I have no idea what’s going on. Perhaps it’s because for once I managed to buy Jack’s sled BEFORE they ran out of them at the stores. Where is the cold weather and snow? Pregnancy over a Chicago winter should be the best. But it’s been so warm I’m basically walking around with saddle bags under my arm pits.

Freeze Tag with the Hutchisons - No Gloves or Hats Necessary!

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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.)


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A Week of Play Dates

This week’s bout of great weather, soon to be over, coupled with the fact that the life as I know it, also soon to be over, put a fire in me this week.

We spent the whole week at parks, meeting up with friends and enjoying the good weather….

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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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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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Friendship is a funny thing. I’ve lived so many different lives in so many different cities and I’ve picked people up every place I’ve been. Some have stayed around and some have disappeared. You never know who will become a real friend and who won’t for many years after meeting the person. But no matter how many people I meet, there is nothing more heartwarming about the feeling you get when you realize someone is becoming a good friend. That ‘ah-ha’ moment when it dawns on you that this person has some staying power.

Jack and Grant at the Morton Arboretum, May 2010

I had that feeling today when a friend of mine shlepped 45 minutes to the Morton Arboretum to meet us. She gave birth to her third child nine days ago. Nine days ago! And it’s her third! And it’s 45 minutes away! Her oldest is Jack’s age and I’m pleased to say joining him next year at his pre-school. Her second is Ben’s age. I missed the boat on matching our third kids together. Maybe I’ll catch up for her fourth?

Jack and Grant at the Morton Arboretum, August 2011

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Blueberry Picking

I know what you are thinking. After Strawberry picking, why would I subject myself to another round of manual labor, followed by the challenge of trying to consume a huge vat of the same fruit again?

The answer? I have no idea.

I must admit I approached today (which was well over 90°), with trepidation. I envisioned another day where I not only did manual labor, but over paid for the privilege in expensive fruit.

Well, I was delighted to learn that blueberries, unlike strawberries, do not grow on the ground. You do not need to crouch over in the heat to pick them. Much nicer to stand and forage than squat. Although they don’t fill a bucket as easily as an apple, they don’t cost an arm and a leg either.

Ben ate every blueberry he could pick, even the green ones.

Our friends, the Hutchinsons invited us on an annual tradition they have with a group of lovely friends of theirs.

The Hutchinson 4, soon to be 5...

They organize a trip to State Line Blueberries in Michigan City, IN. It took about 1 and 1/2 hours to get there, or in kid terms, the length of one movie.

In the end, after a chat about our upcoming vacation and the fact that we completely over picked with strawberries, we ended up with a 10 pound bucket of blueberries. What I learned from this is that we don’t learn from past mistakes, even after we talk about how we should learn from them.

The cost? $15 for TEN POUNDS! And that does not include all the free ones we stuffed in our faces before we paid!

State Line Blueberries

After all the doubt I will say we had a lovely time. Living in big cities for over 15 years can really make a person appreciate fresh air, open space, and the simple pleasure of gardening. Best of all, big city or not, it is always a joy spending the day with friends.


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