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

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

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

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

Zoo Lights

Zoo Lights, Lincoln Park Zoo

Last night we decided to visit the Lincoln Park Zoo for their annual Zoo Lights.

It was unusually warm which made it very pleasant to be outside. Unfortunately everyone else had the same idea as us. Or maybe it was because it was opening night. Either way it was packed. A big open space with lots of exits, huge crowds and darkness are a lethal combo for a mom of young kids. I spend a lot of time screaming at them to stay close. I didn’t care if I looked like the crazy mom who yells. I wanted to see my kids at all times!!!

Roya and Ben riding the Train

The kids didn’t seem to mind. As long as they all had each other (we trolled around with 7 boys, ages 1 – 6 for most of the evening) they were happy. Mom tip: I finally told them to form a train. They held onto each other’s shoulders and shouted ‘choo-choo’ and ‘all-aboard’. It kept them all together which was a great relief to me.

The actual zoo lights are free but if you park in the lot it will cost you $17 for the first 3 hours. It’s pretty amazing what they’ve done and I highly suggest going down for a look. They run November 25–27, then again from December 2–4 and 9–11. Finally they open nightly starting December 16–January 1 (Closed Dec. 24 & 25).

Besides walking around to see the lights, you can also see ice carvings, do holiday crafts, see Santa and also see some animals. Lots of the indoor exhibits are open, as well as the train and carousel. The food kiosks like popcorn truck are open too.

Pin It

Thanksgiving 2011

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!

Kiddie Table

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.

Pin It

Living The Dream

Supera Park

Last week we met up with some friends at Supera Park. It’s amazing to watch how playground play has changed for Jack over the years. It used to be all about the swings and structures. Now it’s more about creative play in the open spaces. The structures are some days not used at all, or if they are, they are not used for the purpose intended. Nowadays a crawl space may become a jail. I often see the good guy/bad guy game complete with finger shooters. Jack only needs one friend there to have a lot of fun, and a lot of the time a group of kids his age will end up running around in hysterics pretending they are pirates or some kind of superhero.

Having grown up in a family of girls I find it all so fascinating. We never played these types of games. There was a lot of Barbies and playing house. Ironically it is not that dissimilar to what I do now. I guess you can say that I’m living the dream! Perhaps that is why I find my life so great. I’ve been practicing for it my whole life!

Must be so frustrating for most men. They grow up practicing to be super heros, pirates and good guys. They end up in front of some computer all day, sitting on their butts.

Pin It

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


Pin It