Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Hanging Around the Neighborhood

Before The Baby made his appearance, I washed and re-oiled the wooden bench on our front porch in a fit of nesting. Now that the weather has warmed up, we've been making good use of the bench. Mr. C., The Baby and I sit on the porch after dinner and/or after The Boy and/or The Girl have gone to bed. The Baby seems to like the ambient noise of the City. I like watching and visiting with neighbors and friends as they push strollers, walk dogs, come home from work, or head to the park.

I love my neighborhood. Although I do like to take my children on outings in and around Chicago, I also enjoy just hanging around the neighborhood in the spring, summer and early fall. It is small, friendly, and has a fair number of desirable amenities - I could use a couple of more restaurants, but it's probably better for my budget that there aren't a lot of choices. I love the green space and the architecture of the houses that my neighborhood offers. Also, people are generally friendly here. They are also generally long-time and/or committed residents. Although some houses do turn over rapidly, most do not. We have little old ladies for neighbors on three sides. Not only are they nice little old ladies who care about my kids and my family's general welfare, they've also lived here for 60+ years.

There are many kids in the neighborhood and we see quite a few on their way to the playground. Yesterday, The Girl "made friends" with a toddler girl who was walking with her mother past our house the the park. We all ended up at the park at the same time, and she and The Girl played with each other (mostly chasing back and forth on the bouncy bridge). We also ended up walking to/past our house at the same time and The Girl cried when the other girl had to go home. Today, The Girl played with a neighbor's 8-y/o for a long while; I am hoping to "hire" little L. to come play with The Girl and The Boy for a couple of hours/week over the summer so that I can do laundry and housework.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Baby Does IKEA

We took advantage of staying "in town" for the Memorial Day weekend by taking a trip to visit my brother-in-law in the suburbs today, with a little side trip to IKEA. It was The Baby's first non-utero visit to the big blue box.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Downtown for Mother's Day

Today was my first Mother's Day as a mother of three children. The Boy, The Girl, The Baby and Mr. C. and I went to the West Loop to have breakfast at one of our favorite places, Ina's Kitchen. Located just three blocks west of Harpo Studios, Ina serves several reliable and tasty dishes in an atmosphere that is warm and friendly. Her restaurant is incredibly kid-friendly, although the touches are subtle -- white paper and crayons over the tablecloths, an abundance of highchairs and boosters for the littlest ones, sliced bananas served on a plate before the meal arrives, kid drinks served in lidded coffee to-go cups. She also takes reservations, which cements her rank as my favorite breakfast place. Because anyone with kids knows that children are not likely to wait patiently with mom, dad and the throngs of coffee-toting hipsters standing outside The Bongo Room or Orange.

Afterwards, we headed over to Grant Park. We managed to snag street parking on Wabash, and walked over to Grant Park to check out what ended up being a rather lackluster display promoted as urban green gardens. We meandered around Grant Park for awhile, past Buckingham Fountain, which The Boy and The Girl had never before seen up close. Buckingham Fountain is one of the landmarks I remember most from my own youth, but Grant Park was much more of a happening place back then.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Birthday Flowers

The Girl turned 2 today. Since The Baby just recently made his appearance, we celebrated her birthday with a trip to the Morton Arboretum to play in the Children's Garden. Although Mr. C., The Boy and The Girl had all been to the Children's Garden before, I had not. In fact, before today, the only time I had visited Morton Arboretum altogether was at an online meet-up in 2003.

It was very nice! The Boy and the Girl had a fantastic time exploring all the different areas/scenes within the garden. The Boy did better in the treetop/ropes course-type areas. The Girl preferred the water elements. Despite being early spring, it was quite a hot day, so both kids found reprieve from the heat in the water areas of the garden. They both had a great time activating the statue-fountains in the lower part of the garden, to the point that they both got soaked and I had to go buy them each an arboretum t-shirt. There were lots of school-aged children on field trips visiting the garden that day, as well as plenty of toddlers and their mothers. The Children's Garden had many amenities for the moms-with-kids crowd: benches, a picnic area, clean bathrooms with changing tables, and water/Gatorade vending machines.

We will definitely visit the garden again this spring/summer. At $7/person, it's pretty cheap as far as Chicagoland attractions go.

Afterwards, we went to the Colonial Cafe with Grandma and Grandpa Naperville for lunch, presents and the best part of Colonial: ice cream!