One of the things that I enjoy about Chicago(land) is that we have family here. The Dad's brothers, parents, cousins and a couple of sets of aunts-and-uncles all reside in the Chicago area. Grandma and Grandpa Naperville are really only an hour's drive away, making them active participants in The Boy, The Girl and The Baby's lives.
Today, The Mom (that would be me) got a wee break from her job as chief activities director for The Boy and The Girl. The Dad took them both to see their grandparents for lunch. Their cousins and uncle were also at lunch, so they had a great time eating chicken nuggets and broccoli and running around with K. and Z. Afterwards, they both attended a birthday party at Pump It Up in Lisle. The Boy, The Girl and their peers seem to think that Pump It Up -- a carpeted cinderblock warehouse painted bright colors and filled with giant bouncy castles and air-filled slides -- is a slice of heaven. It tires them out. Heck, it tires me out. It tired The Dad out, too. He reported that he and The Girl played stop/go for 20 minutes straight, racing from one end of the room to the other. The Boy spent most of his time in the bouncy castles.
Meanwhile, back in the city, The Baby and I hung out. He nursed and napped. I took advantage of everyone else being out of the house and mopped the wood floors. Afterward, I strapped The Baby into my Catbird Baby and walked over to a friend's house in Old Irving Park to attend a home-show MLM extraordinaire party (purses, Arbonne, Lia Sophia jewelry). Normally, I loathe going to buy-something parties, but I like this crowd so I went. One exhibitor was selling purses made by Lola and Dreamworks, both of which manufacture their goods inside the city of Chicago, a practice that I respect and would like to support.
By the end of the party, The Dad and crew was back from the suburbs. He picked me up in The Great White Moose. I dropped him at home so that he could take a nap and took The Boy, The Girl and The Baby to an ice cream social and jam with Julie session at Kolmar Playlot. It was a mini Mother's Day Out reunion at the playlot, and despite the fact that we live about a mile east of the park, we knew many of the people there. The Boy dug in the sand with some pals from MDO. The Girl spun in circles during Julie's singalong. The Baby alternately slept, nursed and cried, although he did let my friend P. hold him for a bit. During Julie's set, I looked around and saw many happy moms and dads playing with or snuggling their kids, singing along, or chatting quietly with neighbors. It struck me as very middle-America. If it had been photographed, few people would believe that the scene was at a park in the third largest city in the United States.