Friday, August 31, 2007

What's His Name? How Should I Know?

He's an imaginary rhino.

On Sunday, the whole family went out to Morton Arboretum for the Justin Roberts concert. Unlike our attempt to see the same tour at Ravinia earlier in the summer, we made it to the Arb in just over 30 minutes and were a bit early for the 3 p.m. show. It was a fantastic concert! Although it was hot and a bit muggy (lots of mosquitos after all the rain last week), the venue was perfect -- a large grassy field with lots of room for bouncing around and playing -- and it was not too crowded or fussy. We sat near the back of the field, and because we got there too late to score any of the tree-shaded spots, pitched our beach umbrella in the grass to give ourselves some shade. We ate lunch at home, but I brought a snack of fresh blueberries and yoghurt pretzels and water. The Arb had a few food/drink tents set up, so I bought a strawberry smoothie to share with The Boy and The Girl, and The Dad had a beer.

The concert was the final one in a series of family concerts put on my the Arboretum. The marketing guy who introduced Justin Roberts referred to him/the group as The Real Thing -- a professional band that was of the early pioneers of kid-rock that appeals to the parents, too, and
a group of people who really bring passion to their work. I wholeheartedly agree. Everyone in our family had a great time at the concert -- The Girl, The Boy, The Dad, me, even The Baby enjoyed himself! We all danced and ran around and enthusiastically sang along with the band (as a consolation prize for missing all but the last 2 songs and the encore last month at Ravinia, we bought the new Justin Roberts CD, Meltdown, and memorized all the words within a week). We bought The Boy an overpriced concert tee ($15, but The Dad pointed out: "What concert tee isn't overpriced?") and he has worn it every other day since then. It's an almost-neon green; at least he's easy to spot in a crowd.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Today, we had a playgroup outing to Lincoln Park Zoo. It was a small crowd, which was a good thing because it gave me some good catch-up one-on-one time with R. and M. and their kids. I hadn't seen R., and her daughter, A., in quite awhile and as she is a college professor as well as mom to 8-month-old twins (and a 4-y/o girl), she always has good stories to tell. So does M., for that matter, and he delivers them in a wry manner. So it was a good time.

We started out at the zoo in the farm, and went directly into the barn to climb on the tractor (which M.'s son cleverly calls "John," as it is made by John Deere) and look at the bees through plexiglass, and compare our weight to the weight of pigs, goats and cows, and dig in recycled auto tires for plastic vegetables. After all that excitement, we walked over to the adjacent Green City Market to get some lunch. The Boy was not impressed with his jam crepe, although The Girl ate a good portion of her Butterkase and herb crepe. I gobbled my fresh peach crepe, and then polished off most of The Boy's lunch as well. I bought cookies to share, so The Boy basically ate sugar for lunch. Unsurprisingly, he was pretty crabby later. The Girl finished her crepe and then took off to run races against herself across Lincoln Park. It was funny to see her say "Ready? Set. Go!" to herself and take off running. The Baby slept peacefully in his stroller through most of this.

M., E. and A. had to take off after lunch, but R. and A. stuck around. We went back into the farm to see the goats and the cows, then meandered over to see the gorillas and ride the carousel ($2.50 per person, kids under 40" must be accompanied by a [paying] adult). The Girl did not want to ride the carousel, so I rode once with The Baby, The Boy and A. Since I had an extra ticket, The Boy and A. rode again. Then we all had a snack and some water on the benches around the carousel, kissed our friends good-bye, and went home.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

On Readership

Sometimes, I debate posting new and interesting things that we do around Chicago, for fear that these destinations will become overpopulated. But then I think: no one reads my blog. I recently discovered that this is not, in fact, true (Hi M&C!). Thanks for reading!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Mama Yoga

During a quick run to Target today with The Girl and The Baby, I ran into Kristen, my prenatal yoga instructor. Kristen herself is 37 weeks pregnant with her first; I hadn't seen her since I was 37 weeks pregnant with The Baby, having no occasion to go back to yoga class to show off my infant. Kristen told me that starting in October, the prenatal/postnatal yoga class at Galter Lifecenter will run on Wednesday evenings from 5:30-6:30 p.m. So pregnant women can come after work, or take advantage of the childcare facilities at the gym. I may actually be able to make a class on Wednesdays! I am no longer a member of Galter, but the non-member fee for pre/postnatal yoga is pretty reasonable and they do offer drop-in per-class rates.

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

Yesterday, I had a date with The Dad. We went to see the Cubs beat the pants off of the Cincinnati Reds at Wrigley Field. The Baby came with us and was alternately asleep on my lap and scared witless by thousands of screaming Cubs fans when they made a good play. Which, during this particular game, was quite often.

I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that this was my first Cubs game since returning to the City five years ago. But hey, I've been busy having and rearing babies, and despite the fact that baseball started out as a sport for the common people, Cubs tickets are (a) expensive and (b) hard to come by. I "won" these tickets in a silent auction that benefited the kids' Mother's Day Out co-operative program. In addition to this, I grew up on the south side (suburbs), so as a child, I defaulted to White Sox fandom, as Comiskey Park was much closer to our house and we therefore went to many Sox games. I was nearly 18 before I attended my first Cubs game - I still remember sitting in traffic on the Ike and craning my neck to see the field from the absolute last row/against the fence seats we had.

Before this game, my favorite thing about baseball was sitting in the sun, drinking beer and eating hot dogs and various other bad-for-you foods. I am not enough of a baseball fan to watch it on television. However, yesterday's game was quite riveting. We had great seats -- on the upper deck, just below and to the left of the announcers box. We were basically right behind home plate -- and could see everything except pop flies to left field. The weather was not typically Chicago-in-August weather; instead, it was in the low 70s and overcast.

I also really enjoyed the all-stadium sing-along, "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," a Harry Carey original. I think The Boy would love it. Maybe next year we will take him to his first Cubs game.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Keeping Cool

Yesterday, The Boy, The Girl, The Baby and I splashed around the water park at River Park, located near Foster and Francisco, across the street from the Galter Lifecenter and Swedish Covenant Hospital. It was such a nice change from the water park and zero-depth pool at Portage Park, where there is invariably a line, a crowd and a trio of cranky lifeguards. In contrast, the water park at River Park featured an open gate and no lifeguards -- just a handful of kids romping in the sprinklers above a foam floor painted bright blue and a big red button on the side to turn said sprinklers on.

The Boy had a fantastic time. He was quite waterlogged at the end, after playing slip-n-slide through the center fountain with a pair of 8-year-old boys. We went with both our neighbors, D. and H. and their grandmother, and our friends B., S. and F. D's grandmother brought a zippered pouch full of sand/water toys, and the kids had a great time altogether with the toys, bringing us moms buckets full of cold water to pour on our feet while we supervised from a wide black bench located within the gates of the water park. The Girl, D. and S. were all running around holding hands, as little girls are wont to do. We all had a picnic lunch on towels spread out on the grass just across from the water area; all the kids ran races in their bathing suits. The Baby cried every time I went through the misters to cool off. Next year, I predict that he'll be toddling through the sprinklers like a little mad man.

We walked over to this park from B., S., and F.'s house, a distance of about a mile, so I got my exercise -- pushing a stroller with two kids in it while carrying a baby strapped to my chest -- in as well.