...DON'T believe the reviews that say that the Irene Hernandez family picnic area near the north branch of the Chicago river is a pleasant spot to wade into the river.
I did. I believed it. And I've always wanted to find a place where we could wade around in the river. We go to Lake Michigan a lot, but the river sounded so fun. I remember liking the feeling of putting your feet into a river and stepping on rocks and feeling it rush past you.
I thought I'd be this nice nature-loving mom for the day and go hike around this little forest preserve area and let the kids splash in the river. But it didn't work out that way. We did our best. Claire wanted us to take pictures of every bug and bird. So we did that.
Sammy wanted to jump off every fallen log, so we did that.
And we took a few pictures looking like we were in a nice little forest or something. But in reality, the yard you had to cross from the parking lot was filled with foot-tall weeds which made everyone's ankles itch. Sammy and I seemed to be attracting giant monster-sized mosquitos, and poor Sam was bitten on the eyelid by one. And as we took a little walk through the trails, I started sneezing.
I mean I was sneezing about every other breath I took. I tried to keep acting fine, but then my eyes started burning and itching and my throat started feeling itchy and swollen. I kept itching things and rubbing my eyes and blowing my nose into our picnic blanket, (hadn't thought to bring kleenex).
I at least wanted the kids to get a chance to wade into this river since some online review said that this area had a great little wading-in area. But actually, the said wading area was full of broken glass and a half of a car that apparently drove into the river at some point and now is just sitting there rusting. There was grafitti everywhere, and it was just all around a rather unpleasant "outdoor" experience.
The kids really wanted to eat our picnic lunch at the picnic area (picnic area = dirty graffiti-filled tables in the middle of the itchy overgrown weed field). I was really dying of some kind of serious allergy attack, but I wanted to sit for a minute so I let them eat their snacks. And Claire took more bird pictures.
She also said "let me take a picture of your allergies mom" so she did. I was a struggle. We stopped at a Walgreens on the way home so that I could buy baby Benadryl and drink it out of the bottle. I might have overdosed a bit because I came home and slept for two hours. Sammy was asleep too, but I think Claire just drew pictures or something. Come to think of it...I don't know what she did. Thank goodness for oldest children who are dependable and calm. Sammy said "we're never going back there." I think he's right about that.