day

The morning started at 5:15am. Only this time it was not one of the kids waking me up, it was Adam.

He was getting up this early by choice. He was running the Soldier Field 10 race. If you are into running, it’s definitely one of the cooler races in Chicago. You end the race on the 50 yard line of Soldier Field, where the Chicago Bears play.

It was a good thing the race was so early, because we needed it to be over so we could make it to the suburbs for a Bar Mitzvah at 10am.

Planning was very precise. I packed everything I could and showered the night before. This morning Anjelica arrived at 8:30am. I exited 15 minutes later, and circled the streets just north of the race until I spotted Adam. Then we drove straight to Northbrook.

Adam changed in a parking lot 5 minutes from the Temple. His ‘bath’ consisted of a full body wipe down with baby wipes. Now every single member of our house has been given a bath this way, a method introduced to me by my friend Heather in Alaska who didn’t have kids at the time, and also didn’t have running water.

We made it to the temple just as the ceremony was starting. Payton Isberner was getting bar mitzvahed. His father and Adam have been friends since high school. Trips, shared jobs, bowling teams, racing competitions, and so much more. They have been a part of each other’s lives forever, but perhaps nothing says how deep it runs more than the fact that they were both the best man for each other’s weddings.

It was a beautiful ceremony. Payton gave a poignant yet humorous speech about the importance of his Tzedakah. Often, as part of their bar mitzvah, children will do an act of charity, called Tzedakah. He spent time volunteering at an Alzheimer’s facility.

Payton with his cousins Holly and Erin.

Payton with his cousins Holly and Erin.

I couldn’t help but relate it to our own lives. Jack is half way to having his own bar mitzvah. If the next 6 years go as quickly as these 6 years went, that will feel like it’s happening practically tomorrow.

With Vonda and Michelle.

With Vonda and Michelle.

Afterwards we were treated to Kaddish by the Isberners. It was great to see some friends I haven’t seen in a while. Sober. I think the last time I stood next to these two (see photo to the left) they were propping me up for my 40th birthday celebration.

Then off in the car again. I drove while Adam sat in the passenger seat in his suit, with his metal from the race around his neck, taking a work phone call. Talk about multitasking.

We arrived home, I relieved Anjelica (who seemed surprisingly unstressed about the entire day) while Adam worked for another hour in the car. I packed up the kids again and then we were off to Hamish’s 3rd Birthday. Adam barely had time to get out of his suit. Oh, and he took another call while I drove over.

More multi-tasking!

More multi-tasking!

Pam outdid herself, as usual. She put out a huge spread of yummy food for a very thoughtful monster themed party…



Store bought cakes made special with Pam's creative touches.

Store bought cakes made special with Pam’s creative touches.

There were also home made monster balloons that I caught the kids carelessly popping in the basement. And probably more that I missed because I was too busy chasing the twins.

And now my friends, I think it’s time to sit on the couch and prop my feet up for a few minutes. Soon it will be time to go to sleep, then wake up and do it all over again.

Pin It

Happy New Year!

Child Labor – Max squeezes Fresh OJ for Mimosas

I know it’s a bit late, but tonight Pam very graciously hosted us for our annual crepe new year party. Normally this is held on New Years Day but this year we were not here. Neither was the all important crepe maker.

It was a lovely way to spend the evening. It’s funny how your kids seem to be much less work when other kids are involved. Or perhaps it’s all the new toys. Well, I guess if I really think about it, it was probably the alcohol.

Whatever the reason, it works. The older kids went into the basement, never to been seen again (or not seen until dinner and dessert). It’s so nice that they are at an age where, whatever mischief they are getting up to, we don’t hear about it. Gone are the days of crying and tattling play dates. No more refereeing. This is not to say there shouldn’t be some crying and tattling. When Cindy went to check, she found Oscar in a closet with handcuffs on. He thought it was just as funny as the rest of the kids and I guess that makes it okay?

Pam and I in the party favors Allison brought.

The Crepe Master, Olivier.

Cindy Brings Cupcakes to Decorate. Ben Decides to Decorate his Tongue with Sprinkles instead.

Pin It

Apple Picking

I’m so happy we didn’t cancel this morning plans to go apple picking at Oriole Springs Orchard. There was much debate about the weather forecast. The website also made it seem like the pickings would not be great. In the end, neither concern was a problem.

Adam’s family has been going apple picking at the orchard for a long time and in the past few years we’ve been added more and more friends to come on our annual apple pilgrimage. This year the Camerons, Pasquiers, and Weinrebs joined us.

With Bubbie’s help, Ben showed great aptitude toward apple picking. Jack thought the orchard was a chance to run and play chasing games with his buddies. The twins, as usual, were as easy going as ever. Adam and I just strapped one on us each and they easily went with the flow.

Later on we hit the Harvest Time barn.

We bought a dozen donuts, brats, hot dogs, and more. I was surprised to find only ONE donut left in my box at the end of the day. My goodness, when the twins start tucking into food it’s going to be crazy the kind of volume we’ll go through.

After that pretty unhealthy lunch (Well, I guess it’s wasn’t totally unhealthy since we all helped ourselves to so many apples fresh from the trees beforehand that I’m sure we’ll all have runny tummies tonight. At one point Ben was eating three at once.) the kids ran and played in the open space.

There was a place to feed goats and pigs, a swing set, bales of hay to play in, and a little hill that the older kids decided would be a great place to pretend they were ‘Angry Birds’. They took turns being ‘the pig’ and rolled into each other and down the hill.

Jack got his first bee sting and he reacted like a champ. A bit of crying and then it was over. He’s pretty tough for a 5 year old. Or any age for that matter.

The Gang minus Sam, who was napping at the time.


Pin It

Midnight Circus

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.

Pin It

Weisman Park

Play date at Weisman ParkBy 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.

Pin It

Easter Sunday

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


Pin It

South Lakeview Park

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.

Pin It

Building Friendships

January 2012 - New Year's Brunch at the Cameron's

The new year is always a time to reflect, isn’t it? Seeing these three play together this morning made me realize how having kids has changed our lives.

April 2010 - Easter Egg Hunt

Josephine, Angus and Jack have been hanging out together since they were all in diapers. Okay, it wasn’t that long ago, but life without kids seems like another an eternity away from the life we’ve built for ourselves now.

March 2009 - Playdate at the Calisoff's

Because of them and many more, I’ve been very blessed to have built some great friendships of my own. I hope it continues for many more years to come.

Happy New Year! Wishing all who read this a great 2012!

Pin It

Happy Birthday to Me!

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.)


Pin It